Green Practices in Restaurants
: an Exploration of the Egyptian Context Through a Stakeholder Approach

  • Nada Elabd

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Hospitality businesses are constantly scrutinized and questioned for their sustainability efforts due to the harm resulting from their operations i.e., products and services. Compared with the lodging sector, restaurants lag behind in adopting environmental measures, with the purpose of protecting and conserving the environment. Therefore, the aim of this research is to explore the barriers restaurants face while implementing green criteria and how the relevant stakeholder groups can help such businesses in becoming more environmental-friendly. Using stakeholder theory, with reference to stakeholder salience, this study highlights the influence of stakeholders on restaurants’ realization of their environmental goals. Egypt, categorized by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as a developing country, has started to take some steps towards environmental sustainability, including Egypt Vision 2030 and hosting of COP27 in 2022. The hospitality and tourism sector, which contributes around 15% to GDP, prioritizes hotels in terms of green adoption with the establishment of the Green Star Hotel Program, where 29% of hotels are considered green (El Demerdash, 2019). On the contrary, restaurants, around 40,600 establishments, are neglected by the industry and therefore lack the required environmental frameworks to become greener businesses.

In order to understand the challenges restaurants face and how stakeholders, through certain roles, can impact and presumably aid restaurants to resolve such issues, an exploratory qualitative approach is used. A multi-case study of the Egyptian hospitality context was undertaken in this thesis, where data was gathered in 2 stages. Initially, in-depth semi-structured interviews were carried out with 20 local restaurants, followed by a diverse focus-group discussion constituting all the identified, relevant stakeholder groups. Data from both stages were analyzed using thematic analysis.

Using interpretation and analysis, findings indicate several obstacles hindering restaurateurs in Egypt from being able to implement green practices. Such factors include the nonexistent laws and pro-environmental infrastructure, poor awareness of environmental protection, expensive green materials and most importantly the difficulty in getting employees to change their habits and mentality. Findings also indicate that stakeholder salience attributes in the network of stakeholders were found to determine the impact of each stakeholder group in terms of adopting green activities. This study postulates that each stakeholder necessitates participation in the value creation process (going green), where each of their roles or contribution is compared with the benefit they receive. Furthermore, stakeholders, for example such as governments, consumers, employees, suppliers, communities or NGOs, must be held accountable for their role in the network and can be further motivated to fulfill this role through stakeholder leadership. Leadership is a common task that should be exercised by all stakeholders towards each other in the network. If any of these groups are unable to fulfill their duty in the network, they can be replaced or removed.
Date of Award8 Sep 2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorAdam Dennett (Main Supervisor)

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