We offer some tips to improve your restaurant’s sustainability by reducing food waste.
Reducing food waste is currently one of the restaurant industry’s biggest challenges. It has a considerable impact in three main areas: environmental and social and professional . Our food is an important factor on which we can act in favor of the planet, because 26% of greenhouse gases have a food origin. According to European Union statistics , 88 million tonnes of food waste are produced in Europe each year*, most of it during consumption at home or in restaurants.
Have you assessed food waste in your restaurant? Do you know how to reduce it? We offer some tips to improve your restaurant’s sustainability by reducing food waste. The planet and your customers will thank you!
1. How to improve the sustainability of your restaurant
You can start your fight against food waste from an operational point of view : 63%* of restaurants are now more attentive to this problem.
First of all, it is essential to make your team aware of this issue and show them that you can significantly impact the environment at your level. You can train your staff in the best methods of inventory management and conservation of raw materials. Training is essential to ensure that the procedures will be applied correctly and over the long term.
Do a food waste audit in your restaurant : make sure your inventory is closely monitored, and analyze the leftovers to get an idea of the waste. This approach will allow you to place your orders with precision and optimize your purchases.
t is also crucial that sustainability is an integral part of the kitchen mindset to reduce food waste. Based on your analysis of leftovers, you can modify your menu according to your customers’ preferences, replace products frequently left on the plates with other ingredients, or even remove them from your menu. Also be sure to proportion the portions on the plates. Be creative to make the most of leftovers or products nearing their expiry date: you can find ways to cook them and prepare staff meals, always remembering that safety and quality must remain top priorities .
Strive to offer seasonal products : not only will you please your customers’ taste buds, but you will have a significant positive impact on the environment. According to a TheFork study, more than 70%* of respondents are more attentive to the origin and quality of their food (sustainability, organic food, etc.) and 30%* have changed food suppliers during confinement in favor of new suppliers more focused on sustainability. Look for local producers and get good products at a fair price. 52%* of restaurants are more attentive to the origin of their products and 15%* have already taken the plunge by opting for new suppliers offering more eco-responsible offers.
2. How to make your customers aware of your actions to reduce food waste
After having audited your kitchen practices, you have many effective solutions to communicate on your restaurant’s sustainability with your customers. This can be beneficial for you, as flexitarian, vegan, and vegetarian customers are attractive targets for restaurant managers.
Highlight dishes made with seasonal and local products: highlight them on the menu with enticing photos or appetizing descriptions, or add a mention such as “Recommended by the house” or “Often ordered”. Customers are often seduced by the dishes displayed on the slates, because they know that these are the best dishes of the day.
Offer your customers vegetarian or vegan dishes: to be “veggie-friendly”, your restaurant must keep abreast of culinary trends, and you must think of ideas for dishes and drinks adapted to these diets.
Democratize the habit of taking leftovers to your restaurant. This custom is more widespread in some countries, but cultural habits are slowly changing towards more responsible food consumption. Avoid using plastic containers. You will find suitable containers made of recycled and recyclable paper or cardboard.
Do not hesitate to make your actions against food waste known to your customers, because it is a global problem, especially due to consumption habits in developed countries. However, this trend is not irreversible and mentalities are changing. You can use social media to post images of your seasonal dishes, presentations of your local suppliers and sustainability best practices, and even interact with your community to share ideas on positive action to take against food waste.
It’s a bet where everyone wins: the planet, society, your customers and your restaurants. Are you up to the challenge and transform into a more sustainable restaurant?