19 Jun Tips To Reduce Food Waste In Your Restaurant
Long hours, high staff turnover, penalty rates and profit margins within the hospitality industry are undeniably tight. While there are countless areas that foodservice operators can look to improve their margins, one of the more unlikely places to start is in fact the bin. A recent study from Melbourne university RMIT found that as much as 40% of food purchased for cafe and restaurant kitchens ends up in the bin. The data also found that food waste can represent as much as 317g per cover in some cases – that’s a lot of food and that’s a lot money going in the bin
One of the most common sense places to start when it comes to reducing food waste is to review your portion sizes. While it might be the trendy of some restaurants to mass mountains of food onto a plate, it’s worth determining if large portions are actually favoured by your customers. Take note of how much food is left on the plate and don’t be afraid to get direct feedback from your consumers
Cooking magazines, cooking shows and websites may be yelling the benefits of quinoa and matcha from the roof tops, you might want to think tactically before adding these ‘superfoods’ to your menu. Most of these ingredients tend to come with bulky price tags and may not be all that popular with your clientele and sometimes resulting in wasted stock, which in turn means wasted money.
Keep on top of use-by dates by rotating all your stock, and also make sure that all fresh produce and shelf stable ingredients are stored and rotated correctly. Inspect all food orders upon arrival. Thoroughly examine all food orders that you receive by inspecting items randomly, and not just those on the top. If the food is spoiled or well on its way, do not accept the order. Proper storage and stock management can go a long way in terms of reducing your food wastage.
Ensure that your cool room and freezer are maintaining proper temperatures: If your cool room or freezer didn’t come standard with a refrigerator/freezer thermometer, be sure to purchase one as soon as possible so that you can regularly monitor your equipment’s performance.
Good temperature control is essential for food safety as it prevents the growth of harmful pathogenic bacteria. It also means that food waste is less likely as the food is unable to spoil. This includes cooling hot food quickly, reheating food to the correct core temperature, storing high risk food in fridges (1-4°C) and freezers (below -18°C), plus hot/cold holding at safe temperatures.
Donate to a local charity.
Set up a link with a local charity eg Foodbank and donate any leftover meals and ingredients to people who desperately need them. This ensures that your leftover food goes to a good home, rather than to waste.