Study: 43% of Diners Say They’d Pay More for Sustainable Takeout

Plus, 68% think restaurants should have processes in place to avoid waste. Can small operations compete with major chains?
Adam Rowe

Restaurant customers are more environmentally conscious than ever, a new study indicates: 43% of diners say they would pay more for takeout food that was sustainable.

In addition, 56% of respondents said they'd prefer restaurants become more transparent about any environmentally friendly policies they may have, with food waste and packaging both considered major issues.

Those are impressive stats that point to a groundswell of support for any efforts to mitigate the climate emergency.

68% of Diners Say Restaurants Need Processes to Avoid Waste

The study is out from restaurant software company Deliverect, and includes plenty of additional stats breaking down where most consumers' interests lie.

First, it's clear most people think that sustainability will cost more, with 63% of respondents asserting as much.

Food waste is a big deal: An impressive 73% of consumers said that they want more accurate portion sizes in order to avoid this waste, while 68% said restaurants should have processes in place to avoid waste.

Excess packaging is perceived to be less eco-friendly, as well. Most respondents say they prioritize ordering from restaurants with less delivery packaging (54%) and with eco-friendly packaging (56%).

Restaurant Dive, which reported on the study, also notes another survey that found 65% of global consumers say it's “important” for governments to prioritize climate change responses during economic pandemic recovery efforts.

How Restaurants Stay Sustainable

Many big restaurant chains have sustainability policies in place. But can a small mom-and-pop operation make sure its doing its part while balancing all the other tasks that go along with the job?

Curating menus with local food, seasonally updating menus, reducing food portions, and cutting down on meat can all help. Biodegradable cardboard takeout boxes and re-useable plastic bags are also seeing some success.

In part, the software services that restaurants use to track sales, inventory, and employees can also help promote sustainability. Most major Point of Sale systems will let a business go entirely paperless — a digital kitchen system avoids printing tabs, a tablet for tableside ordering avoids paper notes, and receipts can be sent by email.

Some systems go further: Square POS, one of our top picks, publishes an annual sustainability report. Regardless of which POS system a restaurant uses, though, they'll all save time and money, something any restaurateur needs to remain sustainable these days.

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Adam is a writer at Tech.co and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for more than a decade. He's also a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry, for which he was named a Digital Book World 2018 award finalist. His work has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect, and he has an art history book on 1970s sci-fi coming out from Abrams Books in 2022. In the meantime, he's hunting own the latest news on VPNs, POS systems, and the future of tech.

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