Restaurants produce a staggering amount of food waste. Collectively, the restaurant trade is responsible for dumping thousands of tonnes of unwanted food in the rubbish bin every year. Throwing food away hurts not only the environment but your profits too.
If you reduce your food waste, you will save money. You will become more efficient and your restaurant will help the environment. How do you do it? Here are some tips for more efficient food use.
- Avoid Unnecessary Bulk Buys
Plan effectively so you only purchase what you use. You may think you can save money by stocking up on a good deal but this will backfire if your stock spoils. Save bulk buying for non-perishables and only then if you have the correct type of storage space for the ingredients.
- Store Your Food Correctly
Check that fridges and freezers operate at the correct temperatures to minimise food spoilage. Store foods correctly within the fridge and make sure that all food storage areas are clean and clear. Much of the food waste generated by restaurants comes from disposing of food that is no longer safe to eat.
- Choose Frozen Food
You can use frozen ingredients in many dishes to substitute for fresh. Frozen fruit and vegetables keep for longer than fresh and there is less chance you will have to dispose of them before you can use them. Look for high-quality, fresh-frozen products. For example, when looking for IQF fruit suppliers UK restaurants choose items frozen at the peak of their freshness to lock in all the available nutrients.
- Heat and Cool Food Correctly
Don’t waste food by allowing bacteria to spoil its integrity. Always cool down hot food as quickly as possible. Reheat food to the correct temperature for the correct amount of time. And keep food at the correct temperatures while you are waiting to serve.
- Know What You Have
Keep an accurate inventory of your stock so you know what you have and what you need to order. Label storage containers correctly with the product and date. Organise your stock and list the best before or use by dates so you understand when you need to reorder, and so you don’t forget stock and inevitably waste it.
- Reject Substandard Food
Send back any food in your orders that doesn’t meet your standards, including foods that show visible spoilage. Don’t accept any food that has not been stored at the correct temperatures. And don’t take any items that you didn’t order. This will help prevent waste further down the line.
- Practice Portion Control
Customers tend to leave food on their plates if the portion size is too large. Keep your costs and your food waste in check by only providing manageable portions for diners. Rather than seeing mega-portions as a bonus, many customers see it as wasteful.
- Anticipate Demand
Avoid cooking large batches of menu items since you cannot be sure you will get the demand for that choice on the day. Cook to order wherever possible to save waste. Try to work out what will be popular and maximise your resources around this product.