Millions of people go to bed hungry every day and still restaurants around the country waste tonnes of food every year.
Reports state that Indians waste as much food as the whole of United Kingdom consumes. With wastage of food becoming an issue, it is time that restaurants learn to manage and reduce food waste.
Food waste reduction and management will not only help you cut the cost incurred in the preparation of food but will also contribute to an increase in your revenue. A lot of times, a forgotten ingredient or an expired food product can lead to unnecessary wastage.
Here we have compiled a few techniques to help you with smart food management.
Identify the type of Waste produced by your Restaurant
A lot of times restaurant management tends to ignore the kind of waste generated in their restaurant.
Mainly, the food waste produced can be segmented into two types:
- Pre-consumer food waste
- Post-consumer food waste
While post-consumer food waste is the waste produced on the level of consumer, pre-consumer food waste is the waste generated during the preparation of any dish or beverage. It can be raw food products such as potato peel, roots from vegetables and even improperly prepared food. Reports state that 4-10% of the total kitchen waste is pre-consumer food waste.
At the level of restaurant
1. Monitor your inventory
Knowing the ingredients you already have in your inventory is the first necessary step towards reducing food waste. You can easily keep track of the present stock and consumption using POS systems made especially for restaurants.
Purchasing wisely and storing correctly is the next step after you have successfully kept a record of the already available ingredients and products. Make sure that you properly store the products you purchase. For example, cleaning fruits and vegetables properly before placing them in the refrigerator, labeling items with their date of purchase, and storing them in a suitable container.
While cooking, chefs take food from the left instead of right. For such cases, you should also know the rule of storing food which prioritises the placement of a recently purchased item on the right and the existing one on the left so that the current food product can be used before its expiry date.
To reduce kitchen waste you also need to keep an insight into daily consumed goods, need for new purchases and made expenses. This will not only reduce the waste produced but also organise your management and revenues.
2. Two R-s of reducing waste
Keep in mind the two Rs of reducing waste, i.e. Recycle and Repurpose.
Buying recyclable material can save you from not just reducing waste but also from making unnecessary expenditures. You can also use reusable items like plastic bottles, cans and cardboard boxes wherever required and possible.
Repurpose is the second ‘R’ of restaurant waste management. Whenever an item remaining in bulk nears its date of expiry, you can utilise it efficiently. For example, using bread to make sandwiches and croutons. You can also use leftover roots, leaves, meat, and chicken for dishes like soup.
At the level of consumer
3. Revise your menu
Majority of times people leave food at the end of their meal. The reason for this wastage is either a sizeable portion or the customer does not consider it to be a part of the main dish, like chips with fish or wafers with ice-creams. Revising your menu can, therefore, help you in reducing waste produced at the consumer level.
A lot of consumers fill their plates with food and end up wasting it. To manage food waste in such cases, you can review the portion of your meal. This can be done by minimizing the plate size and using glasses with smaller volume. Reduced portion size can decrease restaurant waste further reducing the food cost involved in preparation and cooking.
4. Encourage customers to take leftovers home
Offering your customer with packing facility of the leftover food is also a great way of food management. You can keep materials required for packing in handy, for example, having a takeaway pizza box for leftover pizza slices.
But hold on! It does not stop here.
You also need to train your employees.
Your employees will be the governors of food waste management system in your restaurant. Therefore, educating them on the importance of food management is one of the most crucial steps. Tutoring them on how to store food safely, cook food nutritiously and avoiding contamination will contribute to your “green restaurant”.
The percentage of food waste in fast food restaurants is about 9.55% and in restaurants with full service is 11.3% of the total amount of purchased food. With such numbers at hand, the time calls for the management and reduction of food waste. Apart from making use of these above tips and suggestions, you can also donate food to organisations like Robin Hood Army and Feeding India for managing and reducing food waste.