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How to incorporate natural elements into your bar, restaurant or café

These days, plenty of restaurants and local businesses are trying to go green and help towards a more sustainable world. This mission combined with our brand at Straw by Straw is how we achieve our goals, making the world a smarter, more beautiful and longer lasting planet to live on. But sometimes it’s hard for restaurants to tell what cheap things they can do to show their customers they’re truly a green brand. So let’s look at some ways how!

The cornerstone of any modern sustainable restaurant is certainly the decoration and doing this on a budget isn’t necessarily easy. However, some quick and easy solutions which seem a bit underrated to me clearly present themselves. Firstly, involving flowers and flowerpots that cover the room, while hardly a ‘living wall’ provide a garden-like natural feeling to the room. Metal plant pots hanging from the ceiling and on the walls with small plants growing all the time looks lovely, and even better when all the flowers grow in the Summer. Although they do require a little maintenance, you can even find plants that need far less watering than others, and as long as they’re kept out of the way, cacti aren’t off limits…. Take a look at this example in Copenhagen’s green restaurant ‘Vækst’.

Copenhagen’s green restaurant Vækst

Secondly, while bigger water features can be super expensive to maintain, creating a small area with some clear water and a cheap fountain can be simple and effective. Reminding the customer of water and its role in nature in a simplistic manner can be sometimes far more effective than extravagant pieces when creating a natural feel, and most of these need a daily refill at most. Below I’ve shown an example of what I mean, but these are highly customisable so let your imagination run wild!

funtain

Next, you want to try and focus on space and lighting. Typically, customers don’t want somewhere dark or murky unless that’s specific to your brand, and the best way to utilise nature for this is to find as much natural light as possible. Modern architectural movements have highlighted the love for spaces that integrate themselves with the environment around them, ranging from the 1960s to today! Obviously, you want to pack your restaurant full of customers, but too many tables and artificial light will hurt the atmosphere that is so integral to so many diner’s experiences. Furthermore, leaving open spaces allows oxygen to flow around the room, and with people already going to the restaurant to let off stress, you don’t want to make people feel even worse. Generally I like to use the rule that a cramped style will cramp your style. While you want to create atmosphere, people like to feel somewhat isolated, so tackling this oxymoronic challenge is essential. 

One thing that’s also important when considering your venue’s theme is locality. When trying new things, you have to consider local business, as when building your network and customers, some will pay attention to exactly where you’re buying, especially as reducing shipping cuts costs. There’s lots of links to tools online, but almost anywhere has a local supplier who can hook you up with your produce or decoration. Ingraining you identity as part of a community as well as your own brand is a sure-fire way to increase customer satisfaction and interaction.

Finally, the most important thing is getting your actual furnishings to look natural. From the utensils to the chairs, you want the reminder of products of growth to be everywhere. A great example is Wagamama’s famous sleek wooden tables (although they don’t fully commit to the feeling), or for utensils you could try http://www.bakeys.com/, the edible spoons replacing plastic cutlery. Our very own straw straws would be a great addition here, as they’re plucked straight from nature, compostable and 100% vegan and gluten free! They fit straight in with any attempted nature aesthetic.

If you’d like to make small but powerful changes to your restaurant and consider some plastic alternatives, Straw By Straw might be the place to start. Every day we use thousands of plastic straws around the globe. Why continue with that when there are millions of straws growing in nature every year?

You can buy from us here or read more on our product here.

If you’re a restaurant or events organiser considering taking on our solution, please feel free to contact us via e-mail on ‘theo@strawbystraw.com’ or on mobile at +31648142608.

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