Excessive food wastage is probably the number one reason for sites not achieving their target GP. It is critical that we keep an eye on, record, cost and control all food waste. It is critical that we track and minimize waste in the kitchen and at the service counter. Here are 9 quick tips that can help you to better manage your wastage.

1. Remember, all waste needs to be costed

Create a list of products that are regularly wasted and their cost price for quick reference. Keep this list handy when calculating the value of the waste. Waste should be calculated at cost price.

2. Wastage sheet

Remember to keep a wastage sheet on a clipboard in the kitchen and one at the service counter. Also, recording waste should not just fall on the shoulders of the kitchen staff but it is the responsibility of every employee and manager. Waste should be recorded as soon as it happens rather than at the end of the day

3. Plastic container

Use a clear plastic container in the kitchen to collect all food waste generated in the kitchen i.e. trimmings, burnt food, food returned from the service counter etc. This will allow everyone to see the waste as it builds up during the day and make it easier for the chef to monitor the waste. Hopefully, if you consistently show your employees the waste, they will become more aware of the impact excessive waste has on your overall GP.

4. Spot checks on your outside bins

Get heavy gloves and go through the bins occasionally. This clearly establishes you are committed to controlling back door theft. It’s easy it is to throw a case of meat under the rubbish and stick it in your car while you’re outside.

5. Review what is coming back from your dining room

How much of your food costs are going into the trash because of excessive portions? Adjust the size of your meal portions if you find they are consistently being returned unfinished

6. Use clear bags in your bins

This will allow you to see everything that has gone into the bins at a quick glance. Check the bins every day. You will be surprised by what your staff may throw out. Cut and scrape all containers. Squeeze out all product from bags. Be sure to have plenty of rubber spatulas on hand at all times.

7. Carefully rotate stock in the vending machine

When a sandwich comes to within one day of its shelf life take it out of the machine and place it the grab and go fridge to ensure that it sells. If you have a weekend vending offer, when you are putting sandwiches into a machine on a Friday, ensure that their shelf life is long enough so that they can be sold from the grab and go on the following Monday.

8. Make sure that you are storing food correctly

Prevent freezer burn, contamination and spoilage because of improper storage. Code-date all products stored in the freezer and rotate properly. Arrange your refrigerated and dry storage areas to facilitate easy product access and rotation. This will help minimize waste due to spills, breakage, and spoilage. Identify trends and patterns – are you throwing away a lot of one particular type of sandwich or main course?

9. Have a weekly manager/staff meeting

Discuss the wastage and identify opportunities to reduce wastage in your unit. Set a weekly wastage target and communicate it to the staff. During the week compare actual waste against the target.