Rethinking Restaurants: The Secret Green Sauce

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The Secret Green Sauce by Bill Roth Founder of Earth 2017 and green business coach consultantThe restaurant industry is in crisis. Sales are flat. In addition, fast food profit margins are shrinking under the weight of continuous promotional “dollar menu” pricing.

Yet, there are restaurants, caterers and bakeries achieving revenue and profit growth by rethinking the food service business model. The secret green sauce of their success include these four key ingredients:

Authentic Food Drives Sales Growth. Half of all moms are now limiting their family’s purchase of soda. The millennial generation, projected to have the largest consumer buying power in America by 2017, does not have McDonald’s as among their top ten restaurants. Sugar, fat and salt in the quantities offered in fast food is rapidly shifting into the same category as tobacco and alcohol. Consumers look into the mirror, see fat and think fast food. Food service companies that are winning customers and revenue growth are offering food that their customers find to be authentic based upon being sourced-locally, seasonally and sustainably.

Values-Pricing Generate Attractive Profit Margins. Consumers now view fast food as a commodity. Their path to McDonald’s or Taco Bell or any other fast food restaurant is based upon which franchise is offering the best prices that day. Selling based upon price is a low profit margin business. Successful restaurants are selling food that align with their customers’ wellness and community values. They can charge more than fast food prices because their customers think their food is worth more. The result is attractive profit margins.

Creating A Communal And Fun Dining Experience. These successful restaurants see dining as a path for spiritual and community nourishment. They provide a timely dining experience aligned with today’s consumer time constraints. But they also provide dining enjoyment. The decor of their restaurants are unique and represent the personality of their owners. Their atmosphere is fun and comforting.

Cost Control Through Sustainable Best Practices. These businesses use sustainable best practices to control their costs. They have made the link between their environmental footprint and their cost footprint. They are lowering their electric bills and operating costs by investing in LED lighting that also results in lower emissions. They use recycling as a work associate focal point to influence cost-effective work practices. They take advantage of utility and government rebates to buy “greener” kitchen equipment that also reduce energy and water bills.

Examples Of Profitable And Sustainable Food Service Companies
Over a three year period I have conducted case study research on the restaurant and food service industry. The following are links to sample case studies that I have published in Triple Pundit profiling restaurants, caterers and bakeries that are making money by building authentic relationships with their customers:

Cancun Sabor Mexicano. Jorge Saldana, owner of Cancun Sabor Mexicano, has created a successful restaurant in a highly competitive market segment by self-sourcing his food from his farm. Customers are attracted to his food’s fresh and seasonal tastes. His prices are exceptional for the high quality of food he serves. Nine out of 10 consumers say “ingredient transparency is extremely or very important.” Jorge’s ingredient transparency is his branding advantage that he proudly advertises above his serving line by listing the fresh and local ingredients delivered that day.

Blue Heron Catering. Debbie Pfister, owner of Blue Heron Catering, is achieving 300% sales growth. She has won customers like Chevron and Hewlett Packard based upon being a green caterer. Customers now seek out Blue Heron Catering because of their recognized authenticity in executing zero-waste events that serve fresh, local and pesticide-free food.

FIVE. This case study profiles a restaurant located in a hotel. Perry Patel, a partner for the company that owns the hotel has set an enterprise-scale standard for serving customers in a sustainable manner. Greg Mauldin, the hotel’s general manager, has built a team of associates that are generating sustainable innovations that customers find to be fun and engaging. Banks White, FIVE’s Executive Chef, has built a loyal customer following offering a dining experience that nourishes the soul.

Elote. Libby Auld, owner of Elote and The Vault restaurants, has put it all together in building a business through sustainable best practices. She repurposes buildings in support of Tulsa’s Deco District redevelopment. Her food is sourced locally and seasonally. Her Elote bar made from recycled bottles and wood is a social hotspot. And her composting of food waste has created a farm-to-fork-farm sustainable cycle that delivers high quality food at affordable costs.

About the author
Bill Roth is an economist and the Founder of Earth 2017. He coaches business owners and leaders on proven best practices in pricing, marketing and operations that make money and create a positive difference. His book, The Secret Green Sauce, profiles business case studies of pioneering best practices that are proven to win customers and grow product revenues. Follow him on Twitter: @earth2017

About Bill Roth

Bill Roth is the founder of Earth 2017, author of The Secret Green Sauce and a nationally-followed contributor to Entrepreneur.com, Triple Pundit, The Green Economy Post and Media Post on best business practices emerging from the smart, healthy and green global economy. He coaches entrepreneurs, business and community leaders on how to grow revenues, profits and jobs by going smart and green.
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