One of the challenges that you may face in a food business like a cafeteria, diner or restaurant, is leftovers or food that goes to waste. It could be foods or ingredients before serving or after serving. Foods that go to waste before serving include those that were mistakenly prepared and spoilt ingredients. Items that go to waste after serving are leftovers from customers that they already paid for.
Food waste can cost you money. Plus, it also harms the environment. It adds to the trash thrown in the landfill, which could turn into toxic gases when processed. There are various ways you can prevent wasting food in your business.
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Label ingredients properly and use them before they spoil
One of the most common reasons for food waste in a food business is ingredients that spoil. You must be organised with your stock so you know what you have and you can use them before they reach their expiration. Mark your ingredients with visible and easy to read expiration dates. Arrange them so that you will use those that are near to expiration to prevent them from going to waste.
Use ingredients that have a longer shelf life
There may be ingredients that you need fresh, although they may spoil faster. However, there are menus where you can incorporate ingredients that don’t need to be freshly bought and can last longer. For example, individually quick frozen (IQF) fruits are amazing for desserts and baked goods. Since they are frozen, they will last for a longer time. Strawberries are some of the popular frozen fruits available and you can find IQF strawberry suppliers in the UK where you can get them.
Make proper inventory
A proper inventory ensures that you know what you have so you can prevent overbuying. Check your stock regularly and you can be sure that you will have the things that you need for a smooth business operation. At the same time, it can prevent food waste, which can also save you money.
Track what food goes to waste and how much
Find a way that you and your staff can easily track foods that end up in the garbage bin and their amount. You can then develop strategies for how to resolve the problem. For instance, if ingredients go to waste because of incorrect preparation, you may provide proper training to your employees to prevent it from happening again.
Monitor number of customers and popular menu items
This will help you in your forecasting. Keeping track of the people that dine in your restaurant will give you a better idea of what days have high traffic and which ones are slow. With this, you will know how much food to serve on specific days. Determining which items on the menu are popular and not will also help you see which ones to keep and to remove or improve.
It could be impossible to have zero food waste in your food business, but you can do something to reduce it.