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Moe’s First Green Restaurant Launches the Brand’s Sustainability Initiative
November 16, 2009, 6:52 pm
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Moe’s First Green Restaurant Launches the Brand’s Sustainability Initiative

Moes Moe’s sustainable journey begins with the opening of its first green restaurant in Vermont
On October 15 Moe’s Southwest Grill celebrated the opening of the chain’s first green restaurant in Williston, VT. Two years ago Franchise Partners Sueayn and Philip Wood along with the Moe’s team set out to make the Williston Moe’s the first LEED certified restaurant in the chain and in the state of Vermont.

“It’s exciting to be the first Moe’s restaurant to attempt LEED certification,” explains Sueayn Wood. “Our hope is that some of the innovations that have been discovered through this process can be applied to other Moe’s restaurants throughout the country.”

On its way to earning Silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), Moe’s has installed LED lighting, energy efficient cooking equipment, and a technologically advanced air control system that they anticipate will reduce energy consumption by 22 percent.

In compliance with LEED standards, the building materials were locally sourced and the laminates, paint and adhesives are all low-emission to help enhance the air quality of the restaurant.

In addition, this new location features low flow sink aerators, low flow toilets and waterless urinals.

Finally, a unique regional feature is the Freeaire management system for the walk-in cooler that overrides the condensers and evaporators once the outside air reaches a temperature that is equal to or cooler than the desired walk-in temperature.

“This project has been a great learning experience for the Moe’s brand,” explains President Paul Damico. “It has challenged our operations, development and supply chain teams to find solutions that meet the USGBC’s high standards.”

In an effort to make responsible recommendations to Franchise Partners who wish to make their new and existing restaurants greener, Moe’s is tracking the usage and cost of Williston’s water, waste and energy to determine the impact of these environmentally-friendly improvements.

“At the same time, Moe’s is working on an energy efficiency strategy for the brand, testing a composting solution and making nutritional improvements,” says Damico. “Moe’s is committed to a more sustainable future and this marks the beginning of our journey.”

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Moe’s Opens its First Green Restaurant
November 13, 2009, 9:39 pm
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Moe’s Opens its First Green Restaurant

Moe’s sustainable journey begins with the opening of its first green restaurant in Vermont.

— Chain Leader, 11/13/2009 8:12:00 AM

PRESS RELEASE: ATLANTA, Nov. 12 /PRNewswire/ — On October 15 Moe’s Southwest Grill celebrated the opening of the chain’s first green restaurant in Williston, VT. Two years ago Franchise Partners Sueayn and Philip Wood along with the Moe’s team set out to make the Williston Moe’s the first LEED certified restaurant in the chain and in the state of Vermont.

“It’s exciting to be the first Moe’s restaurant to attempt LEED certification,” explains Sueayn Wood. “Our hope is that some of the innovations that have been discovered through this process can be applied to other Moe’s restaurants throughout the country.”

On its way to earning Silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), Moe’s has installed LED lighting, energy efficient cooking equipment, and a technologically advanced air control system that they anticipate will reduce energy consumption by 22 percent.

In compliance with LEED standards, the building materials were locally sourced and the laminates, paint and adhesives are all low-emission to help enhance the air quality of the restaurant.

In addition, this new location features low flow sink aerators, low flow toilets and waterless urinals.

Finally, a unique regional feature is the Freeaire management system for the walk-in cooler that overrides the condensers and evaporators once the outside air reaches a temperature that is equal to or cooler than the desired walk-in temperature.

“This project has been a great learning experience for the Moe’s brand,” explains President Paul Damico. “It has challenged our operations, development and supply chain teams to find solutions that meet the USGBC’s high standards.”

In an effort to make responsible recommendations to Franchise Partners who wish to make their new and existing restaurants greener, Moe’s is tracking the usage and cost of Williston’s water, waste and energy to determine the impact of these environmentally-friendly improvements.

“At the same time, Moe’s is working on an energy efficiency strategy for the brand, testing a composting solution and making nutritional improvements,” says Damico. “Moe’s is committed to a more sustainable future and this marks the beginning of our journey.”

About Moe’s Southwest Grill

Moe’s Southwest Grill is a fast-casual concept featuring fresh southwest fare in a fun and engaging atmosphere with over 400 locations nationwide. www.moes.com



Moe’s First Green Restaurant Launches the Brand’s Sustainability Initiative
November 12, 2009, 9:28 pm
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Contact: Lauren McGowen Barash

               404-705-4409

               lbarash@focusbrands.com

               Twitter: @lmcgowen

Moe’s First Green Restaurant Launches the Brand’s Sustainability Initiative

– Moe’s sustainable journey begins with the opening of its first green restaurant in Vermont –

ATLANTA, GA (November 12, 2009) – On October 15 Moe’s Southwest Grill celebrated the opening of the chain’s first green restaurant in Williston, VT. Two years ago Franchise Partners Sueayn and Philip Wood along with the Moe’s team set out to make the Williston Moe’s the first LEED certified restaurant in the chain and in the state of Vermont. 

“It’s exciting to be the first Moe’s restaurant to attempt LEED certification,” explains Sueayn Wood. “Our hope is that some of the innovations that have been discovered through this process can be applied to other Moe’s restaurants throughout the country.”

On its way to earning Silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), Moe’s has installed LED lighting, energy efficient cooking equipment, and a technologically advanced air control system that they anticipate will reduce energy consumption by 22 percent.

In compliance with LEED standards, the building materials were locally sourced and the laminates, paint and adhesives are all low-emission to help enhance the air quality of the restaurant.

In addition, this new location features low flow sink aerators, low flow toilets and waterless urinals.

Finally, a unique regional feature is the Freeaire management system for the walk-in cooler that overrides the condensers and evaporators once the outside air reaches a temperature that is equal to or cooler than the desired walk-in temperature.  

“This project has been a great learning experience for the Moe’s brand,” explains President Paul Damico. “It has challenged our operations, development and supply chain teams to find solutions that meet the USGBC’s high standards.”

In an effort to make responsible recommendations to Franchise Partners who wish to make their new and existing restaurants greener, Moe’s is tracking the usage and cost of Williston’s water, waste and energy to determine the impact of these environmentally-friendly improvements.

“At the same time, Moe’s is working on an energy efficiency strategy for the brand, testing a composting solution and making nutritional improvements,” says Damico. “Moe’s is committed to a more sustainable future and this marks the beginning of our journey.”

About Moe’s Southwest Grill

Moe’s Southwest Grill is a fast-casual concept featuring fresh southwest fare in a fun and engaging atmosphere with over 400 locations nationwide. www.moes.com



Pret A Manger to stop selling tuna sandwiches
June 9, 2009, 5:38 pm
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By Chris Irvine
Published: 2:05PM BST 07 Jun 2009

Pret A Manger to stop selling tuna sandwiches

Pret A Manger to stop selling tuna sandwiches Photo: PHILIP HOLLIS

Julian Metcalfe, the chain’s co-founder, has removed tuna and cucumber sandwiches, while he has also banned endangered bluefin tuna from sushi boxes sold at Pret and its sister outlet Itsu.

His ban comes after watching environmental documentary The End of the Line, which describes how modern fishing is destroying the oceans’ ecosystems.

After watching the film, which is having its general release on Monday in line with World Ocean Day, Mr Metcalfe contacted the film’s producers and said: “Much as a result of your film, we took tuna out of Pret sushi entirely. No tuna in the box at all… so more in the sea, where they belong.”

He continued: “We no longer sell the tuna and cucumber sandwich at Pret. We do an Alaskan salmon, which is sustainable. Both my companies will do everything they can to speed up the process by which we only buy sustainable fish.

“Itsu is just about to sign a deal which provides only pole and line [fish] and traces each delivery to each boat. Neither Itsu or Pret would touch bluefin tuna.”

Pret’s ban comes as celebrities such as Elle Macpherson and Stephen Fry condemned Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant Nobu, for serving bluefin tuna.

Following the release of the documentary, a number of celebrities including Jemima Khan, Sting and Charlize Theron wrote to the eatery, partly owned by Robert de Niro, and said they could no longer “dine with a clear conscience” as long as the restaurant continued to serve the fish, a species considered to be as endangered as the panda or tiger.

Celebrity chefs including Gordon Ramsay have also imposed bans on bluefin tuna at their restaurants.



California restaurants focus on suppliers
June 9, 2009, 1:01 pm
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By Tracey Taylor

Published: June 6 2009 02:21 | Last updated: June 6 2009 02:21

The cocktails have been ordered, the birthday greetings extended. Now comes the complicated part – deciding what to order from the menu at Pizzaiolo, an acclaimed restaurant in Oakland, California, known for its blistered wood-fired pizzas and regional Italian specialties. The conversation among friends gathered for a celebratory dinner centres not on appetite or taste but on the intricacies of provenance.

A dish of braised goat prompts the most debate – the meat is listed as being from Bill Niman’s ranch in Bolinas, 50 miles north of Oakland. Niman’s humanely raised Niman Ranch beef was the darling of the foodie set for years. But Niman left the company and has started afresh with a small herd of grass-fed goats, as well as a young wife nicknamed Porkchop. So what about the goat? No one doubts it will have lived a good and healthy life. But has anyone tasted the squid pizza with aioli whose main ingredient was sourced just down the coast in Monterey Bay? Another diner is leaning towards the Becker Lane pork with cannellini beans, artichokes, fennel and spring onion salsa because he’s heard the pork from this organic farm is unequalled.

Such menu dissection is not uncommon among northern Californian diners. They are choosy and, invariably, knowledgeable about where their food comes from – a result of interaction with producers at farmers’ markets and the fact that restaurants routinely highlight the provenance of food on their menus. They also live in a fertile part of the world with a climate conducive to producing quality ingredients.

The focus on suppliers is not new. Its local pioneer was Alice Waters, owner and executive chef of the legendary Chez Panisse restaurant and café in Berkeley, who, along with her peers and protégés, has been interpreting farm-to-table cuisine for years, providing shout-outs on her menus to all her favoured producers.

Chez Panisse was also one of the first restaurants to proclaim unadulterated fruit a more than suitable dessert option. It has been featuring a simple offering – whether a single peach from Frog Hollow orchard in Brentwood or a bowl of Sparkling Red nectarines – on its menus for several years. Last month’s café menu listed a bowl of Pixie tangerines from Churchill-Brenneis Orchard and Medjool dates priced at $8.

In January, Todd Kliman, the food and wine editor of Washingtonian magazine, pondered on National Public Radio’s Monkey See blog: “Do we really need to know the provenance of an egg?” And more to the point: “Shopping is not cooking.”

Russell Moore, chef-owner of Camino in Oakland, agrees that there is a way of writing menus that can make them seem like shopping lists. He and his partner Allison Hopelain don’t put producers on the menu. “There isn’t a bigger supporter of farmers than me,” he says. “But ultimately it’s about customers liking the food.” Moore only serves organic or biodynamic wines and doesn’t touch refined sugar but neither of these facts is conveyed to diners. “I don’t want to come off as holier than thou,” he says.

A backlash against showcasing suppliers doesn’t seem likely. For those who live in one of the gastronomic capitals of the world, there is profound satisfaction in knowing that the lamb chop you are about to tuck into was not only raised humanely but done so on local pasture land by a farmer whose name you recognise.

There is no doubt that producers have taken on minor celebrity status. Chefs on both US coasts are discovering goat meat from sources such as Niman’s BN Ranch and Marin Sun Farms. Chef-owner Daniel Patterson at Coi in San Francisco is serving it with “sprouted beans, seeds, nuts and wheatgrass”.

Thomas Keller, owner of French Laundry in Napa and Per Se in New York, likes to highlight the fact that he uses yogurt made by Soyoung Scanlan at her Andante Dairy in Santa Rosa for his yogurt sorbet with a cream scone, sour cherry and proprietor’s blend tea foam. And Boulevard, one of San Francisco’s most venerated restaurants, is proud to proclaim that the quinoa used in its quail stuffed with duck merguez is from Rancho Gordo, a producer whose heirloom beans have become so well-known they have spawned a blog and a book.

They may not appear on his menu, but Moore at Camino is happy to name-check several producers he holds in high regard, including Annabelle at La Tercera, “whose chicory and shelling beans are superb”. Just don’t go to Camino any day soon expecting to eat chicken. If Soul Food Farm isn’t sending Moore its “spectacular” fowls, they’re off the menu. “We haven’t served chicken since November,” he says.



June 8, 2009, 8:05 pm
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She’s a green bean-counter; Sustainability for the food service industry.; Woman helps restaurants recycle waste, add local items.

The story of how Holly Elmore became a champion of sustainable food service practices is filled with plot twists and turns. Most are detailed on her eclectic resume, except for the light bulb moment when her seemingly illogical career decisions crystallized into the perfect opportunity.

It came during a conversation with Patrick Gebrayel, executive chef of Dunwoody Country Club. “I loved food. I always tried to be conscious. There was a flame inside of me, and he lit it,” Elmore said.

That flame was her desire to move the local food service industry toward more sustainable and green practices in both food preparation and disposal. She began with an informal meeting attended by 30 local chefs and Ron Wolf, CEO of the Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA). When a second meeting drew 90 chefs and representatives from several Atlanta institutions, Elmore knew the time was right.

The Green Food Service Alliance was born.

Elmore is founder and executive director of the organization, which currently operates as a division of the nonprofit GRA, provider of some financial assistance and political muscle. Initially, Elmore simply hoped to encourage more restaurants to use locally produced foods by linking chefs with area farms and educating them on the benefits of the slow food movement. But in just a year, the Green Food Service Alliance has gained national attention and support from the Environmental Protection Agency for creating a program to reduce and recycle waste from food service providers.

“On the sustainability side, restaurants have been trying for years to get more local foods onto their menus. The barrier was always the sense that it had to take on incremental cost,” Wolf said. “Holly was instrumental in breaking down some of those [barriers] and figuring out how to get things done.”

Wolf was impressed with Elmore’s passion and commitment. “Her willingness to educate herself was just remarkable. She has immersed herself in understanding everything from composting to recycling.”

Still, sustainability is a fast-growing movement, even for Elmore, who 28 years ago planned to make Atlanta a four-year stop on the way to somewhere else. She had hopes of becoming a CFO but quickly learned what the late ’80s glass ceiling was all about. So she did what many bean counters would never do — opened a catering company even though she had never so much as boiled an egg. She gained major corporate clients and later opened two event facilities but after 15 years, she moved on.

“I knew I wasn’t going to get a job. I wanted to create a lifestyle that was fluid and flexible,” Elmore said. She embarked on a series of experiences including stints as sales and marketing director for Wine South and advertising director for Restaurant Forum, the GRA’s official magazine, which all prepared her for her current role.

Elmore, as the sole staffer of Green Food Service Alliance, is as likely to give presentations to food service partners about energy-efficient appliances or nontoxic cleaning supplies as she is to organize chef tours to local farms such as a recent trip to Sweet Grass Dairy in Thomaston where 20 Atlanta chefs spent the day making cheese, observing farm operations and enjoying lunch.

While Elmore believes chefs are on the front line in educating the public on sustainable food, she also recognizes the need to manage things from the other side. She drafted a proposal for a waste reduction and recycling program, lobbied a friend to create a brochure and received funding from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Within months, downtown Atlanta became the first Zero Waste Zone in the Southeast with 13 participants, including the Georgia World Congress Center and the Georgia Dome, the Westin and Hyatt hotels, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and Ted’s Montana Grill. Member organizations have three months to comply with standards such as collecting spent grease to be used in the local production of biofuel, donating excess food to feed the hungry, using organic waste for composting and recycling common materials.

Participation enabled Ecco restaurant to discontinue use of Dumpsters. Part of Fifth Group Restaurants, Ecco in Midtown was sending three 8-yard Dumpsters of trash to the landfill each week, said partner Steve Simon. Seven months ago they began a complete recycling program including glass, paper, plastic and metal and three months ago they began composting. Now the restaurant generates just a few bags of trash each week. “It was shocking for us,” said Simon, who serves on the Alliance board. “The best part of it for us is it hasn’t had to come at a financial expense.”

Larger operations such as GWCC found they were able to better direct their green efforts. “If green is a mountain, there are a lot of different paths to get up the mountain and there are efforts going on everywhere,” said Kevin Duvall, assistant general manager of the GWCC. “[GFA] brings a knowledge base to the equation that says, ‘It’s OK, you can go this way, but have you thought about this way?’ ” GWCC invested in a baler to make it easier to recycle corrugated board and the company began composting.

Elmore’s strategy is to appeal to economic sense as well as a sense of responsibility. She encourages companies to get involved because they want to and because, she believes, years from now everyone will wonder why they are not doing it anyway.

For now, Elmore says her goal is to see Green Food Service Alliance through the entrepreneurial phase. But down the line she envisions it as a national resource with case studies and prototype programs showing how it’s done.

The era of sustainability, she says, is here to stay — and so is she, until the next venture calls.



Disparities in the Green Restaurant Movement
June 8, 2009, 7:19 pm
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Greenopia, an online eco-company, awarded 11 of 23 chains examined zero out of four leaves. By Robin Hilmantel

Quick-serves might be faring better than most when it comes to recession-time profits, but they’re still just middle-of-the-road when it comes to sustainability, according to Greenopia, an online directory of eco-friendly businesses.

“It’s really hit or miss,” says Doug Mazeffa, research director for Greenopia. “Some of them, like Pizza Fusion, EVOS, and Le Pain Quotidien, they’re really good—to the point where they excel for a national company of any industry. … On the flip side, there are some companies who didn’t really do much of anything. It’s kind of frustrating because it’s not super consistent.”

Greenopia rates fast-food chains based on a four-leaf system that looks at sustainability reports, green building design, supply chain, recycling, and stock.

The result: While McDonald’s and Subway earned one leaf each for taking steps toward sustainability, several other big names in the industry, such Burger King, Taco Bell, Arby’s, and KFC, all earned zero leaves. Smaller chains, such as Pizza Fusion, EVOS, and Burgerville—each with 75 units or fewer, earned ratings of three or four stars.

Mazeffa says high-scoring brands impressed Greenopia with initiatives such as Pizza Fusion’s organic cotton uniforms or EVOS’ use of natural building materials and energy-efficient fixtures in its stores.

“It’s amazing the things they do,” Mazeffa says. “On the flip side, there are some companies who didn’t really do much of anything.” One that surprised Mazeffa was Wendy’s.

Even with more relaxed criteria than local restaurants face, Wendy’s received zero leaves (it was one of 11 restaurants on the list of 23 to do so).

“Wendy’s is typically considered one of the more healthier brands, and we really expected to see some sort of dedicated initiative based around the fact that they’re trying to promote the wholesomeness, the healthiness of their beef and their salads,” Mazeffa says. “Their reporting was nonexistent, and we couldn’t really find anything they were doing.”

Wendy’s declined to comment on the subject.

Yet, Mazeffa is willing to cut brands such as Wendy’s a bit of slack. “[Large chains] have a much more difficult supply chain to work with than a local restaurant that can go to the farmer’s market and get everything they need,” he says.

But EVOS’ co-founder, Dino Lambridis, thinks another factor beyond size is responsible for Greenopia naming EVOS the greenest burger chain.

“Even though EVOS serves fast-food with burgers, fries, and shakes, we do fall into the category of fast-casual,” Lambridis says. He thinks that the higher price point of fast-casual chains makes it easier for them to accommodate what can sometimes be the added expense of making eco-friendly decisions.

One of the detriments to green products is price and then perceived lower quality for certain things.”

“One of the detriments to green products is price and then perceived lower quality for certain things,” Mazeffa says. “Those kind of fast-casuals, since they are significantly more expensive, can build that in to some extent.”

Accordingly, Chipotle earned two leaves and Panera earned one on Greenopia’s rating system.

For chains that have yet to earn their first leaf, Mazeffa points toward a sustainability report as a good first step for determining what might be the smartest—and most cost-effective—move for a company.

“The first step’s always the hardest,” Mazeffa says. “There’s really no magic bullet.”

While Greenopia has no set plans to expand its list of fast-food brand ratings beyond 23, Mazeffa would like to revisit the list some time soon.

“The food industry in general has changed so much in the last five years,” he says. “The fact that [the green movement] is trickling into fast-food and fast-casual restaurants is really impressive. … Based off the kind of success and feedback we’ve gotten [on the list], we do want to extend it.”

A full list of Greenopia’s fast-food chain ratings can be found here.

Greenopia, an online eco-company, awarded 11 of 23 chains examined zero out of four leaves.

Greenopia logo

Quick-serves might be faring better than most when it comes to recession-time profits, but they’re still just middle-of-the-road when it comes to sustainability, according to Greenopia, an online directory of eco-friendly businesses.

“It’s really hit or miss,” says Doug Mazeffa, research director for Greenopia. “Some of them, like Pizza Fusion, EVOS, and Le Pain Quotidien, they’re really good—to the point where they excel for a national company of any industry. … On the flip side, there are some companies who didn’t really do much of anything. It’s kind of frustrating because it’s not super consistent.”

Greenopia rates fast-food chains based on a four-leaf system that looks at sustainability reports, green building design, supply chain, recycling, and stock.

The result: While McDonald’s and Subway earned one leaf each for taking steps toward sustainability, several other big names in the industry, such Burger King, Taco Bell, Arby’s, and KFC, all earned zero leaves. Smaller chains, such as Pizza Fusion, EVOS, and Burgerville—each with 75 units or fewer, earned ratings of three or four stars.

Mazeffa says high-scoring brands impressed Greenopia with initiatives such as Pizza Fusion’s organic cotton uniforms or EVOS’ use of natural building materials and energy-efficient fixtures in its stores.

“It’s amazing the things they do,” Mazeffa says. “On the flip side, there are some companies who didn’t really do much of anything.” One that surprised Mazeffa was Wendy’s.

Even with more relaxed criteria than local restaurants face, Wendy’s received zero leaves (it was one of 11 restaurants on the list of 23 to do so).

“Wendy’s is typically considered one of the more healthier brands, and we really expected to see some sort of dedicated initiative based around the fact that they’re trying to promote the wholesomeness, the healthiness of their beef and their salads,” Mazeffa says. “Their reporting was nonexistent, and we couldn’t really find anything they were doing.”

Wendy’s declined to comment on the subject.

Yet, Mazeffa is willing to cut brands such as Wendy’s a bit of slack. “[Large chains] have a much more difficult supply chain to work with than a local restaurant that can go to the farmer’s market and get everything they need,” he says.

But EVOS’ co-founder, Dino Lambridis, thinks another factor beyond size is responsible for Greenopia naming EVOS the greenest burger chain.

“Even though EVOS serves fast-food with burgers, fries, and shakes, we do fall into the category of fast-casual,” Lambridis says. He thinks that the higher price point of fast-casual chains makes it easier for them to accommodate what can sometimes be the added expense of making eco-friendly decisions.

One of the detriments to green products is price and then perceived lower quality for certain things.”

“One of the detriments to green products is price and then perceived lower quality for certain things,” Mazeffa says. “Those kind of fast-casuals, since they are significantly more expensive, can build that in to some extent.”

Accordingly, Chipotle earned two leaves and Panera earned one on Greenopia’s rating system.

For chains that have yet to earn their first leaf, Mazeffa points toward a sustainability report as a good first step for determining what might be the smartest—and most cost-effective—move for a company.

“The first step’s always the hardest,” Mazeffa says. “There’s really no magic bullet.”

While Greenopia has no set plans to expand its list of fast-food brand ratings beyond 23, Mazeffa would like to revisit the list some time soon.

“The food industry in general has changed so much in the last five years,” he says. “The fact that [the green movement] is trickling into fast-food and fast-casual restaurants is really impressive. … Based off the kind of success and feedback we’ve gotten [on the list], we do want to extend it.”

A full list of Greenopia’s fast-food chain ratings can be found here.