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Sell, it don't bin it

The Restaurant business is worth over £40 billion which is a lot of customers! However, not all of the food which is sold ends up in the customer’s mouths which has led to over 3. 4 million tonnes of wastage coming from catering companies each year. This has a major financial impact as an average restaurant wastes up to £1,700 a year on waste. Food Waste is a very big issue when it comes to the Hospitality sector and if you as a Hospitality business owner helped tackle it, the whole sector could save a massive £724 million a year!

Sell, it don't bin it

Here are some simple and useful techniques to limit your food waste:

1. Make sure you only buy what you need

As a business owner, you are always looking for a bargain so that you can increase profit. However, this could lead to you overbuying fresh produce as you think it is a good deal, the problem with this is that you may not have the demand to sell the extra produce which will lead to it being stored for too long which will lead to it becoming out of date and spoiled. This will lead to the produce becoming unsellable meaning that you will make no money on that which will actually mean that you will lose money and will have to pay out to get the food waste removed. So make sure that you know exactly how much you need and that is the amount you buy. One way to take advantage of an offer is by asking the supplier can you receive the produce in various stages of ripeness or products with a long sell by date so you can store them for longer without them being unsellable.

2. Inspect all food orders before you make a payment and accept them.

When you receive a food order, there is a chance that the food could be damage or spoiled which would mean that you will not be able to sell it and would have to throw it away which means that you would have wasted money on the order and would have to buy more which will increase the costs and severely damage the profits of the business as you will also have to pay for the order to be binned. This means that it is extremely important to make sure the order is in date and is in good condition before you accept it. Check all of the sell by dates or ripeness of the products you buy so you know that you will be able to sell them before they become spoiled.

3. Ensure that produce and products are organised and stored properly

All products must be stored in a food box or packaging wrap to prevent them from being cross contaminated which will lead to them being contaminated with bacteria and could lead to it being wasted which will increase costs and increase the food waste. Also make sure that the food is stored in the correct temperatures with frozen foods being stored at 0 degrees or below and refrigerated foods being at 41 degrees or below so that they do not get too warm and end up going off. It is important to keep everything organised and labelled so that you know when items must be used by which will allow you to use the first in, first out method which ensures that the items that have been there the longest are used first so that they do not get wasted. Another useful tip is pre cooling hot products before they go in the refrigerator because otherwise bacteria will grow rapidly, you can do this by putting them in an ice bath or cooling paddle. One important tool to have is a thermometer on your fridge or refrigerator so that you can monitor the temperature so that it does not get too hot or cold.

4.Portion Control

One major challenge in making sure that food is not wasted is controlling the portion sizes you sell, one way to combat this is by investing in portion control scales which will weigh out the portions before the employees sell them so you should give your employees a certain weight each size portion should be. This is because then it makes sure that the employees are not giving out too much food because then it will lead to the food being wasted and the profit per portion decreasing as too much produce is being used for each one which could damage the profit.

5. What to do with food that is near it’s sell by date

When food is near it’s sell by date, the last thing you want to do is throw it out. One method you could use is when you think that a certain item will not sell out before it’s expiry date is by placing a temporary offer on it which will reduce the price and could lead to more people buying it due to a reduced price leading to a profit being made instead of it being thrown out. Another method is by sending unused food which is going to go to waste to the Food Donation Connection which supports those who need the food which could boost your image and ethics as you are donating to charity which will give you a good brand image and could lead to more customers coming to your restaurant.

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