Using the resources listed below, we help foodservice industry members adopt and implement more sustainable, less impactful business practices—and ideally become certified as a Guaranteed Green location. This is not only valuable for the environment; it’s great for business.
Photo Credit: Kristen Holdsworth
The Sustainability Assistance Program (SAP) is a three-month educational program designed to help your business a) incorporate sustainable practices into your foodservice operations and b) ultimately become prepared to qualify for the Guaranteed Green Certification. It covers energy and water conservation, environmental third-party certifications, sustainable and humane food options, environmental labeling, and other sustainability related issues.
Your business is paired with a GCRC assistant who will provide the following services:
The SAP helps foodservice industry members make well-informed, conservation-minded choices.
Next Bites has built a network of more than 200 foodservice locations and 25+ suppliers of green products and services.
SAP participants give back to their communities by offering environmentally responsible dining options and contributing to resource conservation in their areas.
Foodservice operations that earn third-party certifications take measures to reduce energy consumption, natural resource and water use, and waste output, which minimizes their environmental footprint and helps make a cleaner, healthier planet.
Results & Recognition:
This program has directly resulted in the increased sustainability of more than 35 foodservice operations in the Chicago area. The SEP has also developed successful partnerships with much larger and more experienced firms, including Green Seal, Chicago Department of Aviation and the Shedd Aquarium.
The Chicago Department of Aviation: Next Bites has collaborated with the CDA on a Sustainable Airports project since 2013, involving concessionaire tenants at both O’Hare and Midway airports.
John C. Shedd Aquarium: Over the past three years, our partnership with the Shedd and their Right Bite program has educated restaurateurs, chefs and other foodservice operators, and the public about sustainable seafood options.
Next Bites is working on a Restaurant Resources Kit that will provide a directory of Guaranteed Green foodservice businesses. It will be used when making recommendations during the SAP.
The Guaranteed Green certification program helps eaters identify and support restaurants, caterers, and other foodservice operations that have demonstrated a commitment to—and achieved a high level of—environmental sustainability.
It also offers desirable visibility to Guaranteed Green locations. They’re recognized in print media throughout Chicago’s airports, hotels city-wide, and on websites including Chicago’s official city tourism site. Chicago Magazine and Edible Chicago also include the Guaranteed Green sprouting fork emblem as part of their restaurant listings.
The certification process is available to any licensed foodservice establishment seeking to increase their sustainability.
How to Qualify:
Certification requires meeting standards in the areas of sustainable food purchasing, environmentally preferable cleaning products, disposables, and furnishings, as well management of energy, water, and waste.
Find more details on how you can qualify and join the Guaranteed Green community.
Photo Credit: Fig Catering
Guaranteed Green recognition may be attained by going through either the Green Restaurant Association (GRA) or Green Seal, two independent, national non-profits that have created comprehensive environmental standards for the foodservice industry.
To help you decide which agency, use the following fact sheets, descriptions of certification standards and our own comparison sheet.
Green Seal certification benefits can be found here.
Green Restaurant Association certification can be found here.
Over a period of about three months, the Next Bites Sustainability Assistance Program (SAP) gives you free, one-on-one guidance to prepare your business for a GRA and or Green Seal certification.
Read more about the Sustainability Assistance Program here.
“When [Next Bites] rolled out their Guaranteed Green Program, Uncommon Ground was compelled to participate and certify with the Green Restaurant Association. It was an incredibly educational and challenging process and we implemented many steps to eventually certify both of our locations as 4-star Green Restaurants.
This required some investment, but as a result we have saved thousands of dollars in paper goods and energy expenses, have found access to many more local products and created a much healthier environment for our staff and guests.”
-Helen Cameron, Co-Owner, Uncommon Ground
Next Bites recognizes both the GRA 4.0 certification standards and the Green Seal GS-55 Certification Standard as effective means to certify that a restaurant has made significant, quantifiable steps to make its operations more environmentally friendly. We do NOT favor or endorse one program over the other. A restaurant that achieves either certification will be recognized as “Guaranteed Green.”
Photo Credit: Koval
To make it as easy as possible for restaurants to make more sustainable choices, we've created the Chicagoland Restaurant Resources Kit, a Guaranteed Green business directory of foodservice products and related services. The kit covers 10 categories, from waste management to furnishings, and lists direct points of contact for each business to make your shift toward sustainability as smooth possible.
Download the entire kit here.
Photo Credit: Koval