Restaurateurs have to mind their bottom lines carefully in order to remain profitable. In addition to making great food, they need to create an atmosphere that people find welcoming. They also need to project a positive image that shows their patrons that they care about what they do and quality. Making an effort to operate a business sustainably reflects a commitment to sound business practices as well as serving its community responsibly and ethically. Prioritizing shows people that a restaurant is well-managed, and it makes them feel good about eating there. Here are three things that you can do to operate your restaurant in a way that demonstrates ecofriendly management.

1. Use Green Packaging

A growing number of cities and municipalities are putting restrictions on the use of plastic bags and straws. Even if your restaurant’s location has not yet mandated these initiatives, discontinuing the use of plastic straws for beverages and bags for take-out shows that you value the importance of reducing plastic waste.

2. Get Energy Saving Equipment

A lot of standard restaurant equipment uses a significant amount of energy, and this particularly true of equipment that is very old. Also, equipment that has been heavily-used and not well cared for may not be working efficiently anymore, causing it to consume more power than is really necessary. Upgrading outdated or inefficient equipment to new energy efficient equipment can dramatically lower your energy usage. Getting an energy efficient commercial refrigerator, for example, is an excellent investment because it will have better cooling power than an older freezer and use less energy.

3. Install Equipment and Fixtures That Prevent Water Waste

Restaurants can implement water-saving measures to avoid misuse of this valuable resource while also reducing the amount of waste water that it puts into a county’s sewer system. Many newer commercial dishwashers are designed to operate very effectively while using less water than traditional models. Restaurants can also make water saving changes in their restrooms by installing metered faucets as well as toilets that use fewer gallons per flush.

Ultimately, green initiatives can make a positive impression on patrons while also helping you to reduce your overhead expenses. While certain efforts to be more eco-friendly may require you to redirect some of your working capital, these investments can generate long-term savings that will increase your profitability over time. They may also help you qualify for a tax deduction or a rebate from your state’s department of energy.