Posts Tagged ‘sustainability’

Sustainable Seafood: How Demonstrating Your Commitment to Integrity can Increase Your Revenue

January 30, 2013

As people become more environmentally aware of the impact their choices make, sustainably harvested seafood has come under the spotlight in restaurants around the country. Numerous fish species have been harvested to the point of decimation, and fisherman around the globe have come under scrutiny for their unsustainable practices.

As a result, people want fresh seafood and they want to know where it’s coming from before they buy. As such, it is a smart move on the part of every restaurant owner who serves fish and other types of seafood to not only ensure that there are sustainable species on their menus, but also to educate their servers and wait staff accordingly.

Educated Servers = More Sales, Happier Seafood Customers

One of the simplest ways to build your reputation (and thereby increase your revenue) in relation to seafood, is to educate your servers so that they can talk intelligently to customers about the seafood they are serving. With rapidly changing menus and a sea of information about the best choices in seafood, people are really confused about what is the right way to go.

Therefore, it’s more important than ever to demonstrate the quality of what you are serving to your customers and the care that you have taken in selecting it. The only way to do that is to provide your servers with the seafood education they need to adequately address consumer concerns.

Sustainable Seafood Programs Demonstrate Integrity

There are a variety of sustainable seafood programs that restaurant owners can participate in to ensure that they are offering ocean-friendly species to customers. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch is one such program. Partners of the Seafood Watch commit to removing all species from the Watch’s ‘avoid’ list from their menus as well as educating their servers about ocean-friendly seafood.

This organization (as well as few others) also has a nice Power Point presentation that they will send individuals for free which details species currently on the Watch list, if you’re interested in seeing how your menu compares.

Sustainable AND Local Seafood Make an Unbeatable Combination

While it’s important to avoid species of fish whose populations cannot be harvested sustainably, it’s equally important to select species of fish that are as local as possible. Locally harvested seafood not only has less environmental impact, but it also gives you the ability to build your good reputation further by supporting the local community.

You’d be amazed how much of a draw fresh, local, sustainably harvested seafood can create for your establishment. By making these kinds of changes, you are making a commitment to integrity – which goes a long way toward making your business stand out from amongst the crowd and increasing your revenue.

By investing in education for your servers about ocean-friendly seafood, you are ensuring that customers are aware of your environmentally conscious efforts to be an establishment that operates with integrity. Making this kind of commitment further increases the chances that those customers will help you spread the word about your eco-conscious, locally sourced menu.

Sustainable Seafood Improves Menus

September 28, 2012

For many years, the sustainable food movement has inspired restaurant owners and chefs to look to local farms for fresh, sustainable meats, fruits, and vegetables. Chefs create fantastic recipes from these sustainable ingredients and help to expand the movement toward a healthier planet.

Recently, this search has expanded to seafood as well. Instead of cooking with some of the more popular varieties that have been overfished, like salmon and yellow fin tuna, they are opting for less common fish species. While they may not be what some diners are used to, these uncommon fish allow chefs to experiment and exercise more creativity with new dishes. Most restaurants who try making the change are finding that sustainability works well for both their budgets and their dishes.

Environmental Responsibility with Seafood Alternatives

For decades, the demand for popular fish species has been growing exponentially. Some of these are farmed now, but the demand for wild caught fish is still extremely high. Many of the species tend to be larger predatory fish, so as their populations dwindle, populations of smaller fish grow.

This shift in availability is what has prompted some chefs to incorporate more sustainable seafood into their menus. These chefs are not just going along with the most current eco-friendly trend; they are truly concerned that they will not be able to get the more popular fish in a few years, or it will be cost prohibitive to do so, so they are making adjustments ahead of time.

Restaurants that are interested in trying more sustainable seafood should plan their menus around the seasons in which these sustainable varieties are most available. Individually, some sustainable varieties are more expensive, but restaurant owners can minimize expenses by planning their menus as a whole, rather than substituting a sustainable item here and there.

Restaurants can save money by using more sustainable options, but it is important to shop smart and make sure that their seafood suppliers understand the restaurant’s goals for sustainability and affordability.

Delicious and Nutritious

Another perk of using some of these sustainable varieties is that they are often new to many customers, and even to some chefs. These chefs have the chance to create dishes that center on a whole new ingredient. The creative opportunities that these chefs enjoy can help revitalize an old menu and intrigue new patrons. Many of these sustainable options actually tend to be more flavorful than their more commonly used counterparts. Some sustainable fish species, like sardines and anchovies, are rarely used as the centerpiece of a main dish.

Many species of previously ignored shellfish are considered sustainable items, and are becoming more prominent in some restaurants. In the light of a chef’s inspired creativity, these shunned species can become stars of brand new menu items that surprise and excite patrons.

As a whole, most consumers are on board for these menu changes. They are excited to try new ingredients and flavor combinations, and they are thankful for restaurants that show more environmental responsibility. Celebrity chef Sam Choy uses sustainable fish in his restaurants and food truck and claims, “I have never lost a customer because we used sustainable fish, but we have certainly gained many.”