Top 3 Safety & Sustainability Trends for Restaurants to Watch

As many foodservice operators know, having a safe eatery is of utmost importance for both employees and consumers. According to a recent Deloitte report, one-third of consumers state enhanced cleanliness and safety protocols are important for returning to in-person dining in the future. Paired with the rise in eco-conscious consumers, safety and sustainability are two top priorities for food retailers. 

In this blog, we highlight 3 key ways that your restaurant can be both safe and sustainable – by eliminating paper processes, implementing reusable packaging, and through sustainable cleaning and disinfecting. 

1. Eliminate paper processes at your businesses 

QSR’s (Quick Service Restaurants) have been ditching the pen and paper for a multitude of reasons. Aside from preventing pencil whipping, going digital streamlines operations and virtually eliminates the need for paper logs focused on temperature monitoring and compliance tracking. 

Paper has significant negative impacts on our environment. Paper pollution causes adverse effects to the quality of air, water, and land. The World Count states the environmental effects of paper account for approximately 26% of total waste at landfills. Paper production also contributes to deforestation, the use of large amounts of energy and water, as well as air pollution.

Digital food safety software like Squadle’s suite of products not only helps your business meet food safety requirements, but also helps decrease the amount of paper pollution produced by restaurant operations. So next time your employee logs a temperature with paper and pen, consider the digital alternative of a bluetooth pyrometer that automatically records the temperature reading onto a tablet. Employees will save time and prevent waste with this simple switch to digital food safety!

2. Reusable food packaging & takeout
Loop's reusable packaging at Burger King. Credit: Burger King

Burger King is currently testing eco-friendly packaging options. Matthew Banton, Burger King’s head of innovation and sustainability announced that they are “optimistic about progress and are committed to reducing waste to do our part in creating a more sustainable future.” By piloting various sustainable options at different Burger King locations, they are able to “get direct feedback from guests on how the packages perform, make iterative changes with our supplier, and build an implementation roadmap for the system,” helping to inform their plans for nationwide sustainable packaging in the future. 

Specifically, Burger King will be testing reusable cups and containers through a partnership with TerraCycle’s circular packaging service, Loop, “to pilot a closed-loop system with zero-waste packaging that can be safely cleaned and refilled to be reused, again and again.” This test will launch early 2022 in select locations in New Jersey.. 

The pilot program with Loop will feature a cup suitable for hot and cold beverages, and a box similar to the cardboard kind food items traditionally are served in. Similar to Loop’s retail business model for grocery (which today includes Tesco in the United Kingdom, Carrefour in France, Aeon in Japan, and Walgreens and Kroger’s Fred Meyer banner coming soon in the United States), as well as Loop’s existing QSR partnerships with McDonald’s in the UK and Tim Hortons in Canada. Burger King customers at the pilot locations will be able to opt into the reusable packaging program by paying a 100% refundable deposit along with their food purchase. 

Customers will receive their deposits back once the containers are returned. Once returned, Loop’s cleaning systems sanitize all food containers and cups, ensuring thorough cleansing before each use. Takeout packaging marks an impressive step forward for sustainability that simultaneously keeps food safe. Learn more about the importance of food-safe packaging here.

3. Sustainable cleaning & disinfecting

Whether you’re cleaning your home, restaurant, or retail location, proper cleaning practices enhance food and health safety by preventing the spread of germs and infection. Sustainable cleaning products are easier to find than you may realize. 

Here are two safe and sustainable cleaning practices worth trying for your restaurant or household: Loop’s cleaning essentials and DIY cleaners.

  • Loop’s cleaning essentials
  • Tom Szaky, Founder & CEO of Terracycle's Loop

    Loop, as mentioned above, allows you to enjoy your favorite products, without the environmentally harmful packaging waste. Loop’s purpose is to make reuse as convenient and accessible as single use, working with category-leading brands, retailers, restaurants, and more to activate a circular reuse ecosystem offering thousands of products in refillable containers that can be reused again and again. Simply place a 100% refundable deposit to borrow the reusable packaging that gets professionally cleaned. 

    • DIY cleaners

    If you are looking to save money or are unable to wait for package-free products to ship, consider making your cleaners with products you might already have at your home or restaurant. Here are various DIY cleaning product recipes that “actually work” according to a cleaning expert at Good Housekeeping. From naturally scented all-purpose spray to grease cleaner–discover how to repurpose spare ingredients while keeping kitchen and dining areas clean and safe.

    Simple, safe, and sustainable 

    Aside from the highly sustainable practices listed above, we recognize that larger businesses and restaurants may still produce waste to some extent. Learn more about how to responsibly recycle large amounts of scrap plastic via freight here. In the meantime, we hope you take away some safe and eco-conscious business practices from this guide. To find a participating Loop location near you or to partner as they expand, checkout For additional food safety and sustainability guides, check out Squadle’s Resource center.