Is food waste taking a greedy bite out of your profits?
Which ingredient or product is being wasted the most in your restaurant — and what’s the damage to your bottom line? The latest tech can help you tackle the issue.
Recently, a food delivery company teamed up with an environmental charity to discover what gets binned the most by customers. They found that 72% of those surveyed had leftover chips after eating their takeaway meals. The result? It’s prompted a trial that lets customers choose a smaller portion size.
It’s always a good idea for restaurants to get a better understanding of customer preferences. But the initiative raises important wider issues at a time when soaring ingredient costs are making many restaurants think more about reducing waste.
What’s typically being wasted?
One study by a waste and recycling firm includes a list of the most wasted food products in the hospitality sector. The findings were as follows:
- 28% potatoes
- 20% fruit and vegetables
- 17% leftovers/whole servings
- 16% bread and baked goods
- 9% pasta and rice
- 8% meat and fish
So is there a waste problem lurking within your business — and how can you stop it for good?
Five ways to reduce food waste
With the right tools and techniques, it’s possible to drive up efficiency and minimise spoilage. Here are five steps to follow:
Step #1: Use automated forecasts to stock what customers are ordering
Next-Gen tech will tell you which dishes are your most popular — and which could be scrapped, with customers barely noticing. AI-powered system forecasts can show you with 95%-plus accuracy how much to purchase from suppliers each week to make your most popular items at the correct volumes. At the same time, you could remove poorly-performing dishes from your menu and avoid ordering their ingredients and prepping food that gets thrown away.
Step #2: Rely on system-generated prep plans
With the best restaurant tech, there’s no guesswork around prep plans that could lead to food being wasted. The system will generate a realistic guide of how much to produce, based on standardised portion sizes and likely sales on any particular day. Simply click a button, see what’s required and your team can get to work.
Step #3: Use tech to take orders accurately
This sounds obvious, but diners rejecting dishes because staff made a mistake with their order can be significant source of waste (as well as impacting morale). Controversially, one restaurant recently started to make staff pay for their blunders, according to reports. Smart table tech is better way to avoid miscommunication and wastage. Waiting staff take orders at the table on handheld devices and send to the kitchen in a click, so everyone knows exactly what each customer expects.
Step #4: Record waste accurately — so you can follow up
Some waste is inevitable in the heat of the restaurant environment. It could be that a dish gets burned, a bottle of wine is dropped, a sub-standard meal is rejected by the head chef, or part of a batch expires. In each case, you need a system that lets you record these items digitally — where the event happens, with no delays — so you can seeing where waste is accruing and its impact. You may need to adjust processes or step in with extra training.
Step #5: Watch your inventory like a hawk — the easy way
Over the past two years, the financial value of your inventory has most likely soared. Like any investment, it needs watching carefully, so stock is used before it perishes. With Next-Gen restaurant systems, inventory checks can take a fraction of the time. Mobile tech can guide your teams around fridges, freezers and storerooms, recording accurate data, so you can keep stock at the optimum level and avoid waste.
Getting a great payback
Follow steps 1-5 and you’ll save money at every turn — while understanding more about your business. You’ll also be in a stronger position if commodity prices increase worldwide.