Reducing Food Waste in Restaurants: How to Track & Save


How Can Restaurants Reduce Waste? Reducing food waste in restaurants is among the most pressing issues in modern-day America. We’re known all over the world for our unsuccessful culture, and each year the heaps of food dropped into our landfills […]

How Can Restaurants Reduce Waste?

Reducing food waste in restaurants is among the most pressing issues in modern-day America. We’re known all over the world for our unsuccessful culture, and each year the heaps of food dropped into our landfills prove this truth. As a restaurateur, you can do your part by taking mindful measures to prevent contributing to this issue. Here are a few tips on the best way best to decrease food waste in restaurants.

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Food waste data

Thus, reducing food waste in restaurants should be among the principal goals of restaurateurs around the nation. And while most owners do it to a degree, it is critical to do it correctly enough to make a difference. If you are a food business owner and you have not yet understood how essential reducing waste in food production is, here are some statistics to take into account. America is widely regarded as among the highest countries in regards to food waste, but would you know by how much? The outcomes might alarm you. Each year, Americans waste over 80 billion pounds of meals. That is approximately 40 percent of the nation’s total food supply. The issue gets even more alarming if one looks at it from a financial standpoint. That some food waste costs America $161 billion annually. Food is the most critical contributor to waste in landfills in america. This seriously impacts the environment. When bacteria break down the gigantic quantity of food in these landfills, extra methane is made. This is a greenhouse gas that is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Here is the thing. The Food Waste Reduction Alliance, an organization dedicated to eradicating waste from the food business, found the biggest offender in the food waste trend — restaurants. Of the complete food waste in the united states, restaurants and food companies contribute around 84.3percent . That also means these companies are burning $2 million in earnings in the procedure.

One alternative: culture change

The perfect way to change this culture is for the food industry to take charge and discover ways to conserve food waste. After all, this business has the most crucial influence on it. Additionally, reducing food waste in restaurants makes great business sense. It turns out customers care about food waste, regardless of the widespread food waste culture in the nation. A study by Unilever revealed that more than 70 percent of people cared about the handling of their food waste, with 47% who are prepared to pay more to eat a restaurant which has a fantastic food waste policy in place. Reducing food waste is something where everybody wins, from your clients to our planet. Companies simply need to spend the will and subject to implement policies for change.

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How to monitor food waste

Keeping track of food waste is among the very best methods of reducing it. The best way to do this is using a food waste monitoring program. The program does not have to be all that sophisticated or complex for it to be helpful. Having a very simple system will make it easier for your employees to follow through. Among the simplest methods is to keep a food waste diary. You may instruct your employees to log down the weight and details of each trash they throw away. Going beyond that, employees can even log down which sort of trash it had been. By way of instance, you can have them record if garbage was filled with non-food things, or contained lots of rotten vegetables. The latter is a red flag that something may be wrong with your stock.

Advantages of a food waste journal

First, it promotes accountability. You can monitor if specific departments or changes create more trash than others, and then establish a more comprehensive investigation to discover the root of the issue. Second, you will know whether your efforts have an influence on your food waste. If the typical trash is moving down with everything else being equal, then you know your existing strategies are working. Not with a goal, data-backed waste monitoring is similar to doing something with blindfolds on; you do not know whether you’re going the correct way. Third, it provides data you can use to back up your decision making. By way of instance, if you receive a great deal of food trimmings on your waste, you are able to implement strategies to tackle that. You can help improve the cutting abilities of your homework chefs to generate less waste, or you may opt to purchase pre-prepped ingredients to decrease waste and time. It may even help you with stock management. If your logs indicate that you are regularly throwing off certain food items (such as poultry or produce), then it may be a sign that you are having excess stocks of those components. Lowering your order levels might address the issue, and save you money, too.

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How to perform food audits

One of the best ways to decrease food waste is to begin by performing a food audit. A food audit is an summary of your restaurant or company’s food waste output. It can tell you how much waste you are disposing of and in what amounts. The objective is to give you a clear image so that you can see the problem areas that require improvement. There are a number of approaches to performing a food audit, but it mostly involves monitoring two essential variables. One is the amount of food waste that your company is generating, and the other is how many clients you’re serving. The latter matters because clients also create food waste if they don’t complete what they ordered. The simplest food audit technique is a simple logging system. You may monitor food waste separately for your organization and your clients (or post-consumer waste). It can be as simple as using a sheet of paper and a pencil, or as complex as utilizing automated weighing scales. In any event, make sure to instruct your employees to write down just how much food is thrown out, what kind it is, and why it is being thrown out. Food audits are best done daily for a one-week period. 1 smart technique is to segregate your garbage into groups before you have it collected. You may choose the specific categories based on the nature of your offerings and menu. Then you weigh each trash class and log down the results.

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Ways to reduce food waste in restaurants

With your audit done and monitoring in place, you are now prepared to explore solutions in reducing food waste in restaurants. Here are some of the strategies you can do to each waste class:


This pertains to food waste that is a by-product of your operations and does not leave the kitchen floor. Because it’s within the boundaries of your kitchen, it is also the food waste in which you have the most control over. There are loads of strategies you can use here, but a good deal of them involve good practices in inventory management. Use schemes like FIFO (first in, first out) to make sure elderly ingredients are used . In addition, you need to use robust inventory management systems to assist predict optimal stock levels. You can even look into food reduction methods, like proper food preparation to reduce trimmings. Food repurposing is also a cost-effective and innovative strategy to decrease waste. Rather than throwing out day-old bread, why not use it as croutons in your salad or soup?

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Post-consumer waste means food that is unfinished by your clients. There is not much you can do to control this sort of food waste, but you can reduce its likelihood by using a few approaches. Appropriate portioning is one of these important strategies. If you consistently find considerable quantities of post-consumer waste, it may be a symptom of portion sizes which are too large. Standardizing can decrease waste and your expenses also. You can even try optimizing your menu. If individual dishes are left or returned by clients, it may be time to change or update them. Just be certain customers are getting what’s described in the menu to handle their expectations.


These are non-food things like paper napkins and plastic utensils. That is another area where you won’t have that much control because disposables are a part of the performance of certain restaurants. The workaround is to dissuade your clients from using these disposables. Rather, incentivize them to deliver reusable straws or coffee mugs while buying at your shop.

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