How to reduce your food waste in five simple steps

Apr, 05 2022
How to reduce your food waste in five simple steps

As a hospitality business owner, you’ll know how much of a challenge controlling food waste can be. It’s a constant struggle to make sure everything that comes in, goes out and that nothing is thrown away. On top of this, we all want to make our businesses more sustainable, and minimising the amount of food that goes in the bin can play a massive part in this. After all, food waste isn’t just an issue for your bottom line, it’s also an issue for the planet. 

We believe that these five steps will help any restaurant, cafe or pub to reduce their food waste quickly and easily, so read on!


        1. Be more organised

This tip is all about getting that label-maker out and really going for it in terms of controlling the flow of supplies in the kitchen. Here at Leslie, we honestly believe that if there’s one thing that will reduce your food waste overnight, it’s upping your organisation skills. 

It really helps to be at the top of your organisational game from the moment you put your menus together, to the moment your customers consume your food. What happens to the produce in your kitchen in between is the key. 

Keeping your menu concise can help to reduce the risk of food waste, according to Foodtank, the thinktank for food, which states: ‘Restaurants account for a high percentage of commercial food waste, and most wasted food comes from menus that are too large and focus on variety rather than popularity.’ 

When produce does enter your kitchen, adopt a first in, first out, (FIFO) stock control model to make sure that older produce is used up before more recent stock. This alone should go a long way to keeping your food waste down. Keeping tabs on the date food enters your kitchen is also vital, so make sure everything is clearly labelled. Food that has been portioned out or decanted should also be marked with the date it arrived or the date by which it needs to be used.


        2.  Don’t over-order

Once you’ve decided on your menu for the day, week, month or season, it’s time to get your produce ordering just right. This can, of course, involve some trial and error, so design “specials” to use up ingredients you’ve over-ordered while you work out correct volumes. 

Providing you can adapt your menu quickly, it’s often better to run out of a certain dish, and have to take it off the menu, then have large amounts of produce left unserved at the end of your day. 

Adopting  QR code menu technology, such as Leslie, can increase your agility with regards to your menu, helping you to remove items or add specials at the touch of a button, without having to reprint or even brief staff about menu changes.


        3. Get agile, with Leslie

This brings us on to to our next tip – get digital! In the new post-Covid world, most restaurant managers have learned that technology can bring incredible benefits, from a financial, efficiency and customer experience perspective. One of the simplest ways to adopt technology in your cafe, restaurant or pub is to offer at-table ordering directly from customers’ phones through a digital ordering service. 

Leslie enables hospitality businesses to transfer their menus to backend-less apps accessible quickly and easily through a QR code on tables. Business owners can make changes to their menus in response to supply issues, such as over-supply of certain ingredients, helping to reduce food waste in the process.


        4. Upgrade if you need to 

If your food storage is sub-standard, upgrading your equipment to ensure that your produce is being kept at the correct temperatures, is a must-do. Not only will your produce stay fresher for longer, minimising food waste, but you will also buy yourself more time to use produce while it’s still in tip-top condition, saving you cash and improving the quality of your dishes. 


        5. Get donating

If you do still find that, from time to time, you don’t quite manage to serve all the food you purchase from suppliers or prepare for customers, there are ethical options. Businesses such as Too Good To Go provide an online platform through which to sell your surplus food to local people at the end of your day of service. This can help you to claw back money you’ve spent on the produce while helping to reduce the amount of food that’s going in the bin.

You can also donate surplus food to charities that will distribute it to people in need. For example, Fare Share is an incredible charity that helps businesses to redirect unused food to where it’s needed most. Some businesses may even be eligible for up to £50,000 in funding to help them reduce their food waste. 

If you’re looking to donate on a smaller scale, your local food bank will happily take donations, which will be greatly appreciated as the cost of living crisis continues to hit households across the UK.

Any changes you can make to improve the efficiency and organisation of your kitchen will help you to reduce food waste, But it will also help you provide higher quality, fresher meals, reduce costs and increase profits. 

Why not prioritise reducing food waste over the year ahead and see what a difference it can make to your business?

Convinced? Want to reduce your food waste? Learn more about how we can help you get greener in your kitchen!