Food waste is as much a problem in restaurants as it is at supermarkets and in the home. Forbes recently ran an article about a new restaurant management system called Tripleseat that is helping eating establishments to reduce food waste. The software centralizes ingredient ordering.
Many restaurants have a separate bar and food operations in which the managers of each section order ingredients separately. This kind of system contributes to food waste. The food side of the business and the drinks side do not communicate with one another. Ordering ingredients for both in a centralized system change that.
However, if the restaurant’s kitchen has fruits and vegetables that are too bruised or unsightly to be used in cooking meals, the bar staff will know that fruits and vegetables are available that can be made into smoothie drinks. Food waste thus diminishes tremendously.
Orange and lemon peels, which ordinarily would be thrown out, can become garnishes for cocktails. One restaurant is using its leftover marinara sauce to make Bloody Marys.
Conversely, if no one is ordering mojitos, the extra mint can be used by the food preparation side. The possibilities are almost endless.
Centralizing ingredient ordering and supply not only decreases food waste, but it also improves the restaurant’s bottom line. The profit margins of any place that serves food and drink tend to be quite thin. Any change that reduces costs can be the difference between a restaurant staying open for years or going under.
The lesson from the Tripleseat system could be applied to food management at home. One can make drinks out of fruits and veggies that are too old to use as cooking ingredients. Soft drinks that have become flat and leftover sauces can still be used to marinade meat. All that would be needed is a little creativity.