As you seek to minimize the cost of doing business for your restaurant, discover how reducing the food wastage is important. You cannot afford to continue spending too much money due to the rising cost of food every day. While you cut down on monetary costs, you reduce the rampant dumping of waste in the environment.
Here are 10 prudent ways of reducing restaurant food waste:
Avoid Overbuying Fresh Produce
The more fresh produce you buy, the more food wastage you are likely to experience. Food vendors can easily entice you to buy more than you need with their regular offers and sales. Even if you buy more food at reduced prices, this is not justified when the food goes bad. For this reason, avoid the temptation to overbuy.
Order Only What You Need
You can actually get the most of vendors’ offers, sales and still avoid food waste. Ask the vendor if you can take small portions at a time instead of taking foods in bulk. This way, your customers consume foods efficiently. The restaurant will have little food waste, if any.
Inspect all Food Orders upon Arrival
Check the condition of all foods and their expiration dates when they arrive at your restaurant. It is common for vendors to place the freshest produce at the top of the package and then place spoiled foods at the bottom. For this reason, do not accept any foods that are spoilt or on their way to rotting.
Pre-Cool Hot Items before Storing them in a Refrigerator
Bacteria can easily grow on foods that you place in the refrigerator while hot. It is prudent to pre-cool hot foods first. Take advantage of an ice bath, cooling paddle or a chill blaster. This effectively reduces the volume of food waste.
Store Products Properly
Food wastage occurs due to cross contamination when it is not stored in a standard box or packaging wrap. So, store foods at the right temperatures. Most frozen foods require 0 degrees Fahrenheit and below while refrigerated ones require 41 degrees Fahrenheit and below.
Keep Everything Labeled and Organized
Having date labels on food containers will help in identifying perishable foods so you cook them first before they go bad.
Additionally, organize the way you store foods in your refrigerator, pantry, kitchen etc. Adopt the first in first out policy (FIFO). For this reason, place new orders behind older ones so that you use up the older products first.
Ensure that your Refrigerator and Freezer Maintain Appropriate Temperatures
Before you invest in a refrigerator, ensure it comes with a freezer/refrigerator thermometer. If your current one does not, buy the gadget immediately. This helps you to effectively monitor and control the performance of your food storage and cooling equipment.
Initiate Proper Portion Control
Take advantage of portion control scales to save on money and food. These give you the opportunity to specify certain measurements of food. To increase efficiency, ensure your employees use the specified portions every time.
Anticipate and Create
It is prudent to anticipate the amount of food that your restaurant will actually sell in each day. This controls the amount of food going into the kitchen. If you realize that you will not sell as much as you have prepared then create a temporary special menu. This motivates your customers to buy more of the food and maximize your ROI.
Donate Food You will Not Use
It is inhuman to throw away food while some people in your community have none to eat. For this reason, donate food in your refrigerator before it actually goes bad. One resource states that more than a billion people went hungry in 2009. The predicament of having foods that are about to go bad could be an opportunity for giving back to the society.
Restaurants produce a lot of food waste in the form of leftover or stale food, wastage at the time of preparation or packaging. Maintaining the hygiene standards is of paramount importance since these factors earn points and certifications. Dumping all the waste in the back alley will solve the problem of ridding food waste; however, it may invite penalty.
How Recycling Helps Reduce Cost in Waste Disposal
Recycling has basically been mandated by the government, especially for catering businesses, as the environmental hazards are reacting to all the human abuse over the past few centuries in more ways than one. It might appear to be a tedious activity, but a lot of restaurants that have adopted recycling claim to have reduced their operational costs in waste disposal.
Advantages of Recycling for Restaurants
- Treasure in the waste:
Often, we throw away things in restaurants in moments of frenzy, which could have been reused. For instance, a stained table cloth could be used as kitchen wipes. While sorting the garbage for recycling, these things could be stowed away for needs that may arise and cut the consequential additional expenses.
- Reduced garbage collection costs:
Since the recyclable items will be segregated, the actual garbage to be collected will be reduced, which, in turn, will reduce the costs.
- Government incentives:
In many cities, the government offers cash incentives and monetary assistance to restaurants adopting the green initiative.
- Good advertising:
Green is ‘in’ and people love restaurants and stores that adopt recycling as a practice, making it a good way to build a fan base and earn customer novelty.
- You can’t avoid it, so embrace it:
Recycling has become a rigorous practice and many landfills and dumping sites do not accept wastes such as cardboard, aluminum cans, or other recyclable materials. Often, an additional fee is charged for accepting waste of this nature.
How to Segregate Waste?
At the most basic level, the waste is segregated as dry waste and wet waste. The wet waste for restaurants will be a very high percentage of leftover or stale food, cooking waste, etc. These are best utilized for making compost, which can be used to grow the restaurant vegetables or sold for additional revenue.
Dry waste can be further broken down into and used as:
- Aluminum: This can be given for recycling and reuse.
- Cardboard: These can be donated to charities that have frequent use of the material or given up for recycling and reuse.
- Paper: Waste paper can be used most innovatively for making doggy bags or given to newspapers for recycling and reuse.
- Glass: Glass can be reused to make decorative items and glass bottles can always be reused after cleaning.
- Plastic: The nuisance of our generation, plastic waste in restaurants can either be avoided or recycled.
- Fryer Oil: Biodiesel companies are paying restaurants for fryer oil.
- Steel: This can be recycled for a multitude of purposes and can be reused.
Recycling is the only way we can cut down wastage and loss of energy; however, there are numerous ways an innovative individual or business can cut costs and even earn extra income through the process.
To have a clear picture of how much food your restaurant wastes, conduct an inventory of the volume you order as compared to the volume you take out in trashcans. Other ways of reducing costs include recycling and investing in a food composter. Additionally, contact Compactor Management Company and buy a trash compactor for your restaurant.
Compactor Management Company (former Northern California Compactors, Inc.) offers installation and support services for waste recycling equipment such as trash compactors, balers, shredders & conveyor systems. Established in 1981, it offers waste management solutions across the United States.