How to throw away less, profit more, and help the planet
Did you know that the hospitality industry wastes an estimated £2.5 billion in food waste every year?
Not only is food waste bad for the planet, it’s bad for your pocket too.
For every meal you throw in the bin, you’re also throwing away the costs of that food as well as the staffing costs of the chefs who made it.
Reducing food waste is one of the easiest ways to cut back on unnecessary costs for your business.
If food waste were a country, it would be the third-highest emitter of greenhouse gases. The environmental case for limiting your food waste is convincing, but there’s more than just a moral imperative for reducing your carbon footprint.
Highlighting your ecological credentials is a great way to draw in more customers, as nowadays, consumers are more concerned than ever with businesses’ environmental impact.
Forbes encourages waste reduction policies as one of the vital measurable outcomes that businesses should consider implementing in order to attract consumers who are concerned about sustainability.
If you’re unsure where to start with reducing your restaurant’s food waste, the following tips will help you along your journey.
Audit your food waste
The first step in combatting your restaurant’s food waste is determining which items you’re throwing away most frequently. Document the food items that you and your team regularly throw in the bin, and you’ll likely see a pattern emerge.
If every salad from customers’ plates ends up in the rubbish, this may be an item you could consider removing from orders. If you’d like to keep it as part of the dish, consider reducing the portion size.
If there’s a particular food item that expires every time before it even reaches customers’ plates, check if you’re storing this food correctly and in the optimum conditions to avoid bacteria accumulation.
Alternatively, consider working with a different supplier who can guarantee the provision of food that stays fresher for longer.
Serve up smaller portion sizes
40% of food waste in the hospitality industry is made up of carbohydrates. How many times have your staff brought a plate back to the kitchen, only to find it’s piled to the brim with chips that your customers haven’t managed to finish?
A straightforward way to decrease your portion sizes is to cut down on the size of the side dishes, such as chips and salad.
You can do this without dramatically reducing your menu prices, meaning more money in your pocket is saved simply by putting fewer potatoes on plates.
Store your food properly
A significant amount of food wasted in hospitality settings is due to the food going off quicker than it should. To avoid this occurring, ensure your fridge and freezer are running at the correct temperatures, and store low-risk foods on higher shelves in your fridge.
Label all perishable items properly, with the date received and the expiration date written clearly on the container.
It can be tempting to bulk buy your stock when suppliers are running a sale, as it seems financially savvy to stock up on food items at a cheaper price.
In reality, if half of the food expires before you can get it out to customers, this is a waste of money rather than a saving. Make sure you only buy as much as you intend to use to avoid food being thrown in the bin simply because you’ve ordered too much.
Connect with a charity
By linking up with a charity that can utilise donated leftovers, you’re supporting the local community as well as the planet.
Many charities and food banks rely on donations of unwanted food to keep providing their services, so make sure your leftover food goes to a good home by donating it to one of these schemes.
Use every part of the food
More often than not, the parts of a food product that you’re about to throw away can actually be used in your dishes. Carrot top soup, anyone?
Consider having a flexible menu that changes based on your stock and how you can utilise it. This way, you can make the most of every part of the food you’re offering. Even food that is past its freshest can be used to make delicious dishes.
Sad-looking spinach can be blitzed into a tasty pesto, and overripe bananas make the perfect ingredient for banana bread.
Tackling food waste is often low down the priority list for restaurant owners, but failing to put food waste reduction at the forefront of your agenda can be detrimental to your business.
Improve your environmental credentials and save £7 for every £1 you put into food waste reduction by implementing a food waste reduction strategy today.