Restaurant Operators Look to Conserve Water Use, Survey Finds

A kitchen sink
Restaurant Sustainability Practices

National Restaurant Association research found that more restaurateurs are conscious of their water use and are taking steps to reduce it.

Restaurants need water to conduct daily operations. Cooking, cleaning, dishwashing, and heating and cooling can’t be completed without it. Those activities, however, can take a toll on both the bottom line and natural resources.

According to National Restaurant Association research, more restaurateurs are conscious of the amount of water their businesses use and are actively taking steps to conserve it.

In our survey of 500 restaurant owners and operators, we looked at measures taken to reduce water usage nationally. Here are some stats we uncovered:

  • 27 percent of restaurant operators use low-flow faucet aerators in their hand sinks. Adding these devices, which cost about $3 each, can reduce hot-water use at a hand sink by 60 percent. The savings: Based on as little as 15 minutes of use per day, could save 9,000 gallons of hot water per sink, per year.
  • 45 percent of consumers say they consider conservation efforts an important factor when choosing a restaurant to dine at.
  • More than four in 10 restaurant operators say they use low-flush toilets, also known as low-flow or high-efficiency toilets.

Restaurants and other hospitality-related businesses, including hotels and foodservice operations, account for nearly 15 percent of commercial/institutional water use in the United States, officials of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program report. Here’s a snapshot of the agency’s stats on restaurant water use:

  • 52 percent of water use occurs in the kitchen and during dishwashing
  • 31 percent of use occurs during cleanup or in the restroom
  • 12 percent of use happens during other, daily activities
  • 4 percent of use occurs as part of landscaping/lawn care
  • 1 percent is tied to the restaurant’s cooling and heating infrastructure

Download The State of Restaurant Sustainability 2018 to learn more about restaurant sustainability