“We launched the award to acknowledge the inspiring work that is already being done in the hospitality sector, and to increase awareness of the many ways in which a restaurant can become an economically and environmentally sustainable business,” says Eat Out editor, Abigail Donnelly.

“Feedback from the 2016 awards has already resulted in restaurant owners making more connections with their farmers, asking for proof of claims from suppliers, improving the education of their consumers, and taking steps to improve their own methods and menus,” adds Donnelly.

Justin Smith, group head of sustainability at Woolworths Holdings, says, “We live in an age where it’s imperative for restaurants to be conscious of their environmental and social impact. The aim of the Eat Out Woolworths Sustainability Award is to inspire readers and members of the food industry to reduce their impact, to create greater awareness about responsible sourcing and eating, and to reward a restaurant that has shown true commitment in this regard.”

Entrants will be judged on a strict set of criteria, which include the sourcing of meat, seafood, and fresh produce, the design of menus, the impact of the restaurant on its surrounding communities, treatment of staff, use of resources like water and electricity, and efforts to recycle.

The 2016 winner was The Table at De Meye in Stellenbosch, a country-style restaurant that was praised by the judges for its garden, ethically sourced meat, and support of local small producers. Some of the criteria for the 2017 Award have been slightly revised, following feedback from the judges and participating restaurants.

The judges for the 2017 Eat Out Woolworths Sustainability Award are Eat Out editor Abigail Donnelly, Pavitray Pillay of WWF-SASSI, Sonia Mountford of Eategrity, and Karen Welter of the Longtable Project. The winner will be announced at the annual Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards, which will be held at the end of the year.

To enter, restaurants are invited to complete the entry form, which lists the criteria against which they will be judged. All criteria need to have been met for six months or longer in order for a restaurant to qualify.

Interested parties can download the entry form from the Eat Out websiteor contact awards@eatout.co.za to request a form. The closing date for entries is Thursday, 31 August.

For more information, visit www.eatout.co.za.