Among many highlights from last week’s Food & Beverage Summit and GuestPath® Conference programming was a panel discussion focused on Delaware North’s GreenPath® program led by Director of Sustainability Deb Friedel.
The hourlong discussion, which was moderated by Delaware North Director of Communications Victoria Hong, covered a wide variety of topics relating to sustainability and how locations across Delaware North’s subsidiaries can adopt easy changes to make food and beverage operations more eco-friendly. Rounding out the panel were industry experts Ben Prentice, client development manager for the Green Restaurant Association; Dan Bhada, client services director for Pro*Act; and Catherine Kayser, vice president of corporate social responsibility at Sysco Corporation.
“GreenPath turned 15 this year, and turning 15 is a big deal because a lot of you have contributed support and action to make great improvements within the program during that time,” Friedel said. “We’re in a position now to take it to that next level. To do that, it’s going to require all of us working together in a more simplified and streamlined approach.”
The panelists took turns describing effective ways to make food and beverage operations more sustainable and how Delaware North units can work with the GreenPath program to achieve these goals.
“The biggest trend in the food industry right now is millennials,” Kayser said, discussing why “going green” is important in the industry. “They want clean food. They want healthy food. and they want transparency.”
Being Earth-friendly goes beyond merely engaging in a trend to attract millennials. One constant thread throughout the discussion was about the business benefits of embracing sustainable practices.
“If you’re the catalyst in bringing your client’s location to become green certified, that’s a big plus,” Prentice said. “You’re going to help save money, energy, water and waste. You’re going to be the hero in bringing them this opportunity.”
The panelists helped break down barriers and perceived problems that businesses face when enacting sustainability practices and provided advice to overcome these challenges.
“Focus on a handful of things. Form a small green team because you can’t do it alone,” Kayser said. “Start small and get a few quick wins, such as a recycling program. You have to pick what you’re going to do and what you’re able to do.”
Friedel finished the discussion by underscoring the importance of not only enhancing GreenPath programs at units, but also communicating the exemplary work already being done.
“There are a lot of really great practices already in play,” she said. “We want to share those best practices to celebrate these achievements and acknowledge the great work being done and keep GreenPath at the forefront.”