Did you know that about one-third of all food products produced around the world are wasted annually? That’s about 1.3 billion tons of food lost or discarded due to various reasons, per the United Nations.
As a food distributor, we consider these numbers quite alarming. Although most of the food losses happen during harvesting and food production, saving even a quarter of the food being thrown away could already feed roughly 870 million people who go hungry every day.
When you’re in the food business, one of your goals should be to feed the hungry – or at least avoid wasting food that could’ve gone to them. If you’re willing to start making this change happen today, begin with these eight ways to reduce food wasted in your restaurant:
One of the reasons why plenty of food goes to waste in restaurants is because they prepared more than they can sell. To avoid this, you must develop a system that could help you accurately predict food orders for a given time.
This can be done manually or with a predictive ordering technology. The more accurate the data gathered, the better you can understand food patterns and control the amount of food produced from your kitchen.
When you restock your ingredients, you must never overdo it. Some restaurant owners and managers think that having extra would mean they can accommodate more diners. Others are tempted to order in bulk because of a discounted price their supplier has offered them.
But what would happen if you buy all those supplies, but some weren’t used before their expiration date? They will then become part of the statistics on food waste, and you end up with less revenue than you would’ve hoped for.
With that in mind, be sure to talk to your food suppliers and only buy ingredients that you’re sure your business can use. While you may think you’ll save more money by buying more, there’s no guarantee that you can use up all those supplies, especially if it is more than what is necessary for your predicted food orders.
Food usage and waste tracking offers restaurants a chance to scale back in buying supplies and prepare dishes while ensuring that they could keep up with consumer demand.
With a food waste inventory, you can also identify which items usually end up in the trash bin and implement the necessary changes to reduce them. After using techniques like substitution, smaller portions, or menu changes, monitor how much food you’re saving and proactively update your menu as the need arises.
Some ingredients get spoiled with improper storage, so make sure you correct your practices to prevent this immediately.
Keep your freezers and fridges within the correct temperature ranges. Arrange food according to their risk level, with low-risk foods stored higher than high-risk foods. You must also keep food storage areas tidy and clean.
Besides preventing spoilage, following proper storage techniques will also preserve the quality of your ingredients and prevent bacterial growth.
Stock rotation is crucial in ensuring that no older food stocks are left unused. To use up all your ingredients before they expire, follow the First In, First Out rule, also known as “FIFO.”
Besides storage, this practice should also be implemented for food items displayed for sale. The newer stock should be placed behind older stock to ensure that the latter would be used up first before it goes beyond its “best before” date.
Make sure that you put labels on items you put on the fridge or freezer indicating their expiration dates. This can come in the form of “Best by,” “Use by,” or “Sell by” labels. Foods that are decanted into containers should also be labeled with product descriptions and specific allergens they may contain.
By keeping your storage area organized, you can keep track of your available supplies to avoid overstocking. It also helps you know what needs to be used immediately so you can avoid throwing away ingredients in unlabeled containers.
This is another good practice in food supply management every restaurant should be observing.
When you inspect deliveries, you get to determine whether the items are the exact amount you ordered – no more, no less. This will also help you see whether anything is visibly damaged or spoiled.
Also, check if they are delivered while kept in the correct storage temperature. As you know, incorrect storage temperature fosters spoilage and, ultimately, leads to food waste.
Be careful about serving jumbo-sized dishes. While it may seem like good practice to offer more than what your customer wanted, it actually leads to tons of wasted food.
According to a 2012 study, one-fourth of diners tend to leave food on their plates after they finish their meals. French fries and chips are often among these leftovers because these are extras that most consumers didn’t ask for.
As members of the food industry, restaurants should be doing everything in their power to reduce food waste that could feed millions of people instead. Be sure to do your part by incorporating these food waste reduction practices in your daily operations.
Here at Bidfood, we can help restaurants manage food supplies better. Let’s get in touch to figure out an arrangement that works for your business.