How Restaurants Can Reduce Food Waste

Ser Seng Herbs (Turtle) Restaurant Editor

December 19, 2022

Although it might not be noticeable upfront, there is an alarmingly huge problem in the food industry: which is a growing rate of food wastage. An estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted worldwide each year, in which a staggering 40 percent is contributed by restaurants and food businesses alone.

Whether it is from fast food franchises or specialty restaurants such as herbal turtle soup restaurants in Singapore, landfills are constantly being flooded with food that could have been salvaged. Keep in mind that this is about food that can be repurposed or donated, but non-food items like plastic cutleries and packaging add to it as well.

So ultimately, it is crucial for restaurants to start being aware. This article will give you tips on how to cut down the amount of food wastage your restaurant produces. But firstly, you should know what kind of waste there are:

Types of Food Waste

It is crucial for you to understand the waste that you will encounter in order to properly tackle its management. Many restaurants do this, especially when it comes to specialty restaurants such as herbal turtle soup restaurants in Singapore. A great example of this is Ser Seng Turtle Soup, who happen to be one of the best places that manage their waste. Ser Seng Turtle Soup does this by segmenting their waste into two distinct categories:

  • Pre-consumer waste: This is waste that is made before food reaches the customer’s table. For example, if a chef mistakenly overcooks a piece of meat and it has to be thrown out, then that will count as wastage. Waste such as this can account for up to 10 percent of a restaurant’s total waste. 
  • Post-consumer waste: This type of waste includes all the waste that is produced after food is served to the customer. A prime example is an unfinished food, which then has to be thrown away.

Why Should Restaurants Reduce Food Waste?

The small action of wasting food daily leads to an avalanche of repercussions; each year, massive amounts of landfills are created to accommodate food wastage, to the point where many countries are facing what researchers call a “landfill capacity crisis.” 

Not only will this take up land and space, but landfills are also detrimental to the environment. As food deteriorates, it produces methane gas which contributes to climate change. Not only that, but it will also contaminate the ground and surface water surrounding it.

Out of all these reasons, the most significant one that benefits a restaurant directly is that they can cut costs. Managing your restaurants’ output in a way that produces less waste means that your business is efficient. Hence why it is important for food businesses to prioritise productively using each ingredient, they have on hand without excess.

Ways to Reduce Food Waste in Restaurants

Once you understand the benefits of reducing food waste, here are some ways you can start:

1. Track the Food Waste

In order to start managing your food waste, you have to first understand where the waste comes from. This can be as simple as having a tracker where note down each time waste is produced. The tracker can account for a time span of one week and include both front and back-of-house food waste. You can also jot down what and how much of food is wasted, as well as what leads to it being wasted.

2. Practise Good Stock and Inventory Management

After you understand how your restaurant produces waste, you can then adjust your stock and inventory to meet the essential needs of your day-to-day operations. Aside from accidents happening in the kitchen or out on the floor, wastage can happen when ingredients become spoiled too. 

Make sure you have good refrigeration and practice rotating your inventory to avoid items exceeding their expiry date. Having a good inventory management system can help a long way with this. 

3. Control Food Portions

A common dish that plenty of restaurants have is a “big breakfast,” which typically consists of big portions of foods many people know. Though it stays true to its name, having large portions creates a higher probability of food being left uneaten. Research shows that customers often leave about 17% of their food unconsumed. Hence, reducing food portions can generally lead to lower wastage, as well as freeing up extra inventory stock for the future.

The restaurants that hold true to this concept are specialty restaurants, whose ingredients are limited and harder to find. Ser Seng Turtle Soup, the restaurant that sells the best turtle soup in Singapore, is dedicated to limiting its food wastage wherever possible.

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