The food industry loses a staggering amount of money each year to food waste. Food waste can have a big effect on a restaurant’s bottom line, but in many cases, it can be avoided.

First, it’s important to understand where food waste is occurring in your kitchen. Have a system in place for tracking which ingredients are getting thrown away and with what frequency. Decreasing the order amount of particular ingredients or removing them altogether can help cut down on the amount of food that ends up in the trash. Make sure that your food vendor offers flexible order qualities on the items you use the least.

Take steps towards maximizing the shelf-life of your food in any way possible. Make sure that all refrigeration equipment is always in good working order by inspecting it frequently. Most importantly, make sure that your restaurant is ordering all of your food and drink supplies from trustworthy suppliers. All ingredients should be checked for freshness upon delivery but partnering with a top-rated supplier, to begin with, will ensure that deliveries regularly meet your restaurant’s quality standards.

Make sure your menu is designed to minimize waste as well. Naturally, you want your menu to incorporate a wide variety of ingredients but be careful not to overextend your offerings to the point that you’re unable to rotate your inventory efficiently. Additionally, your staff should be trained to take note of and report situations where post-consumer waste can be decreased. If your staff flags a particular dish the customers seldom seem to finish, there is an opportunity to make the portion size of that dish smaller to cut back on food waste and cost.

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your kitchen may still find itself with excess inventory. When that happens, you still might be able to save that food from going to waste. If possible, have a system in place to donate food that is still safe to consume, but that you are unable to use for whatever reason. There are many programs that will happily take your food donation to help feed those in need. In many cases, the food donations your restaurant makes to these organizations are tax deductible. Having a donation system in place is not only a good way to cut down on waste, it’s also a great way to support your community.

Minimizing food waste starts with effective supply chain management. Source1 Purchasing offers many solutions to help restaurants get the best prices possible on their supplies.

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