It’s thought that a total of 3,415,000 tonnes of waste is disposed of in the food sector every year, this is a lot of waste and a lot of lost revenue for businesses. There is no denying an issue with waste.
Not only is the issue costly for business owners, but it’s also having a negative impact on the environment. Co2 is produced during the production, delivery and eventual break down of the products ending up in landfills.
Sourcing & Storage
Reviewing how you source, store and purchase your products can help you reduce the food waste your restaurant is producing.
When placing your food orders, try to be mindful of bulk ordering products you may not be able to get through before they spoil. Offers from suppliers can be very tempting but could end up costing you in the long run! Purchasing products from responsible supply chains can make a difference to the life of the produce your buying. Choose suppliers who move and store products responsibly.
Storing produce incorrectly can lead to produce spoiling more quickly than anticipated, leading to completely unnecessary waste. You can combat this by checking your equipment (fridges and freezers) are running at the correct temperature, religiously labelling use by dates and practising proper stock rotation.
Plates & People
Having a think about what is served on plates to customers can reduce the amount of food wasted every single day. The first thing to review is portion size. If your plates are not coming back empty, you might be serving too much for your customers to eat. It could also be time to review how you present dishes. Are garnishes and salads coming back untouched? Could they be moved to an additional side option on the menu to reduce waste?
There are also opportunities to reduce food waste during daily prep. One way of doing so is to ensure all staff are fully trained and know how to avoid contamination and hygiene issues which could lead to throwing produce away. Spending time analysing busy periods and order patterns can stop you from preparing too much food for service and reduce the risk of food spoiling before it can be consumed.
Another small change you can make to your restaurant to reduce waste is to ask customers if they would like to take their leftovers home. It could be a simple solution, providing cardboard packaging and asking customers if they would like to take their uneaten portion home.
Reuse & Recycle
Many restaurant owners have fully committed to composting their food waste, some have started growing their own produce with the compost while others have donated theirs to community gardens. You could also consider donating edible food waste to charities like this.
There are so many ways you could reduce the food waste in your restaurant. Get inventive and enjoy finding a solution to this huge industry problem.