Don’t waste food! No, it’s not your grandmother screaming at the top of her voice. Getting a full meal three times a day is a dream for many. The next time you are about to throw food away, remember the 842 million people in the world who go to sleep hungry. We must also look at food wastage from the business point of view. Efficiently running a food business is not limited to the preparation of good food, the attraction of customers, and making of profits. Food wastage is an important yet neglected aspect of the business. Properly attending to food wastage can considerably boost the profits of a restaurant. Wasting food is akin to letting money go down the drain.
How does food wastage happen in restaurants?
Overproduction of food and its subsequent wastage is only too common in restaurants. While the food kept for display to attract customers is inevitably wasted, wastage also happens during trimming and other stages of preparation. Restaurant waste falls into two categories: pre-consumer and post-consumer waste. Pre-consumer waste is produced in the kitchen before the food is served, whereas post-consumer waste is produced after the food is served to customers. A study by WRAP revealed that, globally, the food sector produces 40,000 tons of waste every year, which can and should be avoided.
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How To Decrease Wastage in Your Food Business: Best Practices for Restaurants
We have put together the measures a food business can implement to effectively cut down on food wastage.
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Create a waste-management team
It requires a team to manage and reduce waste products in a restaurant. Build a waste-management team and educate each member on the importance of waste management and the steps to be followed to reduce food wastage. Ideally, people who handle food-related waste, as the cleaning staff, should be a part of the team, because they will have lots of insights into how wastage happens every day.
Categorize the waste and develop actions for each stage
As the first step in waste management, identify the types of wastage happening in the pre-consumer and post-consumer stages. Find out the reasons behind the wastage and schedule a meeting with the waste-management team to brainstorm on the measures that can be taken to prevent it. 1For instance, you can reduce the pre-consumer waste by developing better storage facilities and the post-consumer waste by serving only the required quantities to customers.
Monitor the inventory
Buy only what is required. It’s quite common for restaurants to buy ingredients in bulk at wholesale prices and stock them up. A large part of these stocks gets spoiled. Therefore, it is important to manage stocks wisely. Do a periodic inspection of your stocks, and try to use the items that are nearing expiry or have a low shelf life as early as you can. Label items while storing them in the refrigerator. This will help you use them at the correct time.
Ensure proper storage of food
Food should be categorized and stored properly. Storage units like freezers should be inspected to ensure that they run at the optimal temperature so that the food stays fresh for long. Keep the items prone to decay near the cold zone at the top.
Update the menu frequently
As you begin to implement waste-management strategies, you will get a clearer idea of the menu items contributing to maximum wastage. Rearrange the menu by reducing the number of such items or replacing them with other fast-moving items. This will drastically reduce post-consumer waste.
Recycling is the best practice
While recycling food is a great way to reduce the waste in restaurants, it is a double-edged sword because it raises concerns about quality and hygiene. Hence, all precautionary measures should be taken to ensure that the food prepared through recycling meets the quality guidelines of the industry.
This is an environmentally-friendly way of managing food-related waste. When you compost leftovers that cannot be recycled, you return them to nature in the form of manure while also reducing garbage.
Feed the hungry
Donate the leftovers to a charity. What cannot be consumed in the restaurant can be used to feed others.
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Reducing food wastage can lead to better profits for a business. If implemented strictly, these measures can reduce the wastage happening in food businesses and thus save a lot of money. Even though wastage cannot be eliminated completely, such steps will cut it down to a large extent. The food business is highly competitive, and any measure that reduces costs and increases profit margins should be welcomed. These steps also create a positive impression in the minds of customers and boost goodwill.