Restaurants embracing sustainability
New York City An ethical obligation to go green, as well as a desire to reap the benefits of good public relations from eco-friendly moves, are driving the decisions of restaurants to embrace green strategies more so than expectations for solid returns on investment, according to a new study. The report, “The Better-Run Restaurant: Environmental Sustainability in Restaurant Retail 2010,” surveyed 124 respondents in late 2009, including operators from large and small chains as well as independent operations.
Conducted by Miami-based Retail Systems Research, in partnership with Nation’s Restaurant News, the green-focused survey examined current and future initiatives. It found that 66% of respondents said they believed going green would make their brands appear more attractive to consumers, while 63% indicated that they felt an ethical obligation to make their businesses more environmentally sound. Sixty-three percent of respondents also claimed going green would help them to be better viewed as industry leaders.
“There are three reasons for restaurants to enact environmentally sustainable practices: to save cost, reduce waste and build a greener brand,” said Steve Rowen, managing partner of RSR and co-author of the study. “In fact, the best performing restaurateurs believe green-minded consumers care enough about a brand’s environmental positioning to factor it in to ‘where to dine’ decisions. The hard part still is measuring ROI in terms of new revenue. The direct correlation is not clear, yet.”
The sustainable practices being implemented this year by restaurants include:
- Recycle raw materials (79%);
- Regulate energy use in their stores or facilities (68%);
- Promote eco-friendly items or ingredients in-store (67%);
- Reduce take-out/send-home waste (65%);
- Feature green processes such as ethically sourced products (64%); and
- Incorporate green construction practices into new facilities and stores (60%).
Publix raises $4.4 million for Haiti relief
LAKELAND, Fla. Publix announced that its customers and associates raised more than $4.4 million in support of American Red Cross Haiti Relief & Development Fund during its three-and-a-half week register donation program.
“Words cannot express our sincere appreciation to our customers and associates for supporting the relief efforts in Haiti,” said Maria Brous, Publix director of media and community relations. “Because of their generosity, American Red Cross has been able to provide more than 3 million pre-packaged meals, distribute food and relief items to 37,000 families and are now producing 1.2 million liters of water per day. While the rebuilding of Haiti is sure to be a longer process, the outpouring of support for our neighbors was immediate and a community experience. ”
In a separate donation, Publix Super Markets Charities donated $100,000 to American Red Cross for relief efforts for the areas affected by the earthquake.
Whole Foods sees boost in 1Q sales, earnings
AUSTIN, Texas Whole Foods Market reported that sales for its fiscal first quarter increased 7% to $2.6 billion. Comparable-store sales increased 3.5%.
Identical-store sales, excluding five relocations and two major expansions, increased 2.5%. Net income increased 79% to $49.7 million and diluted earnings per share increased 62% to 32 cents.
“Our first quarter results exceeded our own expectations on both the top and bottom line. Given the strong sales momentum we are seeing, there are many reasons to be bullish about our future results. It is relatively early in our recovery, however, and there is still a lot of uncertainty regarding where the economy, the consumer, and competition go from here,” said John Mackey, chief executive officer and co-founder of Whole Foods Market. “Our raised outlook for the fiscal year reflects our cautiousness on the low end and our optimism on the high end. As the world moves out of this recession, we believe we are well positioned to produce strong returns for our shareholders.”