Food waste is never a good thing, either for your business, society or the environment. It’s a waste of precious resources on every level and something which indicates a planning and forecasting issue for your business.
One of the best resourcing methods is JIT or Just in Time. In other words not storing high levels of stock. This is particularly important in the restaurant business because it’s imperative that food is turned over quickly and regularly for health and safety purposes and to cut waste.
Knowing what your customers want, and ensuring that you are able to offer it quickly and on-demand is vital. So a small but exclusive set of menu item favourites along with specials where you can use seasonal ingredients is the best way to manage stock. Using the specials menu to offer those items which you are trying to encourage customers to order at a slightly reduced price is a great way to shift a glut of ingredients. For example, if you’ve been offered a cut-price lot of seafood, using a seafood chowder or pasta dish as a special offer is a great way to encourage diners to choose the seasonal catch of the day. It’s also a great way to reduce your costs and delight diners.
Keeping a check of stock levels by maintaining tight records of what you have and what you need to use is vital.
If you’re finding that lots of food is left on the plate, your portion size may be too big and you should definitely consider reviewing how much food you offer in a portion.
Clear labelling of use by dates for all food and rotating stock to ensure the shortest dates are used first will avoid food wastage and errors when ordering new stock.
Training your staff to recommend and promote slow-moving items is a great way to encourage diners to try something new, but also to turnover a glut of chosen dishes.
Reviewing your sales mix and offers on meals and deals such as beat the clock and 2 and 3 course combos is also a great way to encourage diners to eat more when they come to your restaurant.
Where unused food leftovers are unavoidable, there are lots of charities who will be delighted to link up with your business. Such links also lend your business an ethical edge and customers will be impressed by your community spirit and will be more encouraged to dine with you.
So why not make food waste your priority and ensure you zero in on food waste and food cost to improve your business model.