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National Restaurant Association - Restaurants to go ‘greener’ in 2012

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Restaurants to go ‘greener’ in 2012

A majority of restaurateurs across all industry segments say they'll invest in green technology this year, the National Restaurant Association reports.

According to the association's 2012 Restaurant Industry Forecast, operators are seeking to become more eco-friendly in an effort to save money on energy costs and gain more customers. The report discovered that more operators will invest in green equipment and fixtures in order to attract the 41 percent of consumers who say they're likely to make their restaurant choices based on whether the establishments they frequent practice environmental conservation.

"Today's consumers are educated about what businesses are doing to become more eco-friendly," said Chris Moyer, project manager for the NRA's Conserve Sustainability Education ProgramSM. "And, as more information becomes available to them through online and social-media channels, they're learning even more that much faster. Not only that, they're much savvier about how they spend their money and want to make purchases from those they feel are doing the right thing. Operators who understand that and cater to their desires will win that market share every time."

Among restaurateurs questioned, 72 percent of casual-dining operators said they would invest in energy-saving equipment, while 65 percent of quick-service and fast-casual operators said they planned to purchase energy-efficient refrigeration, air conditioning or heating systems in 2012. Additionally, 63 percent of family-dining restaurants said they would replace their current lighting with energy-saving light fixtures, while 52 percent of fine-dining operators said they would install water-saving equipment or fixtures.

"More information on green equipment, return on investment and various incentives is available to restaurateurs all of the time," Moyer said. "Operators are smart to take advantage of and capitalize on opportunities such as grants and rebates that could reduce the cost of their green investments."

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