Waste in commercial kitchens is a major issue. In restaurants alone, food waste is estimated at over £680 million. Restaurants produce over 915,000 tonnes of waste every year of which 200,000 tonnes is food waste. Across the hospitality and food service sector, restaurants produce 22% of the total food waste.
These are all startling statistics but with better food management, storage, preparation and portion control, then this could be reduced significantly. Here are 8 top tips to reduce waste in your commercial kitchen:
1. Carry out a waste audit. Monitor the food that is being returned by customers and the ingredients that you are throwing away. This will enable you to build a picture of how your menu may need to change and the type of ingredients you order.
2. Review your food delivery and stock management, especially for food items with a short shelf life. Are you over ordering? This can be a simple way of reducing waste.
3. Review your menu. Maybe offer choices of smaller portions or adding to your side dish selection so that food doesn’t get left on the plate.
4. Train staff. Make sure your team understand how to reduce waste and that they are all committed to the cause.
5. Doggy bags. Where appropriate, give your customers the option of using doggy bags to take home food rather than waste it.
6. Redistribute to charities – Work with charities to see what food can be donated.
7. Don’t store fruit and veg together. Fruit releases ethylene which can prematurely ripen and spoil surrounding produce.
8. Use appropriate crockery. If you run a buffet service then lots of food can get wasted simply because the plates are too big. Review your choice of crockery and make sure it is fit for purpose.
These are just some of the actions you could take. By taking a few simple steps you can reduce waste dramatically in your commercial kitchen and in doing so, reap the financial rewards as well as environmental benefits.