Elmer Huggest, owner of the restaurant, O’Grady’s Garden in Indiana, plans to do his part to save the planet by implementing some new policies at his eating establishment. Some are pretty basic; others are a little more radical.
“It’s time we take a stand and do the right thing,” Huggest stated. “There is so much food and energy waste in restaurants in this country, and I’m going to do something about it.” Huggest, a retired gold prospector purchased the restaurant in 2005 and has been trying to come up with ideas to “go green” ever since.
O’Grady’s Garden will be closed this week as the staff makes major changes to the place. The first work done will be to change all lighting to energy-saving flourescent bulbs. The restaurant will also use significantly less lighting. Huggest admits that some patrons may complain the restaurant is too dark but believes his customers will understand once they are informed of the new “green” policies. In addition, all the cooking and refrigeration appliances are being replaced with more energy-efficient models.
Other changes, however, may be more noticeable to customers. In an effort to save paper, menus will be printed on small, playing-card sized menus. Huggest realizes that these menus will be more difficult to read but believes this will not be a problem because a magnifying glass will be placed on every table to assist customers.
The napkins are changing as well. Huggest proudly proclaimed, “We were fortunate enough to find a supplier in China who makes edible napkins. They are made of some sort of plant fibers and come in two flavors: Banana and Plum.” This will cut down on washing costs and may also serve as a sort of replacement for dessert for our patrons. I tried one, and they are very filling.” Along the same lines, silverware will not necessarily be washed after each use. “We’re going to have our staff inspect each piece of silverware when a table clears, and pieces that are deemed to be ‘not that dirty’ will simply be wiped once and placed back on the table. This is a true ‘green’ innovation.”
Huggest also believes that restaurants waste energy in the form of heating and air conditioning. “We’re going to go as natural as possible. The heat will only come on if the restaurant temperature goes below 50, and the air will only be used when it’s above 85 in the dining room. We think this can be comfortable as long as customers dress appropriately to the season.”
Servers will save paper by no longer writing down customer food orders and instead will be required to memorize them. “We’ll probably have a few more mistakes on orders in the beginning since most of our servers are young and from the local community college,” Huggest admitted. “I realize some of them are not the sharpest tools in the shed, but it’s all going to be worth it once they get the hang of things…eventually.”
Huggest also is removing the restaurant’s sound system meaning there will be no light music for ambiance. He believes that is a waste of energy but has other ideas to provide a pleasant dining experience. “My 14-year-old daughter plays the piccolo and will be available to sit in the corner and play most evenings. Also, we’re very proud to announce that Corey Hart will play in the dining room on the first Thursday of every month.” Corey Hart had the 1980’s hit song, “I Wear My Sunglasses at Night.”
Previously, O’Grady’s had a policy of handing out coloring paper and crayons to children diners. This will be cut out, but children will have an opportunity to play in a large sandbox in the middle of the dining room while waiting for their food. “I think they are going to just love that,” Huggest said.
Not all of the noticeable changes will be confined to the dining room. Public Restroom policies are also being affected. “The water faucets have been programmed to provide running water for only two seconds. When it shuts off, it will not be able to be turned back on for a full minute. We’re very proud of our efforts to cut out the unnecessary waste of water. We also ask that our customers follow the old addage, If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down.” Huggest added that the restaurant is considering having servers check the toilets immediately after customers use them and reserve the right to evict anyone from the restaurant who flushes “only urine.”
There will also be some big changes relating to the actual food. For example, the restaurant’s signature steaks will no longer be available “well-done.” Huggest stated that cooking meat for an extra couple of minutes to get them “well-done” is simply a waste of electricity and will not be allowed. “We feel that medium is plenty done enough. People will get used to it.”
Drink spills by customers will be handled differently as well. Servers will quickly try to “scoop” any amount of drink that can be saved back into patrons’ glasses. There will be a “fine” added on to the bill for every ounce of drink that cannot be saved.
“Fines” will also be applied when customers do not finish all their food. The price of the “fine” will depend on the type and amount of the food. Huggest says a reduced “fine” will be applied when customers ask for take-home boxes for leftovers. “It’s all well and good if they want to take leftovers home, but we can’t be sure they won’t throw the food away at home or even accidentally leave the carry-out box on top of their cars when they drive off. Therefore, a small fine is in order.”
Huggest believes that children are the biggest wasters of food. He is changing the kid’s meal as a result. “The kid’s meal will now consist of a few slices of prune, one saltine cracker and a 1.5 ounce juice box whose container is made completely of recycled material. Since the meal is a lot smaller than it used to be, customers will be happy to hear that we are reducing the price by ten cents.”
The restaurant will also attempt to reuse some food left behind on customer plates. Huggest realizes this idea is “different” but believes it is necessary in today’s world. “We’re going to cut out any bite marks and inspect food to see how much can be recycled. We’ll then put it on our ‘second chance’ buffet which patrons can eat from for a reduced price. We think we are pioneers and that many, many other restaurants will be doing this type of thing in the near future.”
When asked if this is sanitary, Huggest stated that the restaurant is committed to providing a healthy environment. “Since we will be reusing some food, it will be necessary to take the temperature of every customer as they arrive. Anyone with a fever will be denied entrance. Also, our host staff will be taking a good look at every customer who is trying to come in, and only clean-looking people who look like they don’t have any diseases will be admitted. Additionally, servers will go around the dining room and spray hefty doses of Lysol every ten minutes. We want our customers to know we care about their good health.”
Finally, the restaurant’s popular frozen margaritas will no longer be available. “It just wastes too much ice,” Huggest said.
Jenna McQuire, a long-time patron of O’Grady’s is not happy about this last change. “If I don’t get my Friday night mango margarita, I’m going to kill someone,” she ranted.
Customers are certainly in for some changes at the establishment. “I think they’ll understand in the long run,” Huggest said. “What good is a restaurant if we end up living in an post-apocalyptic world where people are beating each other with sticks trying to get at the last drops of water on earth. Now you think about that.”