This guest post about food waste is from Izaak Crook, Head of Marketing at AppInstitute.
The most recent figures on food waste aren’t promising. The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP for short) has highlighted waste as a key issue for restaurants, estimating that food waste represents a cost to the restaurant sector alone of £682 million each year.
Waste, you may think, is an inevitable part of the food industry. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. If you can learn a few handy tricks and techniques for reducing food waste, you won’t only save your hard-earned money, you’ll also help the world be a less wasteful place.
How to know if you’re wasting money on food at your restaurant?
Easy: make a log (if you don’t already) of exactly how much uneaten food is being thrown out. Then, look at the expense of what was spent buying the wasted food.
It’s impossible to know exactly how much money you waste on restaurant food. You should, though, be able to get an idea of the severity of the situation you’re dealing with.
Once you understand the fact that you’re wasting money on food for your restaurant, it’s time to do something about it! These simple steps will help you to better manage your resources:
Use A Food Cost Calculator
To control how much you spend on your ingredients, you need to calculate how much you spend on food, compared to your sales (this figure is known as the food cost percentage). Then, you need to compare this to your ideal food costs. Using an online food cost calculator will help you do this the easy way.
Store Food Correctly
It might sound a bit “back to basics”, but it’s always a wise idea to routinely check your fridges and freezers. You need to make sure they’re operating at the right temperatures. Your appliances need to be organized, with low-risk foods on higher shelves and high-risk foods on the bottom shelves. This is the best way to maintain your food at the highest quality for longer, preventing bacterial growth that results in wasted food.
Rotate Your Stock
We’ve all had FIFO – first in, first out – drilled into us as restaurateurs, but it’s easy to forget this basic rule when you’re battling through an overly-hectic period that shows no sign of slowing down. But, this rule really does save money. And, if that’s not a motivation to make sure you’re implementing it across your kitchen, nothing is.
Keep Good Stock of Inventory
Most of us keep stock inventory – but what would you score out of 10? Thankfully, if your inventory is in need of a refresh, you don’t have to spend hours making something better. You can find plenty of free stock inventory excel templates online, like this one. It contains all the stock counting formulas you could ever need to take proper control of your ingredients.