How to Reduce Food Waste in Restaurants
According to a study, U.S restaurants waste between 22 and 22 billion pounds of food. It is equivalent to a half pound per meal if you count what’s wasted in the kitchen and what remains on each diner’s plate.
Not only the more environmental or social toll that this waste generates, but throwing away food can also negatively affect your profit margins as a restaurant owner. You’re paying for, storing, and prepping ingredients that may go straight into the trash bin.
How can restaurants reduce food waste?
We outline six simple steps for restaurant owners to eliminate food waste, help our planet and protect their bottom line. Here’s how to reduce food waste in restaurants – whether yours is a full-service establishment, quick-service restaurant, or food truck.
1. Conduct a food waste audit
One of the wisest decisions you can make as a business owner is to carefully analyze your restaurant’s food waste to determine the scope of the problem. The process will allow you to identify opportunities to improve how you handle inventory and waste management within your establishment.
eatOS POS system has built-in inventory management capabilities to help make these audits much more accessible. Detailed reporting and analytics also allowed business owners to quickly calculate restaurants’ food costs to understand better where their money is going.
2. Reduce food spoilage
Perishable and refrigerated food staples will eventually expire, and the goal is to avoid stocking up on inventory with short shelf lives. Instead, the best thing to do is to streamline your purchasing needs as much as possible by only buying items you think will be sold before they go bad.
Regardless of location, it is easier said than done. But, simultaneously, reducing food spoilage in the refrigerator can be relatively low-hanging fruit.
3. Simplify your menu
For example, if only one dish on your menu uses a specific sauce, you may consider removing that item. It may be an excellent decision with menu options made from rarely used ingredients. Instead, design dishes that use similar ingredients. That way, you can still buy in bulk – while remaining confident that all the inventory you purchase will get used in one way or another.
Buying ingredients that serve multiple uses across multiple dishes is one of the easiest ways to reduce food waste in restaurants.
4. Standardize your portion sizes
The more consistent your portion sizes are, the more precisely you can measure and control unnecessary waste – in the kitchen and at the table. If, for example, most customers don’t finish their Buffalo wings, you know you can serve slightly smaller portions of this popular appetizer.
5. Improve kitchen and waitstaff communication
A lot of food waste comes from mixed-up orders. For example, a customer might order minestrone only with split pea soup. This problem is prevalent when pen and paper transmit orders from the dining area to the kitchen.
A better alternative is to use devices that instantly send and receive orders between both halves of the restaurant so that fewer dishes are sent back and thrown away. Technology can improve communication, allowing you to reduce unnecessary waste.
6. Don’t throw away food
Food indeed becomes waste when you throw it. If you compost or donate it, that uneaten food avoids bins and serves a new and less wasteful purpose. To add to your brand reputation, your restaurant can now market its environmental commitment to customers who increasingly prefer dining at an establishment with a green initiative.
The role of POS systems in the restaurant industry is boundless. It is helpful to manage payments, launch loyalty programs, and automate more of their options. eatOS POS solutions can also significantly help inventory management and design sustainable menus to help reduce food waste.
To learn how our POS technology can help, contact us today.