Equipment maker Hoshizaki Gram has told commercial catering professionals that operators need to train their staff in how to run kitchens in the most sustainable way.
The company’s UK managing director, Glenn Roberts, was addressing environmental experts and restaurant professionals in a Go Green Debate which examined the question of what is the biggest barrier to implementing sustainability in the foodservice industry?
James Sharman, energy manager at pub chain Mitchells & Butlers, says expertise in the catering team is essential. “Behavioural change is key, you can install the most energy efficient equipment available on the market, but if employees aren’t educated on how to use it properly the benefits won’t be tangible. Investing time in training staff is paramount and something that we do relentlessly at Mitchells & Butlers,” he said.
Responding to the same question, Dominic Burbridge from The Carbon Trust added: “For decisive action a sense of urgency, clarity on what it is you need to do and the alignment of everybody within the team is required, it’s essential to have leadership from the top and buy in from the heart of the operation, sustainability needs to be baked in to the business strategy.”
Care homes under financial pressure could learn from the restaurant business, which is squeezing costs by properly training its teams in using equipment efficiently.
Kate Gould, founder of CaterOps, which advises commercial kitchen executives about sustainability added: “I’m always surprised at the amount of times I go into a kitchen and have to turn off a hot water tap. There seems to be a fundamental lack of understanding of not only how detrimental that is to the environment but also what effect it has on the business. It would be beneficial to see some incentives for staff to do simple things such as turning off hot water taps and have a better understanding of the equipment they’re using”.
Gram’s Glenn Roberts concluded: “The recurrent topic of staff participation and engagement discussed in our latest webinar debate raised the question as to whether staff are the biggest barrier to implementing sustainability in the kitchen? It is apparent that there needs to be an opinion shift on sustainability and operators need to consider implementing benefits for their staff who follow the business’ sustainability strategy, to help implement a move from sustainability being all about the environment and saving a business money, to having a bigger focus on the individual and how it benefits them to help ensure a more collaborative approach in the business”.