Green Restaurants are in Demand

13 December 2010

Researchers found that more than 8 out of 10 restaurant patrons surveyed in Columbus, Ohio said they would be willing to pay more to dine at green restaurants. More than 7 out of 10 said it was good for restaurants to protect the environment. The only problem is that very few restaurants market themselves as green or environmentally friendly, said Jay Kandampully, coauthor of the study and professor of consumer sciences at Ohio State University.

Businesses are always looking for an edge. Traditionally one eats out because of the fine food or the convenience. Those factors will always be important but so is the ambiance, atmosphere and perceived value.

"The results made it clear that restaurant customers are intrigued by the possibility of environmentally friendly restaurants," said Franziska Schubert, a study coauthor who conducted the research while a graduate student at Ohio State.

"We thought there would be some interest in green restaurants, but this showed an overwhelming interest in the concept and a willingness to pay for it," Schubert said.

About 65 percent of those surveyed said they would be willing to pay up to 10 percent more to dine at green restaurants, and 20 percent would be willing to pay even more. Only about 15 percent said they would not be willing to pay any more to eat at an environmentally friendly restaurant.

About 70 percent said it is good for restaurants to protect the environment, and nearly half - 48 percent - said dining at green restaurants will be healthier.

Kandampully said restaurants that are truly green should look to get certified by organizations such as the Green Restaurant Association or the Rainforest Alliance to show customers of their commitment.

"Restaurants need to clearly communicate with customers about their green practices, if they hope to get a marketing edge," he said.

Would you dine at a green restauarnt and if so what practices would you expect them to be partaking in and what, if any, compromises would you be willing to make?

Source: Environmental News Network, Green Diet by Andy Soos.

By Holly McCarthy, GreenBizCheck