Is innovation the key to restaurant sustainability?

In order to have a ‘sustainable’ restaurant industry we need to continue to innovate, create, and re-engineer most everything we do.  Restaurants are not necessarily known for their innovative business practices.  Many people point to the fact that most restaurants operate as SME’s (Small and Medium Size Enterprises) which typically focus more  on the day-to-day operations then pushing the innovation envelope.

Even if you do agree with this premise it is hard not to notice an increasing amount of restaurants that are creating and investing in new ways of doing things.  Here are a few examples of some of the ‘innovation’ I’ve come across in recent weeks.

OX Restaurant, Guelph ON.  This upstart restaurant sold community ‘bonds’  at $500 each.  This entitled the purchaser to a $750 credit towards f and b at the property.  They call this approach to financing “Community Supported Enterprise”  http://www.guelphmercury.com/news/local/article/665010–ox-is-pulling-into-guelph-s-restaurant-scene

Farmhouse Tavern, Toronto ON.  This restaurants owner (Darcy MacDonell) is nothing if not an innovator. Aside from an innovative approach to his product offering and business model, MacDonell who has no land line at his restaurant and will now accept reservations if you text his smart phone! http://www.torontolife.com/daily/daily-dish/opening-daily-dish/2012/06/19/introducing-farmhouse-tavern/

Lupa Restaurant, New York. Maria Batali may have been around for a while but apparently he is not afraid to check out new technology in his kitchen, this one in regards to reducing food waste. http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/11/28/165908394/no-simple-recipe-for-weighing-food-waste-at-mario-batalis-lupa

Earl’s Restaurants.  Earl’s restaurants have slowly been moving to a BOH food delivery system called QSR. The company has taken technology regularly used in ‘Quick Service’ establishments and incorporated it into its full service system. The result, quicker table times, higher quality food and less food complaints. http://www.earls.ca/

Jack Astor’s Restaurants.  Yet another old-timer turning to innovation, this time to help promote its new menu. Riding the trend of food truck popularity…http://www.torontolife.com/daily/tag/food-trucks/

Make sure you follow us on Twitter at @SustainableRest to keep up to date with more innovative restaurants.

 

 

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