Stop Wasting, Start Saving: Reducing Food Cost with Waste Management

Food waste is costly. According to the USDA, food waste makes up 30-40percent of the total US supply. This costs approximately $1.61 billion annually. At Restaurant Magic Software we would like to decrease food waste. We’ve identified 5 frequent reasons for surplus food waste, and what you can do about it. With a tiny supervision you too can be on your way to reducing your food costs and improving your bottom line.

The first step to reducing waste associated food cost is to find out where your waste is coming from. Implement a monitoring system to see where you’re really losing your meals. You could be amazed by what you find. The USDA estimates that merely tracking your waste may lower your food costs as much as 2-6%. That’s worth a little effort, if you ask me. You may track waste with pencil and paper, but to realize the entire benefit, use a waste monitoring software like Data Central’s Waste Management Module. With this tool it is easy to monitor waste and identify long term trends.

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Common Sources of Waste

  • Over-ordering — It is tough to know what you actually need on hand. All of us have slow times in the business, or once popular dishes that fall from favor. With no inventory management solution, it is really just guesswork, and that can be costly. Using software that can cross-reference daily head counts with sales items and weather conditions can show you revenue trends. With this information it is possible to be sure you are ordering just what you need available.
  • Accepting spoiled/wilted products from vendors — Damage happens in transit, particularly to delicate produce like leafy greens. Do not let this waste in your restaurant. Teach your employees to accept only quality food items. Make sure they understand what to search for when inspecting incoming item. Give them clear direction about the best way best to communicate with the delivery driver and vendor if something has to be sent back.
  • Improper storage requirements — Carefully handle the conditions of your own kitchen to maximize the shelf life of your food items. Be certain that you maintain walk-ins and food storage areas clean and in good shape. Look closely at your dry storage. These things may not need as much care as perishables, but you can maximize their shelf life by taking some basic precautions. Keep items like wine and beer in a dark, cool area to improve long-term excellent
  • Organization — Devise a policy for meals turnover and adhere to it. Most of us use FIFO (First In First Out). This is excellent in theory, but difficult to accomplish if the organization does not support it. Make sure things are properly tagged and shelves are organized and uncluttered. There is no way that your kitchen staff may use the ideal thing if they can not see it.
  • Staff — Modest waste can accumulate. Staff attitudes and practices make a difference. If your team is not scraping the mixing bowl you have excess waste. Maybe just a bit, but that little bit adds up over time. Ensure that your staff knows the value of meals cost and also be clear about planting waste. If you model the behaviour and publicly discuss waste-reducing practices it’s going to be much easier to get everybody on board.
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If you really wish to cut back on waste, consider using a comprehensive management solution. A program, like Data Central by Restaurant Magic, permits you to monitor and handle your food deliveries, identify and record waste, economically take inventory and receive enterprise level reporting. You won’t need to manage several spreadsheets or heaps of paperwork. It can provide you all of the information you need in one location, providing more meaningful insights into your food cost equation.

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