Did you know that we throw away one-third of all the food produced in the world? That sounds pretty stupid, considering people are starving. Create a new no-waste culture, and you might not only decrease your negative impact on the environment – but also see raised profits, more dedicated employees and an increased good-will for your brand.
All restaurants and cafés produce waste. But the question is how much waste. If you think you throw away too much food, or if you don’t know whether you’re doing a good or bad job, this guide might help you embark on a new path.
1. Put someone in charge
First of all, you need to make someone in charge of your food waste management. If you do things right, a shared mindset will infuse your staff eventually, but someone needs to be the driving engine. Since it’s important to convey that food waste management is a prioritised area, you might want to consider a bump in the paycheck for that person.
2. Audit your waste situation
If you don’t know how you’re doing, you should begin by assessing your current food waste situation. The best way to do this properly is to weigh your food waste every day during one month. Try to record as much data as possible – type of waste, quantity, hour of the day, etc. If possible, make a distinction between the waste produced when preparing the food and the waste produced after the guest has left the table. Then, you can use this as a benchmark to measure the future results of your efforts to minimize food waste.
3. Plan better
For many restaurants and cafés, the main reason for throwing away food is due to buying too much of it in the first place. Yes, we know that you want to be prepared in case you one day magically get ten times more business than usual. But be realistic. Know your numbers, learn from past results and plan accordingly. iZettle users can easily use their sale reports to see how much they usually sell in a given time period. Naturally, you’ll want to plan for a margin of error – but this is a good place to start.
4. Purchase smarter
Wholesalers love to sell their products in big bulks, often containing more than a small restaurant or café owner has time to use before the expiry date. This is especially important for fresh produce. When you know your actual needs, negotiate with your suppliers. If you can’t purchase smaller quantities or if that becomes too expensive, maybe you can partner up with other eating places in the neighborhood to make joint purchases of certain products?
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5. Upgrade tools and knowledge
Make sure your kitchen is equipped with the right tools and equipment to minimize unnecessary waste during the food preparation. For example, knives should be sharp to avoid excess spilling. Educate your staff in how to prepare food in a waste-free manner. And save all edible “waste”. (We’ll come back with ideas of how to take care of it!)
6. Organise better
A lot of food goes to waste due to insufficient storing and messy kitchens. Make sure you wash fruit and vegetables properly and store them in a cool place. Then, make sure to use ingredients in the right order to avoid produce going bad. For example, one simple fridge storage strategy is to always place new ingredients to the right and take ingredients from the left.