Restaurant Associates is dedicated to being on the forefront of sustainability as well as social and environmental responsibility. RA is acutely aware that our thoughts and actions directly impact not only our customers, but a much larger community. Because of this, RA has taken steps to continually improve how we run our business, serve our guests, and preserve our natural resources.
RA is determined to impact both the health and wellness of our guests, and the quality of our community and the environment. Many of our units have instituted some of the following initiatives and are continually researching new eco-friendly practices and policies:
Local Food: Restaurant Associates is working with local farmers and produce distributors to provide our guests with the freshest seasonal foods while supporting our local communities. Items are identified as local if they are from sources that are no more than 150 miles from the location in which it is served.
As a result, local food means fewer food miles and a dramatic reduction in transportation, days of refrigeration, and tons of pollution and packaging.
Sustainable Seafood: The world’s stock of wild seafood is threatened with extinction due to over and uncontrolled fishing. Compass Group, Restaurant Associates’ parent company, began a policy on March 1, 2006, replacing Atlantic cod, a species which leading conservationists have recommended consumers avoid, with more environmentally sound Pacific cod, Pollock and other alternatives. RA also plans to seek ways to decrease its use of shrimp and salmon that are farmed in an unsustainable manner. These two species are extremely popular with consumers but are a concern to environmentalists.
RA and Compass Group rely on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program which empowers seafood consumers and business to make choices for healthy oceans. For more information, visit www.seafoodwatch.org.
Zero Trans-Fat: Restaurant Associates is committed to providing healthy menu items. In response to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Medical Association’s recommendations to minimize trans-fat consumption, RA transitioned to non-hydrogenated, zero trans-fat oils for both cooking and frying. RA is also making a commitment to eliminate trans-fats in our purchased goods, resulting in a massive reformulation effort by manufacturers and producers which will make many more trans-fat free snacks and baked goods available in the near future.
Fair Trade Coffee: Fair Trade empowers farmers and farm workers to lift themselves out of poverty by developing the business skills necessary to compete in the global marketplace. By guaranteeing minimum floor prices and social premiums, Fair Trade enables producers to invest in their farms and communities and protect the environment.
Organic Food: A large part of organic agriculture involves the health of the soil and of the ecosystems in which crops and livestock are raised. A healthy environment significantly benefits crops and the health of those consuming them.
Milk produced without synthetic rBGH: Is produced by dairy cows that never received injections of synthetic bovine growth hormone.
Antiobiotic- free protein: Our chicken, turkey and pork is produced without the routine use of antibiotics as a feed additive.
Cage Free Shell Eggs: Cage-free shell eggs means the hens have not been confined to a battery cage.
Wellness: Restaurant Associates has made a commitment to partner with our clients’ nutrition, health and wellness initiatives to foster and promote a more healthful workplace. We understand that everyone’s nutritional needs are different, so we created Balanced Choices® for a Healthy Lifestyle to help our guests make their own personal healthy choices throughout the day. By highlighting the best sources of proteins, calcium, fiber and Vitamin C, the Balanced Choices® program provides education and helps promote wise food choices that will produce a balanced diet leading to overall wellness.
We also offer FIT sandwiches and salad which are items available in the grab and go section of our cafes and are moderate in calories, fat, cholesterol and sodium. Every FIT sandwich or salad is labeled with its nutritional information.
Composting and Recycling centers: In specific locations to significantly reduce the amount of trash that goes into landfills, Restaurant Associates uses composting and recycling centers to compost specific items and recycle glass, plastic, metal and paper. We count on the support and participation from our guests to make this project effective in minimizing the amount of waste we produce and send to landfills.
Compostable Disposables: Restaurant Associates’ offers environmentally sustainable and compostable alternatives, such as containers made entirely from corn that are 100% compostable. RA is sourcing these products from the United States wherever possible.
Pulpers: We utilize at some locations, waste pulpers which are used to grind up food scraps with water, then extract most of the liquid to produce a semi-dry, solid mass, reducing the volume 8 to 1. The material then gets transported to a compost facility which, as a result, minimizes the amount of waste that gets sent to the landfills, and also cuts down on transportation and disposal costs.