It is often hard for those working in the restaurant industry and other related fields to fully understand how much food waste actually costs. The most obvious one is the loss of paid product, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Food waste affects businesses in multiple areas.
Lost Sales Profit
The cost paid for the wasted food product is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about food waste costs. However, this is only part of it. There is also the loss of the sale of food to customers. Food that is wasted cannot be sold. The USDA estimates that 30-40 percent of the US food supply is wasted, coming to around $161 billion worth of food in 2010. The result of this is that one ends up paying for wasted food twice, on both the supply and demand sides.
This can have great effects on smaller business, especially on the managers. In a fast-paced setting such as a restaurant, there is often little time to spare in a workday. Food waste uses up the time of managers and employees in multiple ways. It will take time to recognize that a food item is no longer good to be served. Then, a worker will have to take the time to dispose of it. This uses up valuable time that could go toward keeping the place running as smoothly as possible. Also, managers must stock and order more supplies as needed. Greater food waste will cause more time to be spent on this task.
Increased Disposal Costs
Aside from lost profits and productivity, there is also the cost of actually disposing of food waste. Fees paid to dispose of this food are not cheap and can add a lot to the operating costs of a restaurant. According to Modern Restaurant Management, disposing of food waste can cost a third of the original cost of purchase. These costs will add up and are an excellent reason to start working on reducing food waste.
By factoring in food waste prevention, restaurants can become more conscientious about their costs and improve sustainability; reducing their environmental impact too.