Running a restaurant presents a range of challenges, and one of those is inventory control. You have to be able to order enough food so that you have the dishes offered on the menu, but at the same time, you don't want so much food that it ends up going rotten before you use it. Luckily, there are a range of ways to avoid the latter.
Check out these essential tips on reducing wasted food in your restaurant kitchen:
1. Write specials that use up old food
Effective chefs should know how to write specials that use up aging ingredients. If you've got fruit just starting to go soft in the back of the fridge, put fruit crumble on the dessert menu. If you've got slightly older veggies or leftover bits of meat, funnel them into a stock or a cottage pie.
With a bit of menu creativity, you can avoid wasting food.
2. Rotate and label all incoming orders
So that you don't find surprises in the back of the fridge, everything should be rotated and labeled. Every time a vendor drops off food in your kitchen, your staff should pull the old food to the front of the fridge, and they should put the new food behind it. They should also label everything with a date to ensure they know when it needs to be used by.
3. Make sure fridges are at proper temps
Regardless of how well rotated the food is, it will get rotten if the fridge isn't at the right temperature. Make sure you are checking fridge temps on a regular basis, and keep the fridge well maintained. If its motors aren't working correctly or its seals are broken, it won't be able to protect you from wasted food.
4. Donate aging food
When you can't find a creative way to use aging food, donate it. Local soup kitchens and food banks accept all kinds of food, and in most cases, you can write off the value of the food you donated. Now, instead of throwing food in the garbage, you are effectively reducing your tax burden as well as helping your community.
5. Hire a consultant to look over your strategies
If you've tried all of the above ideas and you are still throwing out more food than you would like to, consider having a consultant look over your operations. There are food service management professionals, like those from New Horizon Foods, who can help you streamline your inventory process so you minimize waste and save money.