Five Delaware North-operated restaurants at Grand Canyon National Park are now certified as a Certified Green Restaurant® by the Green Restaurant Association (GRA), a national nonprofit organization helping restaurants to become more environmentally sustainable.
Yavapai Restaurant, Yavapai Tavern and Canyon Village Market & Deli each became 3 Star Certified Green Restaurants, while Desert View Trading Post & Ice Cream and Desert View Market & Deli were each named Level 1 Certified Green Restaurants.
“Only 14 restaurants in Arizona have earned this designation, and five of them are here at the Grand Canyon,” said Kaitie Christiansen, environmental/risk manager, Delaware North at Grand Canyon. “The application process took about five months. Now our green restaurant claim has a third-party endorsement, which carries a lot more weight.”
Illustrating the company’s commitment to resource protection, the restaurants took 266 different environmental steps to achieve certification. None of the five offer plastic water bottles – as 91% of all plastic is not recycled – so they do not contribute to the 4 billion pounds of bottles that end up in landfills each year.
Each restaurant participates in Delaware North’s “The Last Straw” program, which is minimizing plastic usage by offering plastic straws to guests by request only. On average, 64 percent of the lights are LEDs, which use up to 90 percent less energy. An average of 30 percent of entrees at each restaurant are vegetarian, which require significantly less energy and water to produce than meat-based dishes.
While most Delaware North resorts have at least one Green Restaurant certification, the Grand Canyon is the first Parks and Resorts property to earn five certifications at one property.
“With a number of effective green practices already in place, we knew we had a good starting point toward certification,” said Kaitie. “We had to submit thousands of photographs and three months of invoices. Plus, our vendors were interviewed to make sure, for example, we actually were purchasing compostable materials.”
But what does this really mean to customers? Well, if you’re passionate about good environmental practices, you’ll be pleased to know that Delaware North feels the same way.
“Delaware North is pioneering new sustainable practices,” shared Kaitie. “It makes it easier for customers to identify restaurants that are legitimately green, as all the areas we earned certification for can be easily found at the Green Restaurant website.”
Beyond the presence on Visit Grand Canyon’s website, guests who visit will notice Green Restaurant logos on the menus and plaques on the walls.
For its next green endeavor, Yavapai Lodge is reinventing the recipe books. Look for the introduction of a delicious, high-protein veggie burger called the Power Plant in 2019.