Ways to Reduce Waste in Your Restaurant

It is approximated that over 2,000 pounds of waste is generated weekly at a full-service restaurant. To curtail this staggering fact, immediate quick and simple solutions should be implemented. Minimizing waste created in your restaurant is vital to improving not only the quality of the planet, but also to help your cheque book. By implementing the following guidelines and advice at your establishment, you can effectively minimize the colossal quantities of trash leaving your business each week.

Evaluate Inventory

This requires studying and observing the ins and outs of your inventory to determine flaws in your buying system. Identify the least popular dishes and consider removing them from the menu or limit the quantity of perishable items required to create the dish. Over-purchasing fresh produce is easy to do if your inventory system is not managed effectively. To avoid this, consider refining your inventory down to what is required and reducing extra non-essentials by keeping track of what is continually perishing before usage week after week.

Manage Inventory

Storing your products efficiently and labelling them clearly can prevent items from expiring before usage. Label items when they arrive identifying what the product is, the date it was received, and the approximate date it should be used by. Make sure to store newly arrived products behind older products to guarantee older items are used up before a new box is opened. Make sure all items that require refrigeration or freezing are stored at the right temperatures to improve their shelf life.

Buy in Bulk

When purchasing items required to make your popular dishes, buy in bulk to minimize extra waste.  Purchasing in larger quantity containers involves less packaging. Less packaging means less cardboard, foam, and plastic heading to the dumpster.

Portion Control

If customers are continually unable to finish eating a particular dish, consider reducing the portion sizes. By using portion control scales and training all employees to prepare recipes to a consistent desired portion, you can save on both waste generated and money coming out of your pocket to purchase additional food items.

Some restaurants will pile 14 ounces of fries on a plate giving the impression of a huge meal.  Unfortunately most customers cannot eat this many fries and they end up in the garbage.  A solution is reduce the amount of fries on the plate which will in turn reduce your food cost and then offer free refills to the low percentage of customers that will request them. The customer gets perceived value and you reduce food costs.

Animal Feed

Reaching out to a local farmer is a fantastic way to put perishable scraps to good use. Many farmers will take your food scraps for free to feed their livestock. Not only are you reducing the amount of waste otherwise destined for a landfill, you are helping support a local farmer and a potential meat and dairy supplier.


Implementing a recycling program is an environmentally responsible choice when it comes to cutting down on trash. Although the process of sorting waste into their respective bins is tedious, it is an environmentally conscious and virtuous program. If your methods are shared with your customers, they may be more inclined to return to your restaurant over another because they support your practices.

Inventory management software can help you reduce waste, simplify ordering, and lower menu costing. Contact us today to learn about our full suite of restaurant management solutions.

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