Around 400 restaurants are expected to have had their sustainability credentials tested by a new rating scheme, by the end of the year.
Operations at all levels, from fast food to fine dining, are being assessed by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) to achieve a SRA Star Rating.
To date, 14 restaurants which have scored 70% or more in a survey to test their sustainability have achieved the top rating of three stars. They include River Cottage HQ in Dorset, Café Spice Namasté in London, and Ode in Devon which, with 88%, gained the highest score so far.
Two stars have been awarded to a further 21 restaurants and 24 have received one star.
Tim Bouget, owner of Ode, said he was delighted to be recognised nationally for the restaurant's sustainability efforts. "With increasing customer awareness, the SRA rating system is a great way to benchmark all hospitality businesses, big and small, and communicate how we're doing to our customers. It also encourages us all to look at our policies and procedures to make our industry more sustainable."
To achieve a rating from the SRA, restaurants provide answers and evidence to 70 questions across 14 areas of sustainability. The survey gauges whether a restaurant is serving local, seasonal, high welfare food, how the resources and waste are managed, as well as how the staff are treated, the customers respected and the community valued.
Mark Linehan, managing director of the SRA, said that owners and chefs see the value of getting recognition for the excellent work they are doing in running a sustainable business.
"Consumers tell us they would rather eat in a sustainable restaurant and now they have a simple means of finding somewhere to eat out that not only serves good food but also matches their values," he said. "Competition has never been tougher and by putting their sustainability claims to the test restaurants are establishing a genuine point of difference."
Restaurants currently going through the rating process include Michelin-starred Purnell's in Birmingham and 70 hotel restaurants within several groups and consortiums such as Radisson Edwardian, Red Carnation Hotels and Relais & Chateaux.
Restaurants interested in being rated should contact Ed Franklin firstname.lastname@example.org
By Janet Harmer
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