In Malaysia, an estimated 16,688 tonnes of food waste is generated every day. The second-largest contributor to this are restaurants and food courts.
Food waste is one of the most challenging aspects to control when it comes to running a restaurant. In identifying a restaurant’s food waste, kitchen waste is considered one of the biggest components. In the following article, let’s dig deeper into how restaurateurs can minimise their kitchen waste with three approaches.
Kitchen waste is a category of food waste that specifically refers to food that spoils or expires without ever being used. This makes it slightly easier for restaurateurs to control, as it all comes down to thorough inventory planning and monitoring.
An increase in kitchen waste consequently leads to a larger volume of food waste. A recent study estimated that excessive food waste itself causes $2 billion in losses for restaurants, which shows just how detrimental waste volume can be in affecting a restaurant’s profitability. It is therefore imperative that restaurateurs equip themselves with effective ways to manage kitchen waste.
In minimising kitchen waste, a restaurateur must first have a detailed record of how much ingredients are usually wasted. By gathering enough data, they can then have a better assessment of what aspects of their inventory management need improvement.
Instead of tracking kitchen waste manually, restaurateurs should consider utilising an inventory management platform such as Food Market Hub to digitalise the process. Food Market Hub provides a Stock Wastage feature, which allows daily kitchen waste to be recorded permanently. This feature helps restaurateurs quantify their kitchen waste, which alerts them to adjust their next purchases more accurately.
In terms of ingredient usage, restaurateurs must adopt the most efficient methods. The FIFO (First In, First Out) method is one of them, and it must be practised diligently to show results. The method requires close monitoring and constant arrangement of stock. It is crucial to keep items that are close to their expiry date more accessible for usage.
To avoid cross-contamination, a proper storage placement is a must. If raw meat is stored too close to vegetables or cooked meat, it can lead to a faster rate of spoilage and be unsafe for food consumption. Restaurateurs should consider separating not only food storage areas but also food preparation areas. This also includes using separate cutting boards and knives to reduce the chances of cross-contamination during food preparation.
Miscellaneous tasks such as temperature checks must not be overlooked, as it is crucial to keep the right temperature in ensuring a longer shelf life for stocks. Restaurateurs can even invest in high-quality kitchen equipment which can minimise kitchen waste. Small investments such as using specialised knives can even result in less wasted products, which can be very beneficial in the long run.
In maximising the usage of each ingredient, restaurateurs can consider cross-utilisation of ingredients. Also, a great method to reduce food cost, stretching the usage of certain ingredients by adopting it for several menu items reduces the chances of stock spoilage and expiring before ever being cooked.
It is found that poor food preparation contributes to 45% of food waste in restaurants, becoming its leading cause. As such, restaurateurs need to prevent poor food preparation occurring in the kitchen by ensuring proper training for all employees. In doing so, kitchen waste can then be minimised. From proper stock planning, handling to food preparation, there must be a structured guide for all kitchen staff to follow.
It is also important to provide thorough instructions in food preparation by having a standardised recipe. Restaurateurs can also consider utilising Food Market Hub’s features as the platform automates the entire set of production recipes, allowing kitchen staff to maintain food consistency with the standardised instructions provided.
Composting is another effective method in reducing kitchen waste, as it reuses any part of fresh produce that can be composted, as well as old bread products, spoiled fruits, coffee grounds and even eggshells. With composting, restaurateurs can put aside any food scraps into a compost bin.
Converting kitchen waste into liquid fertiliser has become one of the recent trends for restaurateurs too. The methods vary from the organic materials used to another, but ultimately, the steps do not consume much effort and time.
Aside from practising the steps above, it is crucial for restaurateurs to leverage on current technology. They can consider adopting several restaurant softwares that can streamline and automate their back-end processes such as Food Market Hub. In knowing more about Food Market Hub’s latest features, go ahead and give this article a read.