How to reduce restaurant food waste

Learn practial strategies for reducing restaurant food waste that improve operations and increase profits.

food waste

Food waste is a significant cost driver in restaurants. An average restaurant spends around a third of its revenue on inventory. That same restaurant also wastes 50,000 lbs of food per year on average. 

An effective way to reduce this cost driver is to implement temperature and humidity management systems. However, remote monitoring is only one of several ways to prevent loss events. Read on to learn more best practices to reduce food waste in your restaurant. 

Managing perishables

There are several ways to manage your product better, consequently minimizing the number of times you need to replace your inventory. A commonly used process in managing perishable inventory is the FIFO (First In, First Out) structure. FIFO is the process of first selling perishable inventory closest to its expiry date. 

Tips for implementing FIFO:

  • Label prepared food with its prep date
  • Shifting newer inventory in front of older items  

By implementing FIFO, you can prevent discarding older inventory by using it before it goes bad. Simultaneously, operators can save money by avoiding purchasing new stock before it’s necessary.

Internal inspections

Excessive inventory ordering can be a significant factor in food waste. Proper records of orders’ delivery and expiration dates can prevent inventory from needlessly being thrown away.

To keep track of what inventory you do (or don’t) need, some restaurant owners recommend taking the time to perform a walk-through of your storage areas. Regular walk-throughs allow the opportunity to analyze your stock. When performing these checks, take note of dated labels, sales figures, and supplier invoices. 

Another solution is to assign a designated team member who watches over deliveries as they come into the building. This technique will ensure that the food is easy to locate and accounted for.

Inventory management systems

End-to-end inventory management systems (IMS) are a tool to make it easier to perform internal inspections. These systems impact every aspect of the supply chain across food distribution, transport, and services. For larger restaurants that directly ship or produce inventory, IMS can quickly help catalog every item and track orders from warehouses to restaurants. 

This software allows you to quickly analyze trends to increase shipping speed and reduce food loss in transit. IMS also will enable you to scan barcodes on your smartphone and track your inventory. As you continue to analyze loss and sales trends over time, you’ll get an accurate picture of future inventory needs. These findings allow you to make further optimizations that reduce food waste. 

Refrigeration equipment monitoring

One of the largest reasons why food is wasted in restaurants is the improper storage of temperature-sensitive ingredients. This occurs when equipment malfunctions or human error (such as doors left open or unplugged equipment) causes walk-in temperatures to rise.

Therma° wireless temperature sensors prevent equipment downtime and food spoilage. After an easy setup, temperature and humidity sensors record your equipment data and provide analytics that help you identify and fix daily temperature spikes. The Therma° alert system also notifies your team when temperatures suddenly change, so you can ensure that your inventory remains at desired temperature thresholds.

In conclusion… 

Solutions to reduce your food waste range from inventory walk-throughs and easy temperature sensors to utilizing inventory management systems. These various strategies are effective in reducing food waste and your carbon footprint, while simultaneously improving your bottom line.

For more tips on reducing food waste and streamlining operations, click here to view other articles from the team at Therma°. To learn more about Therma°, visit our product page, or schedule a meeting with a friendly customer service representative.

Never miss a story!