You deal with it at work every day, throwing perfectly edible food into the garbage. Whether you are FOH or BOH, it is an issue we can all relate to and an unfortunate side of the industry that we can change. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could snap your fingers and that edible food getting thrown out goes to someone in need, or those food scraps are diverted from landfill? Not only is it tragic, but it is also money out the window. That’s why we are kicking off our blog with your number one concern… Food waste!
Below are five simple tips to help your restaurant reduce food waste:
1. Efficient Bin Placement: It should be easy peasy and mindless for staff to properly sort waste from the dining room. Since most of the waste coming from the dining room is food waste, then the organics bin should be the most convenient in the dish pit. That way putting food scraps into the compost bin will be automatic, and food waste is diverted from landfill. If you are doing waste haulage with the City of Toronto, this will also save you money on garbage bin pickups, since composting is free.
2. What is left on the plate?: Keep an eye on what guests are leaving on their plates. For example, if you find that perhaps the portions are too large, try scaling back. This will reduce your food waste, and the associated ingredient and waste haulage costs. This seems like a no brainer, but you would be surprised.
3. Allow mods: We know modifications can slow things down in the kitchen, especially during brunch service! But allowing guests to feel comfortable asking for a portion of their meal to be excluded will keep them happy, and also can reduce your food and waste costs. If they don’t want the bun, what is the point of keeping it on the plate if it is going straight in the bin after?
4. Find uses for any scraps: This one can seem a bit obvious, but keeping this in mind can be very useful. Got scraps from prepping vegetables? Make stock for a soup special! Got apple cores and skins leftover? Add water, and you’ve started your own vinegar. Loka in Toronto does something that we love, which is take water leftover from preparing potatoes, reducing/dehydrating it and creating potato glass. Guests love it, adding to their experience! Notice what you are throwing out, and get creative.
5. Feed it to those in need: Did you know that when donating food, you are not liable according to Ontario’s Donation of Food Act, 1994? Get that delicious grub to someone in need, and donate to Second Harvest! They do regular and one-time pickups, at no cost, and you also save on waste haulage fees! Win-win. More info about donating: http://www.secondharvest.ca/donate-food