The importance of managing food waste is at an all-time high, according to food charity Wrap. Food waste is any food that has not been consumed by people due to it being spoiled or unnecessarily discarded. According to Wrap, 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted every year, the UK accounts for around 9.5 million tonnes of that – and the hospitality sector is responsible for 12% of the total UK food waste. That carries huge costs, both in restaurant overheads and on the environment.
Counting the cost of food waste
The cost of food waste in the UK is estimated to be around £19 billion, and around £3.2 billion of that is just from the hospitality industry. That’s an average of £10,000 per outlet, per year. That £19 billion worth of decomposing food is responsible for 25 million tonnes of greenhouse gases – which is the equivalent of 10 million cars.
How can restaurants reduce food waste?
A lot of the food waste each year, aside from production waste, is being generated on the customer plate. But there are ways you can adjust working practices and adopt smarter planning in order to make cost savings for your business. So, here are a few useful tips to cut down on wastage in your business.
Smart production planning
Small batch production is a super effective way to minimise food waste, as it means you’ll only need to defrost and cook the required portion of food. Or, you can work with your suppliers to ensure you can use absolutely everything you purchase. Be creative in your recipes so that each part of a produce can be used in one or more of your dishes.
Store products properly
Products should be stored in standard food boxes or food packaging wrap where appropriate. Hot items should be properly cooled before being refrigerated to prevent the growth of bacteria. By storing food properly, you’ll be able to reduce food waste from cross-contamination or food becoming unsafe to eat due to bacteria growth.
Keep everything labelled and organised
This is one of the main steps in prevented food spoilage. Label all orders with the date it arrived and when it needs to be used by. Make sure you arrange everything using the First In First Out storage method – placing new items behind older items so the older stock is used first. Make sure you also inspect all food orders on arrival – if the food is spoiled or well on it’s way, don’t accept the order.
Train your team
Good food safety practices go hand in hand with reduction of food waste. Effective food safety training will educate food handlers on the best methods to safely prepare and store your food to prevent spoilage and protect your customers.
You could also consider measures like allowing more menu flexibility to encourage customers to finish their meals, making it a policy to offer a takeout box to customers or donating unused food to organisations that support those in need.
Minimising food waste is a collective responsibility, and there’s simple changes we can all make which will ultimately make a huge difference to the environment and to the economy.
Tackle food waste with Food Alert
With smart software and expert consultants, you’ll be able to run your business in the most efficient way possible – and that’s exactly what Food Alert are here for.
Want to find out more? Get in touch with us on 020 7244 1900 and speak to one of our experts about reducing your food waste. Or, just fill out your contact details and we’ll get back to you.