8 Ways to Cut Waste in Your Food Service Operation

Friday, August 21, 2020

The average restaurant discards 50,000 pounds of garbage per year. Here are some steps you can take to reduce the amount of trash your operation generates.

  1. Source reduction is one of the best steps you can take to reduce waste. Work with your distributor on alternative forms of packaging and other materials. Some packaging formats use less material and take up less space in both transit and storage—such as frozen pouches.

  2. Remove napkin dispensers from tables and service areas, where customers may help themselves indiscriminately.

  3. Likewise, can your tables go bare? Even if you have to resurface them, you may be able to save money on butcher paper or laundry.

  4. Recycle! Put bins where customers can access them or where front- and back-of-house employees can use them to merchandise as a take-out item.

  5. Cut down on garbage pickups by turning food waste into organic fertilizer; a growing number of communities have programs for drop-off or even pick-up, or you could band together with other operators to implement your own program, perhaps with a local farm cooperative that can use this valuable "black gold."

  6. Look into recycling fryer oil for use in biodiesel or other applications, rather than simply disposing of used grease.

  7. Ditch plate garnishes that don't get used or eaten, like parsley or lemon wedges (customers can always ask for lemon). While you're at it, examine what comes back and goes in the trash to see if your portion sizes might be too big. 

  8. Ask customers if they want bread or put a request notice on the menu, rather than bringing it to the table automatically.