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How To Reduce Food Waste In Your Restaurant

Food waste is a huge issue in the UK restaurant sector, with research by WRAP (Waste and Resource Action Programme) estimating a total cost to business of £682 million.

The research also estimated an average of £0.97 of avoidable waste is generated per meal. Despite these figures, just 27% of food waste produced by UK restaurants is unavoidable.

Reducing food waste in your restaurant not only cuts costs and improves your profit margin, but benefits the environment and can have a positive impact on customer perception of your business. To help you get on top of food waste, we’ve come up with our top tips for reducing waste in your restaurant.

Conduct A Waste Audit

The first step in taking your restaurant to zero waste is to conduct an audit, this will be invaluable in highlighting areas that generate the most waste within your business.

A good place to start with this is to collect different types of waste in different bins. i.e: food preparation waste, bar food waste, spoilage waste and waste from customer plates separated into starters, mains and desserts.

Following this audit, you will have an idea of where your food waste comes and thus enable you to prioritise focus on the areas producing the most waste.

Train Your Staff

The key to making a significant change successful in any business is to get staff onboard. Whilst many are likely to be happy in helping combat food waste, you may choose to offer some form of incentive to those that get on board with the scheme. There will be different things to consider for each department:

  • Bar staff should take into account any foodstuffs they use to create drinks. If a certain ingredient such as lemon wedges are constantly going to waste, it may be worth reducing the amount that is ordered in or reducing the amount that are prepared before service.
  • Kitchen staff should be conscious of foodstuffs that are being wasted, they may choose to re-purpose some waste into a new dish. For example, vegetable peels may be used to create a vegetable broth and crusts can be used for breadcrumbs.
  • Restaurant staff and servers should be tuned in to plate wastage, they may choose to offer takeaway boxes for customers and flag dishes with the most plate wastage to chefs.

Implement a Proper Stock Rotation System

A proper stock rotation or stock management system will greatly aid in reducing the amount of spoiled food in the kitchens, allowing kitchen staff to use up food that is close to its use by date and order in more ingredients as required.

Using day dots is a cost effective way of managing your stock rotation system, kitchen staff should also endeavour to ensure that food is properly stored once opened.

daydots on label

Put Your Leftovers To Use

No food should end up in landfill. Instead, why not start a compost heap where egg shells, vegetable peel coffee grinds and other similar items that are usually thrown away can be turned into compost instead, this compost can then be used, donated or even sold.

If this isn’t feasible, talk to local schools, farms, garden centres and other businesses that may want your leftovers for their own compost heap.

As well as composting, you can make your leftovers go further by contacting charitable organisations such as Planzheroes, who will match you up with local charities to collect and redistribute your food waste to those in need.

Review Your Suppliers

At Arthur David, we believe that restaurants shouldn’t have to put up with stock arriving near the end of its shelf life. If your supplier is sending you food that is spoiling in a few days, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and let them know. If the problem persists, it could be time to switch supplier.

Watch Your Portion Sizes

A recent consumer survey revealed that 41% of people blame oversized portions on plate waste, with the most commonly left food left behind being chips. Whilst you don’t want your customers to leave hungry, there is no point in overfilling plates and creating excess food wastage.

Ensure that chefs are being told of any dishes that commonly come back with food leftover so they can review portion sizes. Not overfilling plates with food can also increase profits through dessert and side sales.

High Quality Fresh Produce from Arthur David

If you’re looking for a supplier to help you keep on top of food waste, we can help. As well our own commitment to the environment, we have a no minimum order system in place; meaning that restaurants don’t increase their own food waste by being forced to buy from us in bulk.

If you want to find out more about our range of products, or our commitment to sustainability – give us a call today on 0330 333 4441 or use the live chat to talk to one of our expert team.

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