Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes Becomes Nation's First Large-Scale Restaurant Chain to Obtain Green Restaurant Association Certification

Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp. Announces Sustainability Efforts Across its more than 120 Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes Restaurants Nationwide

Sep 14, 2011, 09:00 ET from Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes

SAN DIEGO, Sept. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp., parent company to Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes, announced today its sustainability initiatives and Green Restaurant Association certification. Garden Fresh is the largest restaurant chain in the nation to be certified by the Green Restaurant Association, an industry standard in restaurant sustainability.

Garden Fresh has been working toward certification for the past two years and has now completed the process. As part of the sustainability measures taken, Garden Fresh has upgraded to high-efficiency spray valves, energy-efficient lighting, Green Seal-certified cleaning products and recyclable glass, paper, aluminum, and cardboard packaging. Every year, Garden Fresh estimates it will save 2.1 million pounds of waste paper, 7.5 million gallons of water, 4.4 million kilowatts of energy and 3,194 cubic yards of landfill space because of these current changes. The company is a Styrofoam-free restaurant chain and guests at Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes restaurants already use non-disposable dishes and cutlery, diverting waste from landfills and incinerators. As part of this certification, Garden Fresh will provide sustainability educational training to its employees annually.

"We have always sought innovative ways to be thoughtful about our impact on the environment. I believe that attitude is consistent with our product, the wishes of our guests and our brand," said Michael Mack, CEO of Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp. "The Green Restaurant Association provided us with a wonderful opportunity to further our efforts and we strongly value their hard work in transitioning the restaurant industry into a more environmentally responsible industry. Not only do we serve greens on our salad bars, but also all of our locations are now officially 'green' restaurants. We hope to set a standard among other national and large-chain restaurants to encourage them to follow suit."

"We are pleased to see a restaurant chain of this volume be the pioneer in 'green' initiatives and set a standard in the restaurant industry," said Jennifer Fleck, communications manager at the Green Restaurant Association. "The U.S. throws out 243 million tons of trash every year, 57 percent of which is buried in landfills. Garden Fresh is taking proactive steps to help reduce this number."

The Green Restaurant Association, a nonprofit organization that seeks to promote sustainability in the restaurant industry, certified Garden Fresh restaurants as a Two-Star Certified Green Restaurant. Under the certification process, Garden Fresh underwent environmental upgrades in all of its restaurants across the nation. The GRA reviewed the following categories to ensure sustainability requirements were met:

  • Energy
  • Sustainable Food
  • Water Efficiency
  • Waste Reduction & Recycling
  • Disposables
  • Chemicals & Pollution Reduction
  • Sustainable Furnishings & Building Materials

For more information about sustainability efforts at Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes restaurants, visit

About Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes

Celebrating over 30 years, Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes was founded in 1978 in San Diego and currently operates more than 120 salad buffet-style restaurants across the western, southern and eastern portions of the United States. Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes creates an all-you-care-to-eat dining experience with a daily selection of made-from-scratch soups and salads and hand-crafted muffins, focaccia, breads and tasty desserts. By combining high-quality, farm-fresh and scratch-made foods for a fixed price, the restaurants provide guests with the freedom to create their own wholesome meals. The restaurant concept is built around fresh prepared, great-tasting recipes with a salad bar full of seasonal vegetables and tossed salads prepared exhibition-style every 20 minutes. Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes restaurants are open daily for lunch and dinner and also for a special Sunday Breakfast that features a variety of delicious morning favorites in addition to regular selections. For more information, please visit or

About the Green Restaurant Association

The Green Restaurant Association is a national non-profit organization that provides the only official Certified Green Restaurants® mark in the country. For two decades, the GRA has pioneered the Green Restaurant® movement and has been the leading voice within the industry encouraging restaurants to listen to consumer demand and green their operations using transparent, science-based certification standards. With their turnkey certification system, the GRA has made it easy for thousands of restaurants to become more environmentally sustainable in a profitable manner. The GRA is endorsed by scores of national environmental organizations such as NRDC and Environmental Defense, and esteemed trade organizations including the New York State Restaurant Association, Orange County Restaurant Association, and America Public Garden Association. The GRA is also an Energy Star partner. In 2010, Citysearch announced the GRA as their official Green Restaurant® listing partner. The GRA has been featured on CNN, NBC Nightly News, NPR, and in The New York Times, and The Washington Post. For more information, visit

SOURCE Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes