The Chapel Hill Restaurant Group and our Commitment to Sustainability
The Chapel Hill Restaurant Group is committed to operating sustainable businesses. Sustainability is based on the Triple Bottom Line of economic viability, social responsibility, and environmental stewardship. We have been fortunate to have a successful business model in MEZ, primarily because of our incredible staff and our emphasis on quality and value. Our commitment to social responsibility is evident in the decisions we have made in marketing and advertising our businesses. Rather than pursue regular means of advertising through the local media, we have instead decided to spend the funds that would normally go to advertising to give back to the communities around our restaurants. We host many events throughout the year, provide countless gift certificates and food donations for fund-raising events, and provide accommodations and labor to assist many organizations. We proudly support the Public School Foundation, UNC Children's Hospital, the Chapel Hill/Carrboro YCMA, the American Heart Association, SECU Family House, and many other organizations with fund-raising events, and provide in-kind donations to schools, churches, and social groups throughout the Triangle.
We also try to reduce our environmental impact whenever we can. We have been called the "Rock Stars of Recycling" by Blair Pollock, Solid Waste Manager of the Orange County Landfill, and through our food scrap recycling program, have reduced our solid waste by over 65% at our Chapel Hill restaurants. We have purchased locally grown products as much as possible for the last thirty years, and we ardently support the Buy Local initiative in North Carolina and the Triangle. We have also been recognized by the North Carolina Coastal Federation for our oyster shell recycling program at Squid's, where we divert 100% of our used oyster shells form the Orange County landfill, and return the shells to the North Carolina coast where they are used to rebuild the state's oyster beds and assist the shellfish industries. MEZ is North Carolina's first LEED-designed restaurant, and has set an example for the food service industry that an environmentally committed business can not only be a good corporate citizen, but a successful one too.
We are very proud that we were named "Sustainable Business of the Year" in 2007 by the Foundation for a Sustainable Community, and that we were the first business certified Green Plus by the Institute for the Environment. We will continue to pursue a sustainable path as long as we operate our businesses.