7 ways to manage your restaurant’s food waste and have a more sustainable kitchen

top tips for managing your food waste

If you’re working in the hospitality industry, you’ll know that there is a fair amount of food wastage – not just from customers failing to clean their plates, but in the food preparation areas too.

According to WRAP, a charity working with businesses to help them reduce waste and increase sustainability, the cost of the 1 million tonnes of wasted food from the UK hospitality and food service sectors was around £2.5 billion in 2011 – with 21% of that waste from food going off, 45% from food preparation and 34% from customers’ plates.

And with only an estimated 12% of food waste being recycled, it’s clear that an important step to increasing sustainability in the kitchen is to get to grips with this problem.

We are supplier members to Considerate Hoteliers – specialists in providing responsible business solutions to the hospitality industry. We asked them for their top tips to help chefs and caterers tackle their food waste issues so they can make an impact quickly. Here’s their advice:

  1. Order smaller portions of fresh produce

It might sound obvious but only buying what you need – smaller portions, and more often, rather than making a single bulk order – will help you avoid chucking away large quantities of food that’s gone off before you could use it.

  1. Label and date your new supplies

Staying on top of which produce needs to be used first helps to so aim to label and dating anything new that comes in to your kitchen. Aim to stash new goods at the back of the cupboard, so that the older produce at the front will be used first.

  1. Cut less popular dishes from the menu

A meal isn’t selling so well? If you’re regularly throwing out ingredients from one dish in particular because it’s just not being ordered as often as you’d like, it’s time for a rethink.

  1. Use leftover ingredients in other dishes

If you end up with lots of annoying offcuts of meat or veg from a particular dish that you normally have to throw out, it’s time to think outside the box. Simply add to your menu another dish that uses up those leftovers, and your kitchen will naturally produce less waste.

  1. Train your staff to care about your kitchen’s food waste too

It’s all very well trying to cut down on your levels of food waste, but the rest of your team needs to be on board too. Make sure you update your team on why this is important as well as how to throw away less food safely. We find it helps to review your team’s food handling procedures and preparation schedules.

  1. Make it easier for your customers to take home their leftovers

If it’s good enough for New Yorkers… In the Big Apple, rather than clearing half-finished meals from plates into the bin, waiting staff offer to bag or box their customers’ leftovers so they can take them home for another meal. For maximum sustainability, choose biodegradable takeaway boxes.

  1. Be flexible on portion sizes

If you can, offer the same dish in starter and main course sizes to suit different customers’ appetites or taste. We’ve found it a popular move among diners – so much so that you may even find you sell more of that dish.

For extra tips on how to run a more sustainable professional kitchen, get in touch with Considerate Hoteliers and

Don’t forget that Proper Oils can collect all your waste cooking oil. To find out more about Proper Oils’ services, or to book a used cooking oil collection, call 0208 894 9476, email info@properoils.co.uk or simply fill in our form

Read more:

Why we’re working with Considerate Hoteliers
Customer case study: Blacklock restaurant in the City
Why we’re lobbying government for tighter carbon targets for the biodiesel industry
6 things to think about before you choose your used cooking oil storage container

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