Finish your food! Many of us heard this at the dinner table as kids. Our parents didn’t want us to waste food because it's valuable, and throwing it away would be like throwing money away.
As a QSR owner, you know the value of food, too. It helps you earn a living, provides jobs, and feeds your community. This makes food waste prevention even more important for keeping your business profitable and sustainable. But, how can you reduce food waste?
Here are four restaurant loss prevention food waste solutions every QSR owner should know.
1. Keep close track of your menu items
Your menu will naturally have items that are more popular than others. Keeping track of popular and unpopular items will help inform your purchasing decisions. If you're stocking too much of unpopular menu items, then the surplus will go to waste. Use your sales as a guide to reduce the amount of food you buy and reduce the amount you waste.
And of course, don’t forget to check with your brand’s suggested order guidelines before making any major decisions with your menu items.
2. Educate your staff on food storage
A lot of food is wasted because staff members don’t know how to store it properly or when to throw it out. By the same token, one of your staff members might throw food out early because it wasn’t labeled correctly or because they don’t know how long it lasts. Dedicate time to teaching your staff how to store and label food in order to seriously reduce food waste.
Furthermore, if your brand allows for food to be carried over to the next day (cooled and reheated), make sure your team is well-versed on both the cooling and reheating process for the product.
3. Train production staff and cashiers
Poorly trained production staff and cashiers can lead to food waste. To prevent such waste, ensure your staff knows the proper steps in recipe production, how to scrape pans and containers, line production, how to prep following a schedule or guide, and closing and carry-over procedures. Searching for sinks, garbage cans, and even dumpsters is a great way to identify gaps.
On the cashier side of things, train your employees on POS operations because orders rung incorrectly create waste. Cashiers who know the menu in and out, anticipate guests’ needs or requests and can navigate the system to help prevent such waste from occurring.
4. Check your food temperature and quality
Serving high-quality food at the assigned temperature and proportion is mandatory to maintain customer safety, ensure customer satisfaction, and protect your brand. However, mistakes do happen. And serving food that isn’t the right temperature can result in customers sending it back. That food is then thrown out, which creates a lot of waste. When you ensure that only high-quality food goes out, it will reduce the amount of returned food and the amount of food waste. It also creates a better experience for your customers. So, it's a win-win all around.
The best food waste solutions come from careful tracking
To reduce food waste and increase efficiency, you need to keep a careful watch on your menu, inventory, and food waste numbers. Based on these numbers, you can make intelligent business decisions to help you reduce your food waste. When you do this, you’ll save money, save food, and create a more efficient operation.