Friday, 17 October 2014

Climate Miles Survey: Do we need a new sub-category of restaurants titled “Sustainable/Green Eateries” ?

If given a choice, we would rather go to a restaurant that conducts itself in a sustainable manner - whether it is with respect to food sourcing, handling its energy and waste, or trying to eliminate pesticides from its ingredients. From anecdotal discussions it seemed that we are not alone. It was interesting to realise that there are many food lovers who would like to be informed about these parameters and there are many restaurant owners as well who would like to reach out to such customers by highlighting their own green/ organic/ sustainable  operations.  At Climate Miles, instead of relying on anecdotal observation, we decided to do a quick survey - for both customers and restaurant owners to share the results of this survey with all of you.  In this digital age, an important link between the customer and the service provider is the online directory service. These services have replaced ‘yellow pages’ both in terms of volume and quality of content. They provide not only the names and contact details of th service providers, but also prices, special services and even customer reviews.

Our larger aim in doing this survey was to underscore the role of online food directories like zomato, burrp, timesfood guide in how they 'tag' eateries.

We conducted our customer survey over 2 weeks, (primarily among restaurants in India, customers between the age of 15 to 50 ) in order to highlight the need and relevance of such a sub-category in the hospitality sector by understanding customer choices. Then we contacted restaurant/eatery owners to understand their level of interest in sustainability. Many of whom were already on the path.

Objective of the survey:

To gauge the following:

For customers,
·         Apart from taste, presentation and ambiance, what else is important to a customer when they walk into their favourite restaurant?
·         Whether customers would like the option of a “green eatery” among other categories on popular food apps like #zomato #burrp #timesfoodguide #justeatin #foodpanda
·         Whether such an option is important to customers and could be one of the criteria that helps them decide between restaurants.

For restaurants,
·         Whether restaurants would like to be a part of the emerging trend. For those who already are, whether they would like to be recognised and highlighted for it on food directories like zomato, burrp, timesfoodguide justeatin  and foodpanda.

Let use see what the survey reveals!

Questionnaire for CUSTOMERS (Date: 2nd October 2014)

Apart from taste, presentation and ambiance, which of the below characteristics are important to you when choosing an eatery/restaurant to dine-in.
a.     Where the food comes from (locally sourced)
b.    Whether the food is organic
c.     The initiatives put in place by the restaurant to minimise energy/water use and yet keep the guest comfortable.
d.    The cutlery used at the restaurant or during take-away (packaging using recycled/recyclable plastic, cloth, paper etc).
e.     What happens to the left-over food once you have eaten (homeless, fed to stray dogs or composted)

Among the above choices, which would you say means the MOST important to you?

As seen from the above, what happens to left-overs (70%) food at restaurants is the biggest concern for customers. A Close second is if the food served at the restaurants is organic (69%) and finally third if the food is locally sourced (65%). Goes to show that customers do inherently care about their own health and the waste they generate. Packaging& Cutlery(50%) and Energy/Water Usage(53%) at the restaurant is also relevant to them.When asked what was MOST important to them, 38% felt that it was where the food came from.

When you lookup restaurants /eateries on food apps (like zomato, timesfoodguide, tripadvisor, justeatin & burrp), would you like the added option of also knowing the ‘green eatery(s) inyour neghborhood along with the preferences like vegan, organic etc?

a.    Yes
b.    No
c.     Don’t care either way

Highly encouraging to know that 56% felt it is important to add a new category on food apps to highlight “green” or “sustainable” restaurants in the area. While 42% felt it would be great to have such a category but it is not critical.

Would a sustainable rating be a deciding factor for your selection between two or more restaurants with similar attributes?
a.     Yes
b.    No

The above shows that if customers are given an option, they would ideally like choose a more environmentally responsible restaurant. This shows the need for such a category to inform the customers of the initiatives taken by their favorite restaurants and eateries to become sustainable.

Questionnaire for RESTAURANT OWNERS (Date: 2nd October 2014)
Do you want your restaurant to be highlighted as a green/organic/ promoting local produce / energy efficient /sustainable restaurant in food directories like zomato, timesfoodguide, tripadvisor, justeatin & burrp etc.
100% of all the restaurants we approached said YES!
Among the few of restaurants who participated in the survey - popular Organic / Vegan Restaurants in Bangalore, India such as Carrots, greentheory paradigm shift participated in order to spread the word about their approach and efforts.

Others who participated in the survey

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