How can your restaurant reduce it’s waste costs?
Restaurants in the UK throw away 915,400 tonnes of waste each year, which includes 199,100 tonnes of food waste. This is £682 million worth of food that is thrown away every year and is costing restaurants 97p per meal that they serve, which could be avoided. But how do you reduce your waste costs and what other benefits might this have?
What waste does a restaurant produce?
Restaurants produce a lot of waste and a large proportion of it is food waste. Whilst there is a wide range of food that goes to waste, most of the food waste produced by restaurants in the UK consists of bread, potatoes, and fruit and veg. Food waste is produced by several different sources which include restaurants over-ordering and preparing food, and customers leaving leftovers. All these factors lead to large quantities of food waste, which often gets thrown in the general waste bin and sent to landfill. Other waste that restaurants produce includes packaging from the delivery of food, paper such as napkins, glass waste from crockery, and oil waste.
How can you reduce your restaurant waste costs?
Identify your waste
The first step to reducing your waste costs is to identify what types of waste you are producing and how much. This information can be discovered by completing a waste audit which also provides information about what happens to the waste that you produce.
Once you have this information you can start to make changes to reduce waste production in key areas. Waste carriers, such as Flame UK, can provide you with a site survey and report which provides you with detailed information about your current waste production and disposal.
Reduce food waste
One step that will help you reduce your waste costs is to reduce the production of food waste. There are several changes that you can make to move towards this goal. Firstly, attempt to not over-order when purchasing ingredients and only order products that will definitely be used before they go out of date.
It is also important to correctly store food to ensure that it stays fresh for as long as possible and use stock rotation so that the food that arrives first is used first. You can also use portion control to make sure that the meals that you serve are a reasonable size so that customers are less likely to have leftover food.
Whilst you can reduce the amount of food that you prep, it is unlikely that you will be able to eliminate wastage. But you can donate any excess food production to local charities and food banks to reduce the amount that goes in the bin.
Separate and recycle waste
A lot of businesses still only use a general waste bin and a dry mixed recycling bin. However, it is a lot more cost-efficient to separate your waste into more specific categories. Having a dedicated bin for each waste type means that it can be recycled or composted, and you can avoid sending it to landfill. Sending waste is landfill is very expensive due to excessive landfill tax. It has been found that even by recycling just 50% of waste businesses could save as much as £500 a year due to the cheaper costs to recycle waste over sending it to landfill.
What are the other benefits of adopting the cost-reduction changes?
Making these changes will not only save you money but will also benefit the environment. Producing less waste and recycling the waste that you do produce means that a smaller amount of waste ends up in landfill. Sending waste to landfill is extremely damaging to the environment as they release large amounts of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere and pollute the surrounding areas.
It is also beneficial to your brand image as restaurants that are seen to be reducing the amount of waste they produce and moving towards sustainable practices will be viewed positively. This will lead to an increase in sales and profits and is likely to place you above your competitors.
You will also meet Waste Regulations, as, under the 2011 Waste Regulations Act, it is a legal obligation to separate your waste at source and implement the waste hierarchy. This refers to the order in which you deal with your waste and involves reducing, reusing, recycling, other recovery, and then disposal of waste.