Food waste is a common problem in food companies. This is because, in addition to the food that is not consumed by customers – resulting from too abundant dishes and disproportionate portions, for example -, the production process itself can be optimized, which would bring a better use of the ingredients used in the restaurant.
Developing a loss prevention strategy in your restaurant is a sustainable measure that can help reduce costs for your company. In this article, we will explain how you can put a plan in place to reduce waste. Are you interested? Then read on!
Understand the benefits of avoiding waste
Reinforcing the culture of using ingredients in your restaurant is a measure that brings a series of benefits to the company and to the environment. Check below some reasons why encouraging this practice can bring benefits to the community and to your company!
On the other hand, data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) indicate that more than 7 million people in the country live with hunger. The loss of food occurs in all the processes of the chain. In other words: in the harvest, in transportation, in distribution and in consumption.
This information alerts us to the importance of implementing practices to reduce food waste. Measures can be taken at the time of purchase, when choosing products, and during consumption. Later on, we will give some practical tips to avoid the loss of inputs with some changes in the habits of buying and preparing food.
Making smart choices when buying, storing and cooking ingredients can be an excellent way to optimize the restaurant’s cash flow. Thus, you buy only what is necessary, which prevents food from spoiling or running out of date. In other words: shopping consciously is a way to avoid food waste and also save money with ingredients – which increases your restaurant’s profit margin.
Improves the sanitary safety of the work environment
Badly preserved or expired food attracts more bacteria, which can harm the hygienic conditions of the workplace. On the other hand, by implementing a loss prevention culture in your restaurant, it is possible to have more control over the quality of the ingredients used and use the food before its expiration date.
Check out 7 tips to avoid food waste
We have listed below 7 good practices that you can apply in your restaurant to avoid food waste. Check them out!
- Prepare a menu with similar ingredients
Preparing a menu that has several ingredients in common is a good tactic to avoid losses. It prevents items used in only one or two dishes from losing their shelf life due to low output.
In addition, thinking about the menu strategically is a great way to optimize time and resources in the kitchen. Using a smaller variety of ingredients is a way to save time on shopping, since it is not necessary to search long and hard for specific items.
Preparing the menu with similar ingredients also helps with the organization of the kitchen, since you can find all the elements more easily.
- Take advantage of all the food
This is an essential tip to reduce losses in the kitchen. Try to make the most of all the ingredients available, even if it is to add more flavor to the food.
Also, try to make the most of food that looks shabby. Many times we discard fruits, vegetables, legumes and other components because of their appearance when, in reality, only part of the food could be discarded and the rest used in a meal.
- Buy imperfect foods
Many consumers stop buying natural foods that are shaped differently or have bruised shells because they mistakenly believe they may be spoiled.
Not so! Even with all their imperfections, most of what we find on the shelves of markets and fairs are suitable for consumption. Buying these foods is an excellent way to contribute to sustainability since, because of their appearance, they could be wasted by lack of consumers.
- Be careful with the storage of products
The proper conservation of products is another essential factor to avoid waste. Pay attention to the storage location: preference should be given to dry, ventilated places that are not exposed to the sun.
- Keep food at the recommended temperature
To avoid the risk of ingredients expiring prematurely, storing them at the recommended temperature is essential to ensure preservation. For this, it may be necessary to invest in equipment such as commercial refrigerators, refrigerated counters, among others.
- Make a stock and replenishment control
The best way to avoid losses in your restaurant is to have an accurate stock control. For this, it is recommended the installation of a management software that can automate this administration.
Some systems indicate in advance the need to replenish the stock according to the replacement frequency, which can avoid problems in the kitchen, such as lack of spices or expired ingredients. The tool can be very useful for the purchase of non-perishable foods, since they have a longer shelf life.
- Have an estimate of expected customers per day
For better food storage and purchasing management, it is recommended that the restaurant management estimate the number of expected customers per day in the establishment. This will help the company to have better control of the volume of items it must purchase for the short and medium term.
For this, you can make an average of the number of customers received in the last three months and identify the periods when there was more or less movement. Moreover, requesting reservations is also an effective tactic to estimate the number of customers expected at the restaurant.
Learn how to incorporate new values in your company
Avoiding food waste must be a collective practice in the restaurant. Therefore, it is important to stimulate this culture among the company’s employees and collaborators.
Below, we have listed some ways to incorporate these values in your company. Check it out!
Hold a lecture on the subject
Gather your employees for an educational talk on the subject and explain the benefits that avoiding waste will bring to the restaurant and to the environment. Raising staff awareness is the first step to implement this culture in the workplace.
To do so, gather some updated data on the subject and, if necessary, invite a specialist to discuss the topic. In addition, try to illustrate the positive impact that this behavior can have on the restaurant – such as, for example, cost reduction and better working conditions in the kitchen.
Distribute educational materials
Creating educational materials to reinforce the importance of avoiding food waste is an effective measure to raise awareness among employees during the adjustment. This can be done by creating posters and handouts for employees to refer to whenever they need to.