Laying Waste to Food Waste in Your Restaurant
Consumers today are more conscious than ever about their carbon footprint. There are plenty of ways to help the environment in your everyday actions, from reducing the use of your car to opting for natural cleaning agents. But one major factor in the restaurant industry that’s a bit trickier to deal with is food waste. Numbers reported by the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) paint a grim picture: According to the website, “Up to 40 percent of the food in the United States is never eaten. But at the same time, one in eight Americans struggles to put enough food on the table.”
Recently, a message was put out by the White House officially declaring April as Winning on Reducing Food Waste Month, and a Winning on Reducing Food Waste Federal Interagency Strategy was just laid out by the FDA, USDA, and EPA, who are collaborating to chop food waste and loss in the United States by 50% by the year 2030.
Here, we’ll talk about ways to reduce the food waste at your restaurant (and help make the world a better place).
Assemble a Food Waste Task Force
Sounds daunting, but this could be seen as a fun way to get your staff involved in the good of your restaurant and the planet. Choose the employees who are most in-tune with the food that’s thrown out each night, like dish washers or bussers. Have them work with your chefs, who are more familiar with the amount of food that’s involved in each dish. They can collaborate to report which dishes are going uneaten more regularly, and then you can adjust your menu or portions accordingly.
Food waste isn’t just generated by customers who can’t eat their full meal. It also comes from perishable items that aren’t used before their expiration date. Consider buying those food products in smaller quantities or eliminating them from your menu altogether (if they aren’t popular, of course). Whenever possible, remember that the freezer is your friend.
Use the Best Equipment
When your employees are utilizing high-quality cutlery and equipment (like specialized fryer oil filtration machines), they less likely to have to throw food away that has been mismanaged. We’re talking things like fish, which need to be filleted with precision in order for cooking to go to plan. And you can’t filet a fish without a great knife, right? Ensure your equipment is working properly and at its best. If you need to make a new purchase or invest in all-new items, a line of credit is your best to have cash at the ready (and ARF Financial can get you approved in as little as 24 hours).
Store and Rotate Like a Pro
Immediately after a shipment of perishable items is delivered, get to prepping it for storage. Clean fruits and veggies and stash them in quality containers, and don’t forget to date and label everything. Move the foods in the fridge, freezer or pantry that need to be used first to the front. And in the fridge, store the freshest items on the right so that you’re always grabbing the must-use-first food from left to right, which is more intuitive.
With a little bit of thought and dedication, reducing the food waste in your restaurant can be a simple task that has a huge impact. Not only will you be helping the planet, you’ll also be helping your bottom line by eliminating the need to purchase “extra” food. For great tips on restaurant marketing, the latest industry news, and much more, be sure to check the ARF Financial blog every week! We’re always dishing up something new.