Sustainable restaurants: more than organic food

Por: Álvaro Arrieta

What comes to mind when we think about sustainability in restaurants? 

When it comes to sustainability in restaurants, we always begin with what is commonly considered as the most important element: Ingredients, organic food and locally sourced products. However, the great challenge for restaurants that opt for a more sustainable working system is not changing the food supply chain (although it’s still quite important!) but installations and equipment.

To carry out an analysis on the economic impact of a gradual changing into “green supplies” might not be financially attractive because numbers would not show a tangible return on investment. In other words, customers’ satisfaction for obtaining locally sourced products, not to mention the owner’s pleasant feeling of doing good business for the environment and local community can be difficult to be reflected in our income statement.

Meanwhile, if we consider, from the very beginning, the investment giving priority to bioclimatic concepts and encouraging the use of high efficient machinery, we may start seeing a return on the savings in resources like water, gas and energy. Here’s where account managers smile at us! ?

Sustainable Restaurants

According to Jordi Montañés[1], there is no a singular formula or mathematic rule to set up a kitchen. It is necessary to establish a well-defined production line in order to identify from the start, several saving possibilities with high efficient equipment or working systems orientated on reusing resources.

At a restaurant, not only can we economize by installing solar panels or motion sensor taps. Every working space in the kitchen, as well as in the dining room can be reorganized according to specific needs with the idea of not to incur into a waste of resources.

Let’s make everything we can to use the water produced by condensation of the air conditioner or even more, we can try to “recycle” the heat generated by our cooking range so that it helps to heat up water pipes used for washing machines. These are some challenges that we should consider when starting a new business. Not only to create eco-friendly business but also to make them favorable to our pockets.


[1] Jordi Montañés Biñana, architect and co-author of “A 90 cm sobre el suelo” Silestone Institute, 2013

Álvaro Arrieta Valle
Coordinador del Master en Dirección de Restauración del CETT-UB. Profesor en Gestión de Restauración y firme defensor de que el futuro de la alimentación pasa por la gestión ambiental y socialmente responsable. Vibra con Pink Floyd y la pizza Margarita.