An unseasonably warm summer and the World Cup tournament have been a welcome financial boost for the hospitality sector but it's not come without challenges.
Services and infrastructure are feeling the strain as businesses manage the notable influx of footfall through their doors that accompanies the rarity of British sunshine. This inevitably means higher food waste levels and concern for many businesses over waste storage space limitations, subsequent hygiene risks, wasted expenditure and poor stock management.
Read on for our useful tips on managing food waste in your operations this summer:
1. Monitor and track what you’re throwing away
The average pub throws away around £8000 of food waste per year. Reduce cost and wastage space by identifying what you’re throwing away and review progress on a monthly basis.
This is easy to do and will allow you to fully understand where most of your food waste comes from. Food preparation? Spoilage? Customer plates? Separate waste into different bins and track what you’re throwing out or invest in food monitoring tech (see our tip number five for more detail on this).
2. Work to reduce pre-consumer food waste.
Ensure perishables are stored correctly and they are not being unnecessarily wasted before being used. Staff training on food preparation can also significantly reduce waste, for example in adopting a first in first out refrigerator rotation system. Get your staff to start dating all produce that's being stored, to show exactly which products should be used first.
3. Work with your team and develop a food waste reduction strategy
Think about your menu, outside of the kitchen. Are you offering too many options and causing unnecessary food waste? You can even give customers the option to make meals smaller, offer certain sides as an optional extra.
When customers are able to customise their food choices more, its much less likely you will see food coming back to the kitchen. Similarly you can also offer smaller main meal portions if you still notice unfinished meals on a regular basis.
Communication is key with your team to identify where food waste is happening, review with them and get feedback on where it is highest. Your floor team will know which meals are often let unfinished and your kitchen staff will tell you where they see over expenditure in food supply!
4. Organise your bins
While it may seem trivial, getting an organised waste storage and collection plan is essential. Achieve this and you will be able to avoid your customers noticing bad smells from food being stored too long or running out of waste space altogether.
Your business could also be wasting money by mixing recyclable waste with general waste and sending it to landfill. Recyclable waste is cheaper to process, it’s free from the restriction of landfill tax. Ensure you have the resources and storage in place to keep wastes separate.
Seek out the possibility of getting an onsite audit from your waste contractor, as professionals they will advise you and seek the best solutions that are tailored to the needs of your premises.
It is also useful to request data from your waste management contractor, find out how much has gone to landfill and how much has been recycled. Because recyclable waste doesn’t attract landfill tax, it’s worth speaking to your waste management provider about food waste services and avoiding landfill as a cost saving solution.
5. Invest in new technologies
Invest in long term food waste solutions like an onsite aerobic digester for food waste, cardboard baler or glass crusher. These technologies are designed to save you space, collection costs and increase your sustainability.
Most aerobic digestion technologies also allow for monitoring of food being deposited, meaning your business can identify which foods are thrown away the most. Similarly there are also cloud based technologies which solely allow you to record food waste digitally, without the capability to process waste onsite.
Cardboard balers can reduce the volume of cardboard waste by up to 90%, maximising your bin storage and dramatically reducing the handling time of your staff.
Glass crushers noiselessly compact your bottles to into sharp free glass, increasing both efficiency and storage space. Higher end compactors are capable of an 8:1 glass compaction ratio and can store up to 800 beer bottles, while fitting in busy environments.
If you’re looking at monitoring your waste, increasing your efficiencies and saving money, these technologies make the process a whole lot simpler!
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