Did you know that more than a third of food produced and distributed in Canada never gets eaten, with significant social, economic and environmental impacts.
The cost to the Canadian economy is up to $100 billion annually while organic waste in landfill generates approximately four per cent of Canada’s greenhouse gases.
In Metro Vancouver, over half of all household food waste could, at some point, have been eaten – things like uneaten leftovers or ingredients that spoiled before they were used. That’s over 100,000 tonnes of avoidable food waste per year!
(Source: Metro Vancouver’s baseline study)
To put that in perspective, each day in Metro Vancouver we waste
- 16,000 heads of lettuce,
- 40,000 tomatoes,
- 80,000 potatoes,
- 32,000 loaves of bread,
- 55,000 apple,
- 70,000 cups of milk
- and 30,000 eggs!
Read more about food waste in Metro Vancouver.
Tips for Restaurant Food Waste
Charitable organizations are always looking for packaged ingredients, entrees and other types of excess food to feed the homeless. Finding these organizations in your community is often as simple as finding a good portal to evaluate them for you.
Check Your Perishables
Airtight containers need to be marked with the date fruits and vegetables arrive and when they are no longer acceptable for consumption. The team at SimpleOrder suggests these foods can be dehydrated so they last longer. If you plan your storage areas so perishable goods are more visible, there’s less chance for waste.
Change Your Menu
If you can analyze which menu items make the most waste, you can reduce their portion sizes or eliminate them altogether.
Buy High End Equipment
Even something as small as a high-quality potato peeler can reduce waste and increase profits over time. By spending more now for high quality kitchen equipment, you won’t have to lose money later on escalating food waste and the costs associated.
Knowing what you’ve got in stock and what’s almost expired is an excellent way to reduce waste. Shopping for good inventory software will help you track what’s consumed on a daily basis and what items often sit before being used.
Cut Out Niche Ingredients
Specialty ingredients can sit on the shelf and go bad before they are used. If you take the items that use these ingredients off your menu completely, you’ll cut down on waste. Or, you might try substituting ingredients you use for another entree as well to save money. Going through your sales numbers should point you in the right direction.
Automate Your Inventory Tracking
Automated tracking systems that work with your inventory reduce over ordering and waste by proxy. The best of these can even help you to track your numbers on a daily basis.
Train New Hires to Reduce Waste
New employees need to be educated on your waste reduction culture as soon as you hire them. Don’t forget to look for their feedback on how you can improve processes too.
Log Those Leftovers
Every small restaurant should have a team dedicated to logging waste to help you understand where it is happening and how to reduce it. Everything needs to be categorized based on how you dispose of it — compost, landfill or recycling. Tracking things this way gives you a very clear picture of what you sell versus what you throw away.
Develop a Composting Program
Putting together a composting program is one of the quickest ways to reduce your restaurant waste. Find out how to separate everything into the proper categories and get the right containers to compost what’s biodegradable.