The Calgary Journal
The Calgary Journal

Calgary restaurants move to filter their own water for better taste, and to manage their ecological footprint

qwater web-for-devicesSome Calgary restaurants are now filtering their own water in an effort to both profit from a desire for better tasting water and to reduce the ecological footprint of bottled water.

Charging $1.50 for one litre of water, Notable in Calgary gives all revenue earned from their filtered water to charities such as the Ronald McDonald House and Women's Education Trust in Somalia, says Jessica Collinson, a manager at Notable.

Despite these social initiative impacts, some patrons still show some resistance to paying the extra few dollars for filtered water in comparison to free tap water, she notes.

"It's up to the servers to educate their guests about the philosophy behind the water," says Collinson. "Restaurants need to stand behind sustainability and be environmentally responsible."

Hotel Arts also shares the same environmental priorities.

Although the hotel restaurants such as Yellow Door Bistro and Raw Bar do not charge their patrons for on-site filtered water, Katie Mayer, the marketing manager for Hotel Arts sees savings for both sides of the purchase.

Hotel Arts uses the Vivreau water filtration system.

"It does save us some money because there's no bottles," says Mayer. "It's about your commitment to the sustainability to the environment and saving money is a bonus."

Hotel Arts uses Vivreau Advanced Water Systems. Vice president of marketing, Shannon Kelly, states that bottling water on site is still very new to Canada.

"With the realization that shipping traditional bottled water around the planet is absolutely ridiculous and harmful to the environment, patrons become quite passionate about not wanting traditional bottled water," says Kelly in an email interview.qwater articleBy reusing the glass bottles, restaurants are able to eliminate the need to purchase pre-packaged water, and reduce their carbon footprint.

Photo courtesy of Q-water filtration

With patrons turning their backs on tap and pre-packaged water, making the transition is becoming easier when considering the environmental aspect of sustainable water.

The filtration trend is trickling its way in to the hospitality industry, keeping Calgarians proud of their water and environmental consciousness.

"When patrons are out dining they want value in a responsible way," says Kelly.

While some restaurants, like Rouge restaurant, can charge a fee of up to $3.50 for unlimited sparkling water, other establishments, such as Añejo Restaurant and Loungeburger, choose not to charge for their on-site filtered water.

In an interview conducted by Restaurant Central, Paula Tekela, the founder of Q-water filtration system, unpacks the cost benefits of restaurants switching from bottled to filtered water.

"If a restaurant is going through five cases of water a week or more then they will benefit financially with the Q-water system. For example, 10 cases a week at $1 per bottle means an operator is spending $480 a month. To rent Q it's $199 month, and factoring in an average of two filter changes per year, the costs are $270 a month. Plus restaurateurs don't have concerns that their staff is guzzling bottled water on their dime."

By not contributing to waste with purchases of plastic and glass bottled water, Peter Izzo, a service and sales representative for Q-water, said in a telephone interview that patrons end up saving money compared to purchasing bottled water.

"People are actually getting more frustrated without a filtration system in place — you pay $30 for bottled water and $25 for a bottle of wine," says Izzo.

According to Q-Water's website, the filtration methods remove impurities such as fluorine, silt and other particles that can be missed when drinking regular tap water.

Q-water also supplies its restaurants with reusable glass decanters.

By reusing the glass bottles, restaurants are able to eliminate the need to purchase pre-packaged water, and reduce their carbon footprint. However, that's not to say the price of filtered water is reduced as well.

Kellie Main, a Calgary restaurant goer and hostess at Sky360 Restaurant, says the price to pay for filtered water is worth it if you're looking for taste.

"I pay up $10 for a new water filter at home, so the $1.50 you usually pay at a restaurant shouldn't even be a second thought," says Main.