One of the newest and most exciting trends in the foodservice industry is the hyper-local restaurant. These businesses take buying local and sustainably-sourced foods to the next level by growing produce right in their own backyards. If you're interested in opening or transitioning into a hyper-local restaurant and saving money by growing your own food, this post is a great place to start.
Essentially, a hyper-local restaurant is a foodservice business that grows produce on their own property, usually in the form of a backyard or rooftop garden. The concept of hyper-local food sourcing grows from the desire for vertical integration, which is achieved when a business controls the raw material, production, and sale of a product from start to finish.
Hyper-local restaurants generally use soil-less gardens, although some employ traditional gardening methods as well. Many also use hydroponic or aquaponic cultivation, which incorporates mineral nutrient solutions in water without the use of soil and is great for areas without the land or climate required for traditional farming and gardening techniques.
The growth and expansion of hyper-local restaurants was fueled by a desire among customers for fresher and more sustainable foods. As more establishments looked to incorporate principles of sustainable development, which stresses the equal importance of economic growth and environmental responsibility, they found that hyper-local restaurants fit the bill.
The development of hyper-local restaurants was also influenced by hyper-local farming, which refers to small-scale subsistence agriculture. In this type of farming, individuals produce only enough produce for themselves without the use of fossil fuel machines or the addition of preservatives or pesticides. By employing similar tactics, restaurants have less waste and spend less money on produce, leading to increased revenue.
While buying local is also an environmentally and socially responsible choice, you should always keep in mind that not all local food is created equal.
As a restaurateur, it is your responsibility to know the origins, treatment, and freshness of the food you serve. One of the largest benefits of hyper-local farming is that it guarantees you and your staff will be able to accurately answer food-related questions from customers. Additionally, your chef will be able to create more unique and delicious dishes due to an expert understanding of each ingredient and where it came from.
While opening or transitioning into a hyper-local restaurant might not be the right choice for every foodservice establishment, any movement towards sustainably and responsibly sourced foods is always a step in the right direction.
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