Food waste is a major problem in the world today, with the UN estimating that one-third of the world’s annual food production is lost or wasted.
Every year, Australians waste over 7.3 million tonnes of food, enough to fill over 13,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools, at a cost of over $36.6 billion to the economy.
Unfortunately, restaurants are not blameless when it comes to food waste. It is estimated that the food retail and hospitality industries account for one-third of total food waste in Australia.
Not only is this bad for the environment and climate change, but it also causes massive revenue losses for restaurants.
What are the types of food waste in restaurant
According to Tenzo, the most basic way to classify restaurant food waste is by type:
Food preparation waste is the waste generated while preparing food (for example, broccoli stems).
Food that has gone bad in storage is referred to as spoiled food. Plate waste occurs when you serve food that your customers do not consume.
How do you measure your restaurant food waste
Engage your employees: Your employees know your venue better than anyone else and will be able to provide valuable insights into where and why waste occurs.
“Front-line employees see waste on a daily basis,” says Gregg Rozeboom, the founder of Fruitive, a plant-based fast-casual restaurant.
Fruitive launched an initiative to encourage employees to share their ideas on potential solutions to help reduce food waste and get them involved in the process.
Every quarter, they hold a menu creation competition, in which employees are challenged to come up with a new menu item made from a list of seasonal ingredients that also solves a waste problem in the kitchen.
The winner receives a monetary award, and their suggestion is added to the menu.
Reuse leftover ingredients: Honey Butter Fried Chicken, like Fruitive, strives to reduce food waste through innovative menu offerings.
Read also: How To Reduce Food Waste In Hotels
“Because we do a lot of dressed chicken here,” says Christine Cikowski, who is a chef and managing director “we have full bucket of flour exclusively for dredging it.”
We started frying it, and it turned into these crunchy bits that we used to garnish our wings and grits. People constantly snack on them.”
Share byproducts with the bar: Cocktail restaurants have another option for reducing food waste: the bar.
Reusing leftover ingredients not only increases the return on investment for your stock, but it also allows you to create innovative new menu items to tempt your customers.
What you can compost and recycle
When repurposing food scraps and leftovers isn’t an option, the next best option is to compost them. Composting is not only good for the environment, but it can also help your business.
Over 90% of Australians are concerned about the environment and sustainability, and one study found that more than half of consumers are willing to pay more for products and services from environmentally friendly companies.
Kitchen waste management is very important. Reduce food waste to reduce recurring costs and increase margins.
While addressing the food waste crisis is undoubtedly a challenge that will necessitate intervention at every stage of the value chain—from producers and consumers to governments—restaurants are in a unique position where they can reap significant business benefits by addressing a critical societal issue.
In an industry with notoriously thin profit margins, anything you can do to cut costs while attracting environmentally conscious customers is critical for long-term success.
Restaurant technology, such as a restaurant POS system, can help businesses save money by reducing food waste.
Customers have complete control over what they order with QR table ordering and digital menus, for example.
Putting the responsibility of ordering in the hands of the customer (literally) results in fewer errors (e.g., misheard or sloppy-written orders), ensuring customers always get exactly what they wanted.
In the worst-case scenario, if one of your guests changes their mind, waitstaff can simply change the order in the POS, which will immediately send a notification to the kitchen’s printer or bump screen.
More accurate ordering not only improves your guests’ dining experience, but it also reduces wrong orders, which leads to food waste.