The restaurant industry is highly competitive. With over 620,000 restaurants in the United States, about 59% of them fail within the first three years of being in business. It is crucial that restaurant owners know the best ways to keep their costs low and their profit margins high. Hours could be spent digging through compilations of how successful restaurants cut costs. We’ve done all that digging for you and have found that, while many other opinions and ideas remain, everyone agreed on one thing:

Reducing Food Waste.

1.3 billion tons of food is wasted around the globe every year, and not surprisingly, 40% of that total comes from restaurants alone. According to a University of Arizona study, 11.3% of food purchased by restaurants, ends up being wasted. If the source of the waste can be pinpointed and corrected, it could save restaurants more than 10% of their cost in purchasing food!

Waste can come in many forms – food that spoils before it is every prepared, food that is served and never finished, and finally food that is prepared but never served.

Here are some of the best ways to reduce food waste:

  1. Evaluate your inventory – There is no need to purchase products that are already in stock. Restaurant owners should always know exactly what they have in their inventory. This not only helps when ordering food every week, but helps deter internal theft from occurring because employees know that product is constantly counted and tracked. According to Washington Hospitality Association, successful restaurants constantly watch the financial performance of their restaurant and keep a running inventory of their key products, as well as inventory all other products.
  2. Properly store food items – This maximizes shelf life and keeps things organized.
  3. Find ways to repurpose food items – Yesterday’s mashed potatoes are today’s shepherd pies, and today’s roasted chicken is tomorrow’s chicken pot pie. Don’t make it and toss it. Find other ways to cook with it!
  4. Ensure customer satisfaction by properly and adequately describing a dish on the menu – This will reduce the amount of food sent back to the kitchen, because customers know they will be receiving exactly what they’re ordering.
  5. Track the popularity of a dish and adjust accordingly – Is a certain dish not as popular as you thought it would be? Scale back. Adjust to what is selling on the menu through ordering and preparation.
  6. Encourage guests to take food home with them – Even if it means your wait staff prepares customers’ take-home bags for them, a take-home option will allow your customers to finish their meal later.
  7. Ensure your refrigerator and freezer are maintaining proper temperatures – Proper temperature will help food to last longer.
  8. Perform a “waste assessment” to track which area is incurring the most waste – Keep separate trash bins for food tossed before it is prepared, food tossed after customers have left, and food tossed that was prepared but never served. Weighing the bags is the easiest to learn which area is causing the most waste in your restaurant. Waste assessments are a great way to figure out where most of the waste is coming from. By assessing how much food customers are actually eating, restaurants can learn to change their portion sizes to help reduce waste. It is extremely common for restaurants to prepare more food than they’re serving, and they serve larger portions than customers can finish. This marketing technique is used to draw in more customers, but it can really cause restaurants to lose money because they are throwing out more food than customers they are purchasing. If a customer can be just as satisfied with a smaller portion of food, why not adjust the portion size? The change may seem slight, but it will result in high savings each month!

Are you struggling with wasted food, and consequently, wasted money? Eruza can help your restaurant increase its profits through waste reduction! Eruza takes the hassle out of ordering inventory. By tracking inventory (including expired and out of stock items) and reducing inaccurate ordering, Eruza can help you cut waste by up to 25% by letting you know when and how much to order! If you implement Eruza and other methods mentioned above, we’re confident that your business will be satisfied with the results. Reduce your waste and keep more money in your pocket with Eruza. What restaurant doesn’t want that?