Ways to Reduce Food Waste in Restaurants
Different Types of Restaurant Food Waste
Understanding the two categories of food waste you’ll come across will help you determine how much food is wasted in restaurants.
Pre-consumer waste: All of the products that are wasted in your restaurant before it even reach your customers are referred to as pre-consumer waste. Pre-consumer waste might occur, for instance, if your new line cook overcooks a steak on the grill so badly that it cannot be restored. It accounts for 6–12% of food waste in restaurants.
Post-Consumer Waste: By far the largest form of food waste, this comprises any food that is discarded after it is delivered to your customers. In your restaurant, customers regularly leave 19% of their food unfinished, and of those leftovers, more than half are left on the table.
You can figure out exactly what is being thrown out and why by calculating how much of your food waste fits into these two categories. Additionally, by knowing more about your pre- and post-consumer trash, you can choose the best restaurant waste management strategies for your establishment, which we’ll go over below.
Ways to reduce food waste in restaurants
There are other factors at play in the restaurant sector as well that contribute to reducing food waste. When buying ingredients, waste can be minimized via thoughtful planning and preparation. To do this, you must examine your shopping patterns as well as pertinent important information, such as values from the previous year or projections for the weather. Which goods do you purchase most frequently, and from which vendors? Which foods and drinks do your guests currently order the most frequently? This examination is supported by digital tools that provide you with a rapid summary.
Food Waste Audit
As was already discussed, in order to reduce waste in restaurants, you must first identify the source of your waste. Making a food waste tracker may be as simple as a sheet of paper on a hard copy. It allows you to maintain a record of all of your front- and back-of-house food waste during a given period, such as an entire week.
Include the item’s weight or quantity, the manner food was wasted, the date, the time, and the name of the staff member who reported it.
The information on your food waste tracker can then be compared with data from your POS system’s inventory reports or restaurant back office software to help you identify the source of your food waste, provided you have been adhering to best practices for restaurant inventory management.
Adopt the FIFO method
Use the First-In, First-Out method in restaurants to lower the quantity of food waste. The oldest commodities in your kitchen will be used first thanks to the organization and rotation of your inventory in a FIFO-compliant kitchen, which reduces food waste as a result of spoilage.
Imagine you got two shipments of hamburger buns: one on Monday and one on Wednesday. The hamburger rolls that were delivered on Monday will be used first, in accordance with the FIFO system.
The FIFO approach ensures that you are not wasting good product and tossing out unused food because of your order of consumption. It may take a bit longer for shipments to unload because older stock is moved to the front of the shelves and new stock is placed behind it. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to abide by food safety regulations and ensure that the older food you’re using first is appropriate for human eating.
Store Food Properly
Ensure that all food items are stored at the ideal temperature, in suitable containers, and in the proper storage spaces.
Label every perishable item with the date it was purchased, the date it should be discarded, and the quantity of servings it contains. To make it simpler for employees to understand what sort of item is in each container, some kitchen staff will mark containers using a colour-coded system.
Have a plan for excess food
Since it takes more art than science to predict consumer demand, restaurant kitchens frequently find themselves with surplus ingredients. You might throw away those surplus ingredients if you don’t have a plan for them. How wasteful! Why not serve today’s lunch special as leftover chicken parmesan from yesterday? Use it if it hasn’t passed its “use by” date.
Donating Surplus Food
You can give extra food to charitable organizations, hunger relief agencies, or food donors who will distribute it to those in need. If any food is left over after that, it can be composted or used as animal feed.
Another choice is to get in touch with nearby organizations that accept regular donations. The restaurant might be able to claim a tax deduction for these contributions.