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Save On Overhead Costs By Reducing Food Waste

Save On Overhead Costs By Reducing Food Waste

Food waste is a growing problem globally. In Australia, 7.3 million tonnes of food are lost or wasted every year (Foodbank, 2021). Keeping food waste out of landfills makes good business sense if you’re a caterer, restaurant, cafe, or food service provider.

Minimising waste is crucial because it essentially means throwing money away. This article offers various effective approaches to help you reduce waste. Decreasing food waste not only contributes to a more sustainable world, but also helps you save money. It simply involves monitoring your consumption, making wise choices, and exercising some discipline. 

How can you reduce food waste in your business

Organise your dry ingredient storage
Keep a close eye on refrigerated food storage
A good stock control system is key
Engage your staff
Monitor for overproduction
Composting is key
Prepare to provide doggy bags
Donate to a local charity
Reward Hospitality can help you reduce food waste

Monitor pantry ingredients to reduce spoilage

The first step in reducing food waste in your restaurant or café is appropriate shelving and storage so you can monitor the ingredients at a glance. Don’t waste countless hours sorting through disorganised chaos trying to figure out what needs topping up. 

    • Set up appropriate shelving and adjust the tier heights to maximise available space. 

    • Allocate space to specific items and group them so they’re easy to identify and easy to stock.

    • Utilise clear containers when required so the contents can be seen at a glance.


Reduce wasting refrigerated goods

First in, First out. We’ve all heard it thousands of times but it’s so vitally important. As with your pantry, storage and shelving in your fridges and freezers is key to reducing food waste. 

  • Allocate space for specific food or ingredients to save time when reviewing levels and use-by dates. 

  • Utilize clear or open containers, when appropriate, so it’s easy to see the contents at a glance.

  • Label items with colour-coded stickers making it easy to see ‘Use By’, and ‘Best Before’ dates at a glance. 

A good stock control system is key

If you don’t already, employ a good stock control management system and implement ingredient cards for menu items. Explain to your staff the reasoning so they understand the business implications. Once they understand the importance of ingredient measurements not only the consistency of your meals but also accuracy in stock control to reduce wastage, they’ll get on board. This will empower you to monitor weekly and seasonal trends which impact your ingredient orders.

Another practice to consider implementing is monitoring food waste. Allocating rubbish bins to a specific food or ingredient type gives you an idea of waste trends. This form of monitoring food waste allows you to implement changes in portion sizes, menu adjustments, meal prep changes, or ingredient substitutions.   

Rubbish Bins

Engage your staff’s help to reduce food waste

Issues surrounding food waste are shared globally and you’ll find your staff will get on board with your efforts. Every step of the process to reduce food waste involves your team one way or another. 

  • Explain your vision and what you would like to achieve with your staff.

  • Ask your team for ideas to reduce food waste. You’ll find they may come up with some innovative ideas based on their experience and observations in your business. 

  • Set clearly defined goals and processes to achieve them. For instance, we are going to reduce the amount of bread and bread rolls wasted in our restaurant by disposing of them in dedicated bins. One bin will be for those trashed from storage to determine if it’s an inventory issue. Another bin will be for bread or bread rolls not eaten by customers to determine if it’s a menu issue.  The goal is to reduce bread and bread roll wastage by 50% in three months.

  • Report back to your team about the results. This may seem like a mundane practice adding to your busy schedule, but these simple activities may add up to significant savings on your spending over time. Keeping your team involved and up to date with the wins and losses about reducing food waste reminds them about the importance of food storage and preparation when they’re completing daily tasks. 

Monitor for overproduction

Many restaurants batch prepare to save time and money however this can result in considerable food wastage when not managed appropriately. Cook-to-order saves huge amounts of money in the long term and there is equipment to help facilitate this. They are an investment but the money they could save you in the long term far outweighs the losses you’re experiencing with overproduction.

Ensure your kitchen has the appropriate utensils and equipment to complete the job efficiently with as little wastage as possible.


Composting is key

Food waste is a growing problem around the world. It's estimated that one-third of all food produced globally is lost or wasted each year. This not only has negative environmental impacts, but also economic and social consequences. Food waste is a wasted expense, and finding ways to reduce it is not only good for the planet, but also for our wallets.

One way to reduce food waste is to repurpose it in a garden. Instead of throwing food scraps in the bin, consider using them to create compost or fertilize your organic garden. This will not only help reduce food waste, but also create a nutrient-rich soil that will yield healthier and more abundant crops. You can also donate excess produce to local farmers or community gardens, helping to build community resilience and reduce food insecurity.

Prepare to provide doggy bags

It’s not a sexy term but doggy bags are a key component to reducing food wastage and offering your customers a little something extra for their patronage. Have takeaway containers on hand should your guest want to take away their remaining meal. Go that extra mile and have a special message printed on your food packaging thanking your customers for visiting your business. 

Be sure to check out regulations regarding packaged food to ensure you’re meeting all requirements for food safety. 

Takeaway Packaging

Donate to a local charity

Did you know, there is enough food in the world to feed everyone? Yet, so much food produced in commercial kitchens ends up in the bin. It’s a waste of money and a troubling thought given the number of people who go to sleep hungry every night. 

One-third of all food produced is lost or wasted – around 1.3 billion tonnes of food costing the economy close to $940 billion each year. However, one in nine people (793 million people globally) doesn’t have enough to eat and is undernourished. (Ozharvest, 2016

There are many struggling and/or homeless who would gladly accept your donations and there are charities around the country that facilitate this. Why throw food away when it can be provided as a donation to someone who needs it? If you have a crisp record-keeping system, your accountant will no doubt have a plan for you to obtain tax offsets for your donations. So why throw your food in a bin when you can provide it to those who need it?

Be sure to utilise appropriate containers and clearly label them with ‘donate before’ stickers to help the staff determine what is suitable for donation. Some cost-effective and suitable options for storage and labelling for you to consider are:

Reward Hospitality helps reduce food waste

We hope we’ve provided some inspiration to help your business reduce food waste. This isn’t a definitive list and there are many more practical and genius concepts. Sustainability and reducing food waste are popular topics and social responsibility is important to clients. Once you implement processes to minimise your food waste, don’t be afraid to promote your endeavours with your customers. They’ll be impressed by your work and it will develop their loyalty to your brand. 

Take the time to browse our catalogue. There’s an array of products that will benefit your efforts to reduce food waste and save your business money. We also have a team of experts available to assist if there’s a specific product you need, or if you’re not quite sure what you are looking for. 

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