Part of the American dining experience now includes quizzing servers about each and every item on the menu.
Is this grass-fed beef? Are these locally-sourced, eco-friendly, free-range, cruelty-free, non-GMO, organic farmers’ market eggs?
Whoa! That’s quite a mouthful. And recently, a new question has made its way to the table. In addition to food standards, safety, and sources, dining patrons also want to know what kind of water the restaurant serves.
Waiter… Is This Tap, Bottled, Or Filtered Water?
In the past, questioning the water would get smirks and scoffs from anyone within earshot. Now, with growing uncertainty regarding water cleanliness and safety, those within earshot are eagerly awaiting the answer, too. Restaurant owners and staff must be ready to soothe their customers’ concerns.
Is There Anything Worse Than Tap Water?
The unpleasant taste, smell, and coloration of tap water is nothing new. For many, water from the tap might as well be water from the toilet. The minerals, cleansing agents, sediments, and contaminants in tap water have no place in restaurants–or in any kitchen for that matter. These impurities can alter the flavor of any food that comes in contact with it.
When it freezes, tap water produces cloudy, metallic-tasting ice cubes. When heated, chemical reactions and minerals can ruin the taste of teas, coffees, and soups.
Furthermore, tap water leaves mineral residue on glassware and utensils. No customer ever wants to encounter dingy, water-stained table settings when sitting down to eat. Just the thought if it leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
Even worse, when municipal water is left unchecked by governing bodies, diseases like E.coli, salmonella, and noroviruses can crop up in the water supply. This could spell certain death for any restaurant linked to the spread of such diseases.
Finally, who can forget the water crisis of Flint, Michigan? The residents there were lead-poisoned by their own municipal water source. If nothing else, their tragedy should stand as a strong message that we cannot, and should not, trust our government to provide us with clean, drinkable water.
Is Bottled Any Better?
In an effort to distance themselves from tap water’s bad reputation, restaurants quickly turned to bottled water. We now know that this was a big mistake. Plastic pollution has destroyed our planet beyond repair.
Microplastics are turning up in rivers, oceans, glaciers, and even in our own bodies. While the fight against single-use plastic consumption has been slow to start, it is only gaining momentum on a global scale.
Fueled by social media images and an upsurge of education on the matter, people are making better choices. We are using purchasing power as our voice. Restaurant owners would be wise to listen to the concerns of their customers regarding single-use plastic, and act accordingly for the greater good.
Bottled water companies are profit-driven.
Just recently, Crystal Geyser has admitted to storing, transporting, and eventually dumping wastewater contaminated with arsenic into a Southern California sewer system. They are now facing a multi-million dollar lawsuit. Today, public distrust in bottled water companies is at an all-time high.
Even more surprisingly, when it comes to purity, water from the bottle is a losing bet. In 2018, a study from Orb found that microplastics are present in every single leading brand of bottled water, including Nestle, Aquafina, and Dasani. Clearly, bottled water is a lose-lose-lose when it comes to restaurant-customer-environment relations.
So What Kind Of Water Should Restaurants Serve?
So, now what? If tap and bottled are out, what kind of water do restaurants serve their guests? Restaurant owners must choose a water that satisfies economic, environmental, and gastronomic demands. The choice is simple: filtered tap water.
Filtered water is economical.
A commercial filtration system is quick to install and easy to maintain. Active-carbon filters are specifically designed to double or even triple filter tap water, removing 99.9% of chemicals, contaminants, and water-born diseases. Plus, a water filtration system can extend the lifespan of dishwashers, espresso makers, and soda machines. By preventing mineral build-up in hoses, faucets, and pipes, filtered water keeps machines running at optimal performance.
Filtered water is environmentally-friendly.
Water filtration is the only way to provide clean, pure water without contributing to plastic pollution. Now, the only thing you have to worry about are the straws and styrofoam containers: but you’ve stopped serving those already, right? It’s all for a good cause. Filtered water is something a restaurant can truly be proud to serve. Put it on the menu! Your customers will thank you. So will Mother Nature.
Filtered water is gastronomically-sound.
Water is the first thing that greets a customer at their table. It is the last thing a customer tastes after a great meal. Its presence in the kitchen and dining room should not be underestimated.
A restaurant is only as good as the food it serves up, and the food is only as good as the water. Chefs know that when it comes to taste, every detail counts. Organic ingredients. Seasonal vegetables. Carefully measured ingredients. And water. The secret to great food is clean, pure, great-tasting water.
So, what kind of water will you serve?