People, planet, plate

By Linda Jackson on 15 August 2017

Today’s restaurant owners have much more on their plates than preparing and serving tasty food. Social responsibility to do the right thing for employees, the community and the natural environment is an important aspect of your business. Respecting diversity in the workplace, giving to charitable causes in the community and following sustainable practices are among the many ways to show the community you care.


Building Goodwill

According to Cyndi Perkins,, social responsibility is three-pronged: ethical, altruistic and strategic. The basic theory in each instance is to respect, value and do no harm to your marketplace, your workplace, community or the environment. While only one of the prongs, strategic, is designed to build profits, studies show that all of them can and often do benefit restaurants by creating a positive work atmosphere, desirable publicity and a favorable reputation.


It starts at home

Ethical social responsibility involves actions like paying workers a fair wage and buying local even though it costs you more than going through a national supplier. Altruistic activities include donating goods, services or money without making up the difference by paying employees less or charging customers more. You simply give on behalf of your restaurant with no strings attached to community outreach programmes such as the local soup kitchen, school feeding scheme or hosting a retirement home meal.


Making CSR pay for itself

There is money to be made if you do CSR right. You can save, for example, through recycling rather than discarding corrugated cardboard, or the money you earn by supporting an event that draws event goers to your establishment. Managing stocks and the cold chain will minimize food waste. Menu planning can assist in ensuring all food is used wisely.


Taking Higher Moral Ground

There are many issues for a restaurant like wastage, labour conflicts (equal wages, women's rights and labor unions), energy consumption. Even though the restaurants are taking initiatives for stepping up their corporate social responsibility efforts, they still lag behind other businesses.

You create a culture of dignity, respect and high ethical standards throughout your restaurant by adopting responsible policies and procedures and putting them into daily practice on every level, from management to dishwashers.

Examine all areas of operation for possible improvements, from where you purchase your produce to what you do with your waste. Other areas include:

  • Consumption of Water
  • Energy Utilization
  • Employment Opportunities
  • Training for workers
  • Environment Friendly Activities etc.
  • Community vegetable gardens
  • Skills programmes for youths in waitering


Benefits of developing CSR policies

Some benefits of developing CSR policies according to Anum Yasmin,, are:

  • It improves the reputation and brand image of a restaurant by assuring that it is following legal and social conducts.
  • It helps restaurant to better customer relationships as the CSR encourages innovation and help to make such products which are beneficial for whole society.
  • It also helps to make environment clean and friendly which creates good image of a restaurant to its customers.
  • It works for the welfare of society plus increase the profits of restaurants.
  • It helps a restaurant to fulfil the legal, ethical and societal duties.
  • It demonstrates due diligence to investors


Ultimately, it’s just the right thing to do.