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Eco-friendly ways bring in green

Operators find that some earth-minded habits can pay off in bigger sales, savings

By Lisa Jennings

Others say their efforts to go green may never even be noticed by customers.
“It’s a new way of living, not a marketing thing,” says Debra Sarokin, a consultant working with the frozen-yogurt shop Sno:LA, which opened in Beverly Hills, Calif., earlier this month.
In addition to using organic produce from sustainable local farms for its yogurt, the shop’s eco-friendly design includes the use of solar energy to operate the yogurt machines, and a countertop made from recycled computer chips. The walls are painted with nontoxic, soy-based paint, and the yogurt is served in clear cups made from corn that look like plastic but are biodegradable.
The cups, for example, cost two to three times more than a comparable plastic version, she says.
“For the most part, it is more expensive [to go green],” she concedes, noting that the group of unnamed celebrity investors behind the concept is planning a second location to open in Malibu, Calif., later this year. “But it’s an investment in what we believe in, and it supports our philosophy and the culture of our business.”
For some, the application of eco-practices may be purely altruistic.
Others, however, see the green movement as a significant point of differentiation for a brand, says Leondakis of Kimpton.
“More and more consumers are choosing to spend their money with businesses that share their values,” she says, “and we believe that will become even more important down the road.”

[via Nation's Restaurant News]