Restaurant Blogs

Tips for Reducing Restaurant Food Waste

Food waste is a source of considerable loss for restaurants with inventory management software, menu optimization and predictive analytics playing a key role in handling the issue. Here’s 8 easily applicable tips for your restaurant to reduce its food waste significantly!

Food waste can come from many different places like unsold food at local markets or other retail establishments such as produce. It can come from restaurant plate scraps and unconsumed prepared food that is completely edible. It can also be a result of trimmings such as food scraps from kitchens, cafeterias, or restaurants, as well as leftovers from the production of food and beverages. In fast food restaurants, 10% of the total amount of food ordered is wasted, compared to 12% in full-service restaurants, according to a research published in 2020.

According to this research focusing on food waste reduction, restaurants throw away 4% to 10% of the food they purchase, and 30% to 40% of the food they provide to customers never gets consumed. According to the United Nations Department of Agriculture (UNDA), this causes a considerable loss for the restaurant business. Reducing food waste not only benefits the environment but also contributes to cost savings for restaurants. Here are some easily applicable tips to effectively reduce food waste in your restaurant!

Replace Outdated Ordering Systems

With restaurant technology, you can run your business more successfully and efficiently while also wasting less food internally. First and foremost, an inventory system will guarantee that your kitchen only orders what is truly required and that your back-of-house personnel are always aware of what is in stock. Many POS systems have this capability today. By using an up to date POS system you can more accurately estimate the required quantity of food through analyses of previous ordering trends and customer behavior.

Food Waste Audit

Discovering the primary source of your waste is the first step in learning how to reduce food waste in your restaurant. Making a food waste tracker to record all of your front- and back-of-house food waste for a certain time, like a week, is the best method to accomplish this. Include the items’ weight or quantity, the manner in which it was wasted, the date, the time. You’ll be able to compare the information on your food waste tracker with data from your POS system’s inventory reports to pinpoint where your food waste is mostly coming from.

Avoid Over-Prep

The time of year and even the day of the week will affect your particular inventory needs and requirements differently. Instead of constantly over-prepping, which leads to more food waste, you can use your POS reports to estimate how busy your restaurant will be at different times or days, and prepare accordingly! Keeping in mind the annual trends restaurants experience, especially specifically in your area, can be crucial for this step. You can read more about this in our blog post Annual Restaurant Trends.

Reduce Portion Sizes

The portions at many restaurants are excessively large and many diners can’t even finish them. Offering multiple portion sizes on your menus, such as a "half" or "full" options or providing a rough estimate of how many people each item would serve can additionally be included on your menu. You can also serve menu items in portions that are suitable on smaller plates so that diners still perceive their plates to be quite full!

Track your Dishes’ Success

You can easily conduct periodic menu analyses to identify whether there are any underperforming dishes. If so, consider removing or modifying items that consistently generate a high amount of food waste. You can track the popularity of your dishes with your POS system’s order reports of customers. Remember that having a menu with too many choices might make it challenging to find ingredients with many uses, thus, simplifying your restaurant's menu to a smaller one can be beneficial for you. With DYNE's Restaurant Dine In Analytics, on top of tracking your dishes' success you can start forecasting customer demand and sales based on previous customer insights and trends, which can drastically decrease inventory costs and food waste in your restaurant.

Cross-Use and Repurpose Ingredients

Finding products that can be used in several recipes, such as those you store often and in big quantities, is another crucial waste control strategy. This will enable you to benefit from the financial reductions associated with buying in bulk while guaranteeing that none of your components decay and end up as food waste due to insufficient use. You can also get creative and encourage your kitchen staff to find innovative ways to repurpose leftover bits that would otherwise go to waste and create weekly specialty dishes that customers wouldn’t find on a regular menu!

Donate and Share

You can always start donating your excess or leftover food to donations close to your restaurant and help those in your community who are in need! In cases of not being able to donate certain dishes or last-minute items that occur at the end of the night you can work with businesses like Too Good To Go, which allows stores/restaurants to sell surplus food at a discounted price to customers of their app or with Second Harvest, which works with charities and non-profit organizations to find edible surplus food that businesses can’t use and get it to people in our communities who need it.

By implementing these tips, your restaurant can significantly reduce its food waste, save on costs, and demonstrate a commitment to sustainable practices which can also be appealing to environmentally-conscious customers, and make a difference in your community!

DYNE helps restaurants manage their food waste through efficient menu optimization, streamlining inventory management, and providing actionable insights about their customers. Book a demo or reach out to our team today with to see how you can optimize your restaurants' efficiency with DYNE!

Written by
Gizem Keskin

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