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Measuring the Impact: Matt Frauenshuh Talks Sustainability Metrics for Restaurant Franchises

Measuring the Impact: Matt Frauenshuh Talks Sustainability Metrics for Restaurant Franchises

By: Gabriel Rodriguez

Sustainability is crucial for restaurants’ survival and success. More than a conversation on ethics, sustainable practices are assets that boost longevity. Restaurants, with their environmental impact, must adopt responsible practices. Lately, consumers prefer sustainable options. They’re informed and value-driven, influencing restaurants to rethink eco-friendly, responsible dining strategies.

Acknowledging sustainability’s importance is important, as Fourteen Foods CEO Matt Frauenshuh knows all too well, but measuring it is another. Restaurants need tailored metrics to track and guide their sustainable efforts. With clear metrics, good intentions can be recovered. With his wealth of experience in restaurant franchise growth and operation, Frauenshuh advocates for action and truly explores effective metrics to improve restaurant sustainability. His unique insight provides important information and tools to help restaurants to integrate these metrics into their operations.

Sustainability in Restaurants Today

Restaurants and fast-food franchises in today’s market are embracing diverse eco-friendly practices. They’re sourcing ingredients responsibly, reducing waste, and saving energy. This shift towards sustainability varies across the industry, highlighting a need for a standard way to measure and compare these efforts.

“Adopting sustainable methods isn’t easy for restaurants,” says Matt Frauenshuh, whose company Fourteen Foods owns more than 240 DQ Grill & Chill Restaurants. “They face high costs, complex supply chains, and the challenge of balancing green practices with profit.” 

Smaller restaurants especially struggle with knowing what to do. Sharing knowledge and best practices within the industry could help overcome these obstacles. Customers’ growing awareness of environmental and social issues pushes restaurants towards greener, more transparent practices. Community values are also influencing restaurants to be more socially responsible. This shift in societal expectations is driving restaurants to rethink how they operate.

The lack of standard metrics makes judging and comparing restaurant sustainability hard. A common set of benchmarks would help share successes and guide better choices by consumers and investors. There’s a growing call for these industry-wide standards to consistently evaluate and improve sustainability efforts.

Energy Efficiency in Restaurants

Energy efficiency has become a key focus for restaurants today. More than cutting costs, the focus has become reducing the ecological footprint. Key metrics for measuring a restaurant’s energy efficiency include the amount of energy used per square foot, per meal prepared, and the overall percentage reduction in energy consumption. 

Notes Matt Frauenshuh, “The right metrics serve as valuable tools for restaurant owners to understand and improve their energy usage.” 

By tracking key metrics, restaurants can identify areas for improvement, whether it’s updating energy-efficient kitchen appliances, installing smart lighting systems, or even integrating renewable energy sources. 

Waste management, particularly food and packaging, is a significant challenge for restaurants. By measuring waste per customer or analyzing recycling rates, restaurants can better understand their waste footprint. One effective metric is the reduction in the usage of single-use packaging, which helps the environment and resonates well with eco-conscious consumers. Understanding these metrics enables restaurants to devise more effective waste reduction strategies.

Innovative Strategies for Waste Reduction

To effectively reduce waste, restaurants are adopting innovative strategies. For instance, some are switching to biodegradable packaging, significantly lowering their environmental impact. Others have started composting programs or partnered with local food banks to donate excess food. These measures help minimize waste and improve the overall efficiency and community standing of a restaurant.

The ethos of sustainable sourcing is gaining prominence in the restaurant industry. This approach involves sourcing local ingredients, adhering to fair trade practices, or being certified sustainable. Key metrics for sustainable sourcing include the percentage of ingredients sourced locally or the supply chain’s carbon footprint. These metrics help restaurants make more informed decisions about their suppliers, ensuring that their ingredients are high in quality and ethically and sustainably produced.

Metrics for Promoting Ethical Sourcing

To effectively promote sustainable sourcing, restaurants track metrics such as the number of local suppliers they use, the carbon footprint of their ingredients, or the proportion of ethically sourced items on their menu. This transparent approach not only appeals to customers’ ethical sensibilities but also encourages other businesses in the supply chain to adopt sustainable practices.

“The influence of restaurants extends beyond their menus as they play a significant role in their communities and in the lives of their employees,” says Frauenshuh. 

Metrics such as employee satisfaction, the extent of community engagement, and charitable contributions are increasingly being used to gauge a restaurant’s social impact. These measures reflect how a restaurant contributes to the well-being of its community and workforce.

To understand and enhance their social impact, restaurants are measuring the percentage of locally hired staff, assessing their positive contributions to the community, and evaluating the overall community well-being index. These metrics provide insights into how restaurants can be not only places of dining but also hubs of positive community change.

Measuring the Impact: Matt Frauenshuh Talks Sustainability Metrics for Restaurant Franchises


Challenges in Sustainability for Restaurants

Implementing sustainability isn’t easy. Restaurants face costs, resistance to change, and supply chain issues. The expenses can be tough for small franchises, and staff or management might push back, fearing changes to their routine. Understanding and tackling these issues is key.

To address these, a smart, step-by-step approach works. Start with affordable sustainability steps and scale up. Training helps staff understand and embrace changes. Working with suppliers can make sustainable sourcing smoother. With the right strategies, integrating sustainability becomes more manageable.

Despite challenges, some restaurants are excelling in sustainability. Creating a sustainable culture requires a thoughtful approach. Leadership should lead by example. Regular training ensures everyone understands and supports sustainability goals, while clear, honest communication about sustainability efforts builds trust. Restaurant owners should keep improving by regularly updating sustainability practices and implementing rewards for sustainable actions that motivate staff. 

The journey towards a more sustainable and socially impactful restaurant industry is an ongoing process that champions a healthier planet and a richer, more connected community experience.


Published by: Khy Talara


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