Research project on food waste in business
Top Tips for Reducing Food Waste in Food Service Businesses
If food is part of your business, the likelihood is food waste is too. Although some level of food waste is almost inevitable, there are plenty of steps you can take to keep it to a minimum.
As part of this research, we have been speaking to restaurateurs and chefs around the country to find out what they do to reduce food waste. Here are some of the top tips we’ve picked up.
- Track and analyse the waste in your business. To know how to best reduce food waste you must first find out how much food is actually being wasted. This can start with simple information gathering such as the total weight of food waste bins from bills. If there’s capacity, food waste measuring can be as detailed as a full waste assessment.
- Educate and empower your staff. Make sure they are aware of the issues of food waste, both at a large scale and within the business. Communication within the team is vital to ensuring good food management. Give serving staff and Kitchen Porters opportunities to discuss the issue with chefs and managers, allowing the entire team to brainstorm solutions and try new approaches.
- Keep stock organised. Use colour-coded date labels to mark ingredients, use a ‘first-in first-out’ approach in fridges and freezers, maybe designate an area for food that need to be used up soon. Time spent keeping stock organised is money saved later.
- Design the menu to maximise the opportunity to use ingredients and leftovers. Where possible, chose items for the menu that use similar or interchangeable ingredients.
- Use specials and early-birds to sell food that might otherwise go to waste.
- Avoid using excessively large plates. Smaller plates make portions appear bigger and require less garnishing. Using coloured or patterned plates can also save on garnishes that are rarely eaten.
- Offer light bites or small portions. Your customers appetites vary and these options give them the chance to enjoy your food and avoid plate waste. In general, the margin on these items is higher than full portions.
- Communicate with customers. Be clear what is offered as part of a meal. If you serve sandwiches with a spoon of coleslaw, this should be on the menu.