Around one-third of food produced around the world, or around 1.3 billion tons of food, is wasted each year. Besides being wasteful, this also costs restaurants billions of dollars a year.
The most obvious way to reduce food waste in your restaurant is to carefully track the number and amount of ingredients you use. That way you can adjust your ordering from week to week. But even this trick won’t keep your restaurant trash cans free of food waste.
Keep reading to learn other smart ways to reduce food waste in your restaurant.
Properly Store Food
If the main source of your food waste are ingredients that go bad before you have a chance to prepare them, your storage methods could be to blame.
Educating your employees on how to properly prepare foods for storage and rethinking your storage containers is a must.
While plastic wrap or aluminum foil might be convenient and inexpensive, they can still let air and moisture into your containers. Airtight containers lock out the elements, helping keep your food fresher longer.
Another way to reduce restaurant food waste is to create a labeling system that makes it clear what food was prepared first. That way your employees can use the oldest ingredients first.
Get Creative With Repurposing
Not all food is completely unusable when the expiration date approaches. For instance:
- Day-old bread is great for making bread pudding or croutons for a salad.
- Prepared meats from one day can be added to the next day’s soup.
- You can design daily specials that make use of ingredients you have too much of or expire soon.
Hold Nightly or Weekly Staff Dinners
Sometimes adjusting your ordering or improving storage methods isn’t enough. Changes in the number of visitors to your restaurant, the type of meals being ordered, and other factors can cause you to have an unexpected surplus of one ingredient or another.
If you have extra food at the end of the night, sending it home with your staff is better than tossing it in the trash. If you still regularly have extra ingredients each week after your best efforts to reduce waste, consider holding weekly staff dinners to make good use of the food.
Other Ways to Reduce Food Waste in Your Kitchen
Any of the ways to reduce food waste on this list can make a big difference in your kitchen. But remember: none will be enough if your kitchen staff are to blame for all of the food making its way to the trash.
Reducing wastage may be as simple as retraining your staff on how to better handle and prepare ingredients. For instance:
- Does your chef prepare food items far ahead of time that could be made to order?
- Do your sous chefs chop ingredients without measuring out how much is needed first?
Even small adjustments can go a long way towards reducing food waste in your kitchen. One way to do this is with a good food scale.
If you don’t already have one, a commercial scale is a must in your kitchen. A food scale makes it easy for your staff to quickly and accurately measure how much of each ingredient they need.
Shop our selection of commercial scales today. A good scale can help your kitchen make better use of its ingredients and start reducing food waste right away!