Wasting food makes no sense – economically, environmentally or ethically. Yet every restaurant has some amount of food waste, and many don’t keep track of just how much food is thrown away every day.
At an expense of £682 million each year to the UK’s food sector, with the average cost of avoidable food waste being £0.97 per meal, it’s surprising that restaurants aren’t doing more to help reduce it. The good news is that there are simple steps any business preparing and serving food can take to help minimise waste.
WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme), an organisation set up in 2000 to help promote sustainable waste management, recommends a phased approach:
- Measure and monitor food that goes in the bin for a trial period, such as a week. This will help you to understand where and why this waste arises – is it, for example a result of poor preparation techniques? Is food being wasted through spoilage? Or is the majority of waste coming from customer plates – either due to portion sizes being too large or dishes not being popular?
- Develop an action plan to reduce food waste. This should cover everything from better preparation of food to reviewing stock management and improving menu planning by, for example, giving people the option to build their own plate with side dishes instead of listing complete plates that contain items they don’t want. Thinking about redistributing unwanted food to charities and finding new ways to recycle food waste is also important.
- Review progress on the action plan every month. Not only will this help keep staff up-to-date on the importance of reducing food waste, but it should also enable you to track progress and monitor how much money has been saved by sending less food to the dustbin.
There are a number of organisations, like WRAP, that offer handy hints for businesses looking to develop an action plan for reducing food waste. But help also comes in the form of your Comtrex ePOS system and Enterprise software.
We provide a complete stock control application that takes care of stock counts, ordering goods, receiving goods and planning menus. This makes it easier to ensure you are ordering the right amount of goods at the right time – and using them in the best order possible to minimise the amount of food going to waste. Knowing when fresh ingredients are going out of date, for example, means you can easily add a special dish to a menu, rather than letting the food spoil.
Our innovative menu-building tool can also help reduce food wastage by tracking which recipes are most popular, and conversely which aren’t. This should help you to pinpoint which inventory items you will need more or less of in the near future – helping to minimise the amount of fresh food that spoils – and could also spark a menu review.
Since this data is all integrated with your ePOS database and instantly available, it is easier than ever to take action on food waste. And reducing the amount of food that your restaurant sends to landfill is not only good for your bank balance, but good for the community and the environment too.