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How Restaurants Can Reduce Food Waste

Abigail Jeanne Stanley

Restaurants and grocery stores today are faced with the problem of food waste. Each year, US food loss and waste make up 170 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gas emissions — the equivalent of annual CO2 emissions from 42 coal-fired power plants. Aside from households, most food goes to waste from spoilage and overstocking practices in the restaurant industry. This is an issue that we need to resolve, given the current shortage of products globally. Tackling the food waste problem can help fight for food security, foster productivity and economic efficiency, and address the effects of climate change. Below are some of the things restaurants can do to reduce food waste:

Invest in inventory control

Effective inventory management can help restaurants keep track of ingredients and resources to identify items that may be spoiling soon and what needs to be restocked or replaced. Fortunately, many automated technologies today exist to help restaurants do this without manually crossing items off a list. Spoiled products from the kitchen contribute to food waste, which also means a loss in your investments and potential profits. No Spoilers’ inventory control solution offers the ability to identify precisely how much food and drink you have while categorizing your inventory into separate units like a freezer, beverage fridge, wine fridge, etc.

Cut down portions

Food often goes to waste when customers can’t finish their food, especially when people cannot take their food home. To cut down on food waste, restaurants catering to tourists, such as Mosia Café in Bohol, Philippines, keep their food portions small to keep their menus fresh and exciting. In turn, this also opens up the opportunity for customers to taste more of the menu, letting them maximize their restaurant visits. Controlling servings in your restaurant can also encourage customers to order more items from the menu. Investing in portioning tools such as specialized spoons, cups, and a portion control plate can help eliminate complications with a dish while ensuring the portions are evenly distributed and won’t leave odd leftovers from the food prep.

Rethink food packaging

Local laws and policies sometimes require restaurants and stores to use recyclable bags and packaging. This is to encourage customers to recycle and avoid littering, but for restaurants specifically, investing in specially made multi-use packaging can also help control portions. For environmentally inclined customers, this will encourage them to take any leftover food home with them instead of letting them go to waste. For example, fast food restaurants in Germany, such as McDonald’s and Burger King, have recently announced their use of reusable packaging as part of compliance with new packaging laws effective January 1.

Promote sustainability efforts

Lastly, one of the best things restaurants can do to reduce food waste is to encourage their customers not to let good food go to waste. While some things may be out of customers’ control, such as expiring ingredients or spoiled supplies, promoting your restaurant’s sustainable initiatives and solutions can set a great example. Services such as CityEcoView help businesses and restaurants promote their commitment to sustainability on the app, allowing customers to easily find local, sustainable restaurants and businesses they want to support. Being open and explicit about your focus on sustainability will also enable customers to connect with your restaurant on a deeper level.

Abigail Jeanne Stanley

Abigail Jeanne Stanley has been freelancing as a writer and blogger for three years. Her interests range from tech to lifestyle, but she is especially fascinated by the intersections between digital advancements and sustainability efforts around the world. When not writing, Abigail enjoys watching funny animal videos on YouTube with her pet cats.