stop food waste

Practical Ways to Reduce Food Waste at Your Restaurant

Food waste is costing restaurants serious cash. Here are practical ways to reduce food waste in your restaurant

It’s unfortunate that the number one item to end up in landfills happens to be food. A study by the Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA) found that 84.3% of unused food in American restaurants ends up as waste.

Food waste is costing restaurants serious cash– to the tune of $162 billion per year. Controlling waste is one of the biggest opportunities your restaurant has to increase its profits.

Ways to Reduce Food Waste

1. Conduct a Food Waste Audit

Do you know how much of what your restaurant is throwing out? You can keep a log of everything that is thrown out on a daily basis and evaluate where you need to cut back on things like paper goods, takeout products, produce, meat, etc.

Encourage staff to jot down descriptions of items that are disposed of. Over time, your restaurant’s waste log will enable you to track your progress and assess whether your efforts have put a dent in reducing waste in your restaurant.

2. Train Your Staff to Reduce Food Waste

Educate both the front-of-house and back-of-house staff about ways to reduce wasted food and teach them tactics they can implement.

Teach your prep cooks cutting techniques that keep food items fresher for longer, as well as techniques that yield the most amount of product from a cut of meat, chicken, fish, vegetable, or other produce items. The more of a food item you can use, the less of that item will end up as food waste.

3. Stop Over-Prepping

If your restaurant’s waste journal is telling you that you are throwing out a certain type of food every two days, it’s pretty obvious that your kitchen is prepping too much of that item.

Forecasting using your waste log will help your kitchen predict what they may need to stock. Accurate prepping will save your restaurant money on food costs and labor needed to prep that food.

Be Diligent About Food Waste

Of course, these are just a few ways you can stop wasting food and help increase your profits. A little diligence and awareness go a long way.

How to Label Food in a Restaurant or Commercial Kitchen

By Leslie Radford

**Updated April 2024

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