Whether permitted to trade as normal or not, the hospitality industry will always be faced with challenges. Food costs continue to rise; rent and rates go up, yet still need to be paid; existing and new legislation must be navigated and adhered to; staff must be hired, trained and developed and food waste needs to be managed.
While the list of challenges involved with running a pub, bar, restaurant or hotel is long and sometimes tricky to overcome, the last issue on the list – that of reducing food waste – is one that can easily be controlled if the right approaches are taken.
Effective kitchen waste management can also have a positive impact on a business’s bottom line, something every hospitality operator will be keen to make happen.
Why Do We Need to Reduce Food Waste in Restaurants?
According to a report by Champions 12.3, a unique international coalition committed to tackling food waste, a third of all food produced in the world is lost or wasted. This has serious ramifications on the environment (waste that ends up in landfills produces a large amount of methane, contributing to global warming) but also for our finances. Wasting a third of the world’s food equals $940 billion in economic losses annually.
In a report carried out in 2019, the coalition highlighted that restaurants and cafes in the UK throw away around 900,000 freshly prepared edible meals a day. However, it also found that within the first year of implementing a formal food waste reduction programme, 76% of the food outlets recouped their investment. Within two years of implementing a programme, 89% of them did so.
The study also found that for every £1 invested in cutting food waste, you can expect to see £7 back in saved profit, whatever the size or location of your business. Therefore, managing food waste makes good business sense, as well as helping the environment.
What Can Restaurants Do to Cut Food Waste?
There are multiple waste disposal methods in the food industry but use of them should be a last resort. Better kitchen waste management and instilling better food production methods in the hospitality industry is where operators need to start in the battle against food waste.
Ensuring waste is reduced at the preparation stage and using as many parts of an ingredient as possible on the menu will help reduce food waste in the early stages. Abolishing garnishes, monitoring portion sizes and offering doggy bags to diners are also useful ways to make food waste an issue of the past.
Excess ingredients that will soon be going out of date, or finished dishes that won’t be eaten in time could be donated to homeless charities, or community fridges. It is worth contacting local charities and organisations to find out about the best way to give excess food to them. All of these practices mean leftover food from restaurants is found a new home while cutting food waste.
How the Right Kitchen Tools Can Help in Food Waste Reduction
Many kitchens aren’t keeping on top of food waste management because the traditional method of monitoring food waste with duplicate books and meaningless recordings means it’s a time-consuming job and very difficult to actually see and understand what is being wasted and what to do about it.
Using the right technological tools can help operators record waste as well as understand what has been wasted and why, so they can get a better handle on the situation.
The seamless transfer of data from the Access Procure Wizard waste module directly into the core food and beverage control system, including food flash, stock control and our menu costing solution, provides a full 360° kitchen management solution for operators. Technology makes it easy to put a waste reduction plan in place and then monitor the effect on your bottom line.
‘What is unique about Access Procure Wizard in comparison to other operating systems is that it is a full kitchen management system. It has a full array of functions, from control and waste to food flash, and allergen data. The best element is the confidence it brings you on your controls. It has got complete transparency controlling cost to purchasing, to understanding theoretical GPs on menus.’ – Joe Shannon, Executive Chef – Radisson Hotel, Sligo.
Contact Tom Doherty, Access Hospitality Ireland Sales Director today to discuss how you can reduce waste and increase profits.