How Much Money Did You Lose Today Wasting Food?
By: Carol Baghdadi | Revive Land Group
Getting food from the farm to our forks eats up a lot of energy and resources and yet we manage to waste almost 40% of it, cause methane emissions in landfills and eventually lose money.
Food service operators (restaurants, coffee shops and caterers) are among highest contributors to the food waste problem after household consumers. So, businesses should seize opportunities to streamline their processes and reduce food lose in every corner of their operation.
Food cost is considered the second biggest challenge for food service operators after labor costs representing 28% to 35% of sales in restaurants. [i]
The most effective way to reduce environmental impacts of food waste is to avoid waste. Our goal is to show you practical and manageable solutions on how to prevent, reduce, reuse and ultimately recycle food waste.
Sources of Food Waste
Operationally, food waste is broken down to pre- and post-consumer.
Statistically, pre-consumer food waste accounts for 4-10% of food purchased in an average restaurant and 17% of served meals go uneaten.
Pre-consumer food waste is generated at the back of house operation; hence businesses can have more control over it compared to post-consumer waste.
Obviously, capturing food loss can offer a critical boost to profitability. However, cost of implementation has been reported the biggest barrier to adopting food waste prevention solutions.
We believe there are affordable and creative solutions to tackle food waste problem that they do not necessarily break the bank. Our mission is to simplify the process and uncover ways of making it happen.
3 Areas to Exercise Food Waste Management
Prevention solutions can be implemented in different corners of your business from production to menus.
Your success can be better guaranteed if you invest in your team by increasing their engagement through proper training and make waste management practices part of their on-boarding.
Ways to Implement Food Waste Practices
Inventory and Purchasing Management
- Conduct frequent Inventory Count and make smart Purchasing Plans (Inventory Management System can be a costly alternative)
- Have real-time control over your stock and the sold items
- Review supplier Invoices & purchasing reports
- Establish proper Purchasing Policy
Packaging and Storage
- Customize your order quantities to Match production plan and demand
- Communicate with your suppliers and explore different packaging sizes
- Economies of Scale can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Understand the cost of excess stock and use the economies of scale to your advantage
- Set up and organize Smarter Storage
- Use “Right to Left” rule
- Utilize historical data to Forecast future productions
- Have a menu Integrated with purchasing and production procedures
- Invest in high quality kitchen equipment such as shark knives to minimize trimming and prep waste
Waste Tracking & Analytics
What gets measured, gets managed
Conduct regular food waste Audit and set Reduction Targets
- Use properly labeled containers for each category of food waste or for each kitchen station (Smart Scale can be a costly alternative)
- Employ simple tracking sheets to identify where most of the waste is coming from:
Extensive menus = More Ingredients = More risks of waste
To achieve minimum plate waste design a simple and lean menu:
- Include reusable items
- Maximize cross – utilization opportunities
- Utilize seasonal products
- Invest in smaller plates and dinner ware and offer different portion sizes with refill options
- Use tray less dining experience
Think outside the box
- Use “Specials” board to sell slow-moving items
- Offer pairing options
- Get creative with your leftover ingredients
How Food Waste Management Drives Profitability?
Industry benchmark for food cost budget is about 30%. On average, food waste prevention practices enable your business to lower the cost by 5-10% and bank the extra money.
The Bottom Line
Through successful execution of food waste management, we believe businesses can decrease their environmental foot print, create a positive image and ultimately increase their profit.
In part 2, we will uncover some of the recycling practices that can lower your waste collection bills.
Certified Professional Accountant (CPA) and co-founder of Revive Land Group
Zahra (Carol) Baghdadi is a Certified Professional Accountant (CPA) and co-founder of Revive Land Group; a hospitality management consultancy offering industry specific services from operational excellence management to analytics.
Revive Land Group’s mission is to tackle our billion dollars food waste problem by partnering with and guiding restaurants and active members of food industry.
Prior to Revive Land Group, Carol has been working for food industry big names for many years but deep down at heart she truly believes in local businesses’ success and she aims to support them through the services her company offers.