NRA food wasteAre your hard-earned dollars going out with the trash or getting lost in the compost pile? Nationwide, restaurants throw away millions of pounds of food each day.  Measuring your waste is the best way to proactively protect your bottom line.

Today’s restaurants are placing increased attention on food waste management to rein in costs. The topic even ranked among the top 10 culinary trends for 2015, according to the National Restaurant Association’s annual “What’s Hot” chef survey.

The first step in reducing food waste is measuring and tracking what’s being thrown away, says Andrew Shakman, CEO of LeanPath, which offers automated food waste monitoring systems. The company’s clients typically slash their waste in half, cutting their food cost purchases 2 to 6 percent, according to Shakman.

“Measurement brings awareness and drives change,” he says.

Record why each item is trashed — prep waste, cooking errors — so you can identify problem areas and training gaps. After more than 10 years of helping restaurants reduce waste, Shakman has found that most pre-consumer food waste is due to four factors. Click through for more insight to conquer these problems:

  • Overproduction
  • Expiration
  • Spoilage
  • Trimming

If you still have excess usable food after taking steps to reduce waste, consider donating it to the hungry. The National Restaurant Association’s Conserve program offers tips on how to safely donate food to those in need.

For additional best practices pertaining to food waste, consult the Food Waste Reduction Alliance toolkit, a joint project by the National Restaurant Association, Food Marketing Institute and Grocery Manufacturers Association.

At the state level, make sure you utilize the “Managing Food Waste in New Mexico” booklet published by the New Mexico Recycling Coalition.

Contact us if your restaurant has good food waste or recycling tips to share!