Sustainability & Your Menu
Don’t let printing menus feel like a wear on the world
Printing menus—cocktail menu, brunch menu, lunch menu, dinner menu, specials’ menu—can feel like an all-consuming, paper-heavy endeavor for any operator. Maintaining them is another issue. But don’t let the thought of exhausting your home printer feel daunting. Partners are here to help with real menu solutions with cost and sustainability in mind.
For most operators, like Mat Lucus, partner/executive chef at Bold American Fare in Algonquin, Ill., looking at menus is as part of the business as the dishes.
“To save costs, it’s something me and my partner went back and forth with,” Lucas says. They chose something that fit with the vibe of their establishment. Bold American Fare, a restaurant that seats up to 130, changes menus at least four times a year. That means plenty of printing.
Paper. Cardstock. Lamented. Jacket. Menu board. Then comes the design. It can be a taxing process. Fortunately, marketing and printing partners like NPN 360 help think through menu options for restaurants.
Not even a paper cut
Jeff Greenbury, president of NPN 360, puts it simply. “There’s a huge misconception,” he says. “Paper is one of the [greenest] products you can have.”
According to Two Sides network, a global sustainability research initiative, “58 percent of U.S. consumers surveyed believe U.S. forests have been decreasing in size since the year 2000. In fact, U.S. forests had a net growth of over 1,500 NFL football fields per day since 2000.”
Greenbury, however, warns, “Don’t be penny wise, dollar foolish.” Buying in bulk, to save pennies per page for instance, could leave you with reams of menus that become outdated and unusable. Avoid this practice and focus on the brand of your restaurant, with quality menus that are fresh and clean.
Something like Relyco’s synthetic paper is a printable and recyclable option. It’s also waterproof, tear-proof and fade-resistant, giving it an elevated feel to the menu for indoors or outdoors. They are also easily wiped with a mild cleanser to look as good as new.
If you’re an operation that uses or could justify a menu board, do it. There are several options—printed boards, magnetic boards and even an LED/digital board (“Much cheaper and easier nowadays,” says Greenbury)—that are easy to design and implement.
If you want to avoid printing menu after menu because of stains or wear and tear, invest in a menu jacket or holder. These help menus last longer and maintain the integrity in your dining room. Slide in specials or cocktail menus printed in the restaurant office. This is also good at elevating the brand of the restaurant.