Running a food service operation certainly always keeps you on your toes, that’s for sure. You need to have the ultimate organisational skills because you are constantly keeping many plates spinning – and that’s not just in the literal sense, either.
Running a successful restaurant involves many things, such as ordering stock and ingredients in a timely manner, managing employees, and balancing the books to ensure a profit is being made.
Did you know that the food sector produces 400,000 tonnes of avoidable food waste each year, according to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP). This costs the restaurant sector a whopping £682 million each year.
Studies have revealed that the cost of one million tonnes of wasted food from the UK’s food and hospitality sector increased to reach £2.5bn – this entailed 45% from preparation, 34% from a consumer’s plate and 21% from food simply passing its sell-by date.
Getting to grips with good food waste management should be near the top of your priority list, if not toppling it.
Besides, with only 12% of wasted food being recycled, it is apparent that in order to boost a restaurants sustainability, its owner needs to be attuned to the common problems so that they can avoid and overcome them.
The team at Plastic Box Warehouse have put together a list of 7 fantastic tips to help restaurants get to work at tackling the food waste problem, which would in turn help make a quick impact on the hospitality industry.
Only Purchase What You Need – Do Not Over Buy
Yes, this first one should go without saying. But, only purchasing ingredients that are absolutely necessary, rather than buying in bulk, will mean that you avoid throwing away huge amounts of food that go unused. It does require a little more effort, but it will save you a hell of a lot in the long run!
Label and date every new item the moment it reaches the kitchen. This will also mean that you save time and deliver a better, faster service too, as your staff will know exactly where everything is.
When it comes to storing items, ensure that your freezers and fridges are all working exactly how they should be. A quick tip – keep all low risk foods on the higher shelves.
If you are to preserve your stock for as long as possible, you need to ace this point as storing food in the right conditions may end up being the difference between your restaurant business thriving and it being shut down!
Investing in some decent storage solutions is also a crucial step to take in your food waste management strategy. Using heavy duty tote boxes will help keep your food fresher for longer and because they are suitable for use with direct contact with food, they are often the go-to choice for caterers.
Cull Dishes from The Menu That Aren’t Popular
Is a particular dish not selling like it once used to? Are you constantly scrapping the same ingredients from one meal because it isn’t all the rage as you’d want it to be? Rework your menu so that you can cull the less popular items and try your best to mix and match the same ingredients for many of the dishes on offer.
Master the Art of Stock Rotation
When it comes to using up the available produce, it’s essential to stay on top of your game. Knowing which products to use first, to avoid having food go off, will mean your food waste percentage steadily decreases.
The general rule to abide by is FIFO – “first in, first out.” You can’t go wrong with this mentality, so do your best to stick to it and make sure that your staff are doing the same.
Talk About Food Wastage with Your Team
Of course, trying to reduce the amount of food waste your restaurant produces is a good idea, but you need to ensure that the rest of your team of employees are on the same page too.
Now, by law, all food handlers you employ must be properly trained in food safety but why not use this as an opportunity to train them on how to reduce food waste too? According to WRAP, 45% of all food waste is the result of bad food prep.
Turn Leftovers into Takeaways
Consumers are constantly leaving behind half-finished meals on their plates. Hey, you can’t blame them. When there are so many delicious starters and scrumptious desserts on offer, it makes it difficult to finish any one course, right?
Well, now there shouldn’t be a need to, because most places offer the option of taking home a doggy bag. Keep your customers happy by doing the same and you’ll be seeing a huge reduction in the amount of food waste left over in your restaurant.
Also, go the extra mile and always opt for takeaway bags that are biodegradable. Save the planet and your restaurants wallet simultaneously!
Get Smart with Your Wastage
One of the best ways to reduce the amount of food wastage your restaurant is producing is by using it for something else. Incorporating leftovers (from the prep process, not once customers have finished their meals, of course) will help you offer a little extra to your customers.
Perhaps you can whip up a tasty soup with the vegetable peelings that are headed to the bin. If you have any animal bones left from preparing other meals, you can use them to make stocks!
So, there we have it our top tips to help you run a sustainable, cost effective restaurant. For more information, get in touch with us today!