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Move over Yelp… The Sustainabelle‘s ‘Eco-Friendly Restaurant Audit’ is here!

It is the middle of August and after almost 6 months of different levels of quarantine we are slowly incorporating take-out and restaurant dining once every couple of weeks. Honestly, it’s been wonderful to have someone else dirty up their kitchen for a change!

Ordering take-out was something we rarely did before March. Neither of us even had Uber Eats or DoorDash downloaded on our own phones. It may be because we do not have kids, maybe we enjoy physically eating somewhere else then home, or maybe subconsciously we knew it was more eco-friendly to dine-in then to take-out. Well, times have changed a bit, and that is totally ok.

I have created a list of my favorite top questions/details for a ‘Restaurant Audit’ to think about when either ordering take-out or dining in. I hope this will inspire you to do your own restaurant audit of your favorite restaurants, and possibly create a conversation with the restaurant staff to see if they would be willing to be more eco-friendly.

(If you are interested in requesting eco-friendly options with your favorite restaurant staff, read below for a silly twist on how to ask!)

Dining In:

  • After ordering drinks, does the server ask if you would like a straw, or simply places it on the table?

  • If you order a condiment on the side, does it come in a plastic container, or a reusable little bowl?

  • Are the menus designed for single use (paper menus)? (If so, ask for only 1 to share!)

  • Does the restaurant have linen or paper napkins?

  • Are vegetarian and vegan options available on the menu?

  • Are waters automatically brought to the table, or are they by request only?

  • When ordering a fancy cocktail, does it come with a plastic or wooden skewer?

Ordering take-out:

  • Do they use Styrofoam or reusable plastic containers?

  • Online order: Is the option of “no cutlery needed” available?

  • Are you asked if packets of sauce are needed, or are they automatically added in?

  • Phone order: Do they ask if you’re eating this at home? Which should lead to asking if napkins & cutlery would be needed

  • If sustainable details are requested, do they respect your requests?

These details may be small and insignificant, however, these types of behaviors speak of the restaurant and whether they too have sustainability in mind. If they do, they may also practice other ethical choices.

Even a quick-serve restaurant can be eco-friendly! My favorite here in Las Vegas is called Neighbors. They use post-consumer cardboard for their take-out items, and offer real glasses for water when dining in. And the average plate there is $10! (Anyone want to join me this weekend!?!)

Fun Idea!

If you’d like to ask for an eco-friendly option at your favorite restaurant, practicing the sandwich-method never hurts. Here’s an example:

Asking a server: “These fries are my favorite! Would it be OK to order ketchup in a non-plastic bowl next time? You know I can’t go a week without these delicious fries!”

You get the idea.

From my (once in a while) clean kitchen to your, happy dining!

(And don’t forget to kindly refuse those one-time-use plastic utensils!)

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