The amount of food being wasted everyday in restaurants is shocking. Lack of proper storage and over-purchase and overproduction of food results in a monumental amount of food being wasted. Looking at the statistics, wastage is one of the leading causes escalated food costs and diminishing revenue, which leads to the eventual shutting down of restaurants. However, with smart planning and efficient inventory management, you can cut down your food wastage marginally.
Tips to curb food wastage
1. Right Purchase
It is important to monitor the existing stock before going for a fresh purchase. Always consult your inventory report before purchasing stock, and avoid overbuying especially fresh produce. It is also advisable to buy seasonal products to reduce food wastage. The best way to prevent food wastage is to adopt the minimal stocking approach, especially for the perishable items.
While accepting stock from vendors, make sure you check the raw materials for stale or spoiled food items. Keep a track of the manufacturing date and the expiration date of each item.
2. Portion Control
Keeping a check on the portion size of your menu items is important, as it not only helps to control your food costs; it also prevents food wastage at the customer’s end. It is important to use portion control equipment such as scoops and ladles while plating the dish. Portion size gives an idea of the amount of raw materials consumed while preparing the dish. For example, you can get 4-6 portions of potatoes per kg. This way, you can calculate the amount of raw materials you need to order on the basis of the number of orders you get in a day.
Standardization of recipes helps to keep the food costs in check. The recipe management software tells you exactly how much ingredients are required for each dish.
Also Read: 7 Pro Tips to Manage Restaurant Food Costs
3. Proper Storage
The majority of food wastage in restaurants happen when the raw materials are not stored properly, which leads to their decay. Thus, it becomes extremely important to prevent cross-contamination of raw food. You must also store food at the proper temperature.
Managing the shelf life of perishables is also important. Each item in the inventory has a designated shelf life and should be consumed during their shelf-lifetime. You can try adopting the First in First out (FIFO) approach, where the raw materials which have been purchased earlier are consumed first.
4. POS Software
When it comes to reducing food wastage, your POS software is your best friend. Integrated with inventory management and recipe management, your POS gives you advanced reports about what to purchase, when to purchase, and how much to purchase.
POSist allows you to set re-order levels for each stock item. You can set alerts that remind you to purchase a fresh stock when they reach a particular level. This prevents you from purchasing extra stock and also saves you the embarrassment of running out of certain items in the menu.
Proper inventory management allows you to control stock wastage, as you can keep a track of the amount of items required to prepare a certain meal.
5. Food Recycling and Donation
In a restaurant, it is not possible to completely eradicate food wastage; some of it is bound to be spoiled or left unused. Everyday, restaurants throw away heaps of food, while millions starve. However, you can ensure that food does not go to the garbage bin. If you are having food items which can go bad in a day or two and have more than you can sell, donating it to someone would be a better option than letting it rot inside your freezer. There are a lot of organizations which work against food wastage and they can be contacted to donate some food items.
In the case of bakeries and cafes, you can sell the previous day’s food at half the price under ‘ A day olds’ name.
Implement these tips to reduce the food wastage in your restaurant, and let us know how they worked out for you, in the comments below!