WRAP (the Waste and Resources Action Project) estimates that the food industry generates 400,000 tonnes of needless food waste annually. Also, it’s estimated that the restaurant industry loses a stunning £682 million annually due to food waste.
If your restaurant can figure out how to cut down on food waste, you’ll not only benefit the environment but also save money over time.
Guidelines for Restaurant Food Waste Management
1. Avoid over-buying stock
Make careful you only buy ingredients you are certain your company will use. If your supplier is offering a fantastic price, it may be tempting to “stock up” or buy in bulk, but doing so may result in you having more food than you require.
2. Store food correctly
Maintain the proper temperatures in your refrigerators and freezers, place low-risk goods higher up on the shelves than high-risk ones, and keep the areas where you store food neat and orderly. It is crucial to store food properly to maintain its quality and stop the spread of dangerous microorganisms, both of which can quickly result in food waste.
3. Regularly practise stock rotation
First In, First Out is the rule to follow when storing and exhibiting food for sale. This makes sure that newer stock is constantly stacked behind older stock and that the latter is always consumed first, preventing it from going to waste.
4. regulating temperature
In order to avoid the formation of dangerous pathogenic microorganisms, proper temperature regulation is crucial for food safety. Also, since the food cannot decay, food waste is less likely. These steps include quickly cooling down hot food, reheating food to the proper core temperature (at least 70°C for 2 minutes), storing high-risk food in refrigerators (1-4°C) and freezers (below -18°C), as well as holding hot and cold items at safe temperatures (above 63°C and below 8°C, respectively). Get information on the temperature danger zone and a free food safety chart to hang in your kitchen by clicking here.
5. Use proper food labels
Having your inventory organised makes it much simpler to keep track of what you have and what needs to be used, reducing the accidental or deliberate disposal of unlabelled containers because you don’t know what’s inside.
6. Have an inventory on hand.
You should always be aware of the particular foods you have on hand in order to reduce waste. This entails keeping a conveniently accessible record of all the foods in your storage spaces, together with their use-by and best-before dates. This prevents food from being forgotten and going bad.
7. Pay attention to use-by dates
According to WRAP, food spoilage accounts about 21% of restaurant food waste. To prevent food from spoiling or becoming out of date before it can be consumed, it’s imperative that you have a dependable stock management and stock rotation system (FIFO) in place.
8. Inspect all deliveries against the order specification
It’s crucial to just take the goods you requested when a food delivery shows up at your restaurant to avoid wasting more food. Although these goods will simply degrade more and need to be thrown away later in the day, you should also reject anything that is supplied with evident damage or spoiling or that is provided at the wrong storage temperature.
9. Keep a close eye on portion control
Watch out for too large food portions and side dishes; quality is always much more preferable than quantity. According to a 2012 survey, chips or French fries are the food that people are most likely to leave behind after a meal, with over a quarter of diners doing so. Customers frequently view fries, veggies, and salads as supplementary parts of their main meals that they didn’t request, which is the main cause of this food waste.
10. Donate leftovers to a local charity
Establish a connection with a neighbourhood charity, like the Fareshare programme, and give any surplus food and ingredients to those in need. You might also establish a connection with a nearby food bank. This makes sure that your excess food doesn’t go to waste and instead finds a nice home.
11. Anticipate the demand with care
Consider carefully how much food you need to prepare in advance for your restaurant. Batch cooking can waste money and food even though it may save time.
12. Give customers more menu options
Do you need to have chips or salad with every one of your main meals, for instance? Increase the amount of options available to clients so they may customise their meals and avoid wasting any food. Perhaps clients would want to choose between fries, vegetables, or salad, or perhaps it is best to leave these options on the menu’s “side dishes” section for those who genuinely desire them.
13. Incorporate leftovers and use food efficiently
Try not to be hasty when tossing out leftover food because you might be able to use it elsewhere. For instance, day-old bread can be transformed into croutons or breadcrumbs, while vegetable peelings and animal bones can be utilised to produce stocks and soups.
14 . Compost food waste
Any leftover food should be placed in a compost bin rather than being dumped so that it can be used again. Basically any food, excluding meat, fish, and dairy products, falls under this category. This includes fruit and vegetable peelings, grains, old bread goods, coffee grounds, and tea bags.
15. Ask if customers want to take leftovers home
Why not provide your customers the choice of a “doggy bag” so they can take their leftover food home with them? According to WRAP, 34% of waste is food left on customers’ plates.
16. If you have a buffet or self-service counter, don’t provide trays
When it comes to self-service stations, individuals tend to be excessively enthusiastic, which results in food waste. People are less likely to pile on extra food or pick up side dishes that they can’t carry and can’t truly eat if they are just handed plates.
17. Train employees in how to reduce waste
All people who handle food are required by law to undergo training in food safety, but this training should also cover waste reduction techniques. Hence, it’s essential that staff members understand proper food preparation, storage, and cooking techniques as well as how to keep the workplace tidy and prevent cross-contamination. See our course catalogue if you want to learn more.