2012 Trend: Consumers Continue to Favor “Green” Restaurants

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SCA Survey Reveals Environmental Responsibility Influences Bottom Line for Foodservice Establishments in Canada

Business Wire

Smart foodservice managers should choose “green” recycled products to help win new customers and improve their bottom line during 2012 — that’s one simple but important tip revealed during a recent survey of Canadian consumers and restaurant employees by SCA, a global hygiene company and makers of the Tork(R) brand of away-from-home paper products.

“We’re always looking to uncover new trends and insights that help quick-service, fast casual and casual dining restaurants improve the customer experience and reduce costs,” said Andy Vince, regional vice president Canada for SCA’s North American away-from-home professional hygiene business. “These survey results reinforce the growing trend of public concern for environmental sustainability during a dining experience and how our foodservice customers can appeal to consumers.”

Toluna conducted the survey of 330 Canadian adults and more than 220 restaurant employees on behalf of SCA to help their customers better understand napkin usage and waste in restaurants. Based on the survey findings, SCA offers the following tips for restaurants to attract new customers and improve sales in the new year and beyond:

Be environmentally conscious. Sixty-four percent of consumers surveyed said they would more likely visit an environmentally responsible restaurant, and 53 percent said they prefer recycled/compostable napkins.

“Using 100 percent recycled napkins helps support our brand promise to our customers,” said Gerry Docherty, chief operating officer of Good Earth Cafes, an earth-friendly Canada-based coffeehouse and bakery franchise. “Plus, the environmental initiatives SCA uses during the manufacturing process are consistent with our support of wind power, compostable packaging and many other efforts we support at Good Earth Cafes.”

In fact, Good Earth Cafes’ use of Tork products has helped the company save more than 290,000 gallons of water and 716 trees over the last four years.

“Our customers are fully engaged in supporting businesses that reduce waste, use environmentally friendly products and support social causes. They not only expect us to use environmentally-conscious products, but they also expect the manufacturers of those products to be doing their part to reduce waste and support sustainability,” said Docherty.

Provide napkins at the table. When eating at a sit-down restaurant with table service, 47 percent of consumers preferred a supply of napkins available at the table. The survey also found that 44 percent of consumers admit to taking excess napkins, and 49 percent of employees estimate that more than 100 unused napkins are thrown away each week when they aren’t provided at the table.

By using one-at-a-time consumption control Tork Xpressnap(R) Dispensers, available in tabletop, counter and stand models, Docherty believes Good Earth Cafes improves the customer experience. In fact, SCA guarantees the Xpressnap will reduce napkin consumption by 25 percent.

“We’ve worked hard to find new ways to make innovative napkins that are not only certified compostable by the Biodegradable Products Institute, but are also EcoLogo(TM) and Green Seal(TM) certified to ensure the product benefits are accurate and transparent,” says Vince.

Tell the environmental impact story. Since customers say they would be more likely to visit environmentally responsible establishments, restaurants should always share their “green” efforts at customer touchpoints, from the menu to store signage.

The tabletop and cafe versions of the Xpressnap dispensers also include AD-a-Glance(R) panels — customizable facades on each side — which can help to further communicate green efforts, as well as enable businesses to display in-store promotions or generate advertising revenue.

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