Reducing food waste for pubs

Go to war on food waste

Why is reducing food waste important for pubs and bars?

Lowering food waste and conserving energy to reduce costs has never been so business critical and simple actions can make a big difference.

While the sustainability agendas of operators have largely been driven by environmental and consumer demand factors in recent years, with unprecedented high costs the focus on areas of sustainability, such as reducing food waste and energy use, is now of financial imperative too.

80% of consumers say sustainability is a deciding factor when choosing a venue to visit

Using the whole ingredient

Reduce waste with collection apps

Team buy in

Review food waste options

Flex your ingredients

Using more of a product is an increasing focus. Oakman Group chefs use cauliflower florets to make truffle cauliflower cheese and the leftover stalk is puréed to add to bechamel, which also reduces the amount of milk needed in the sauce.

Use up more of your ingredients

Oakman’s Chef Director Ross Pike says: “It is about trying to be clever where you can and although you can’t do it with everything, if there are ways to use up ‘scraps’, then you should. You do have to consider the labour balance needed from a financial sustainability perspective, too.”

Find products that are zero waste

Lewis Allington, Head of Food at St Austell adds: “We are always looking at produce to help reduce waste, such as using tinned banana blossom to create our vegan-friendly fish and chips. There is zero waste from it, sales are strong and the customer feedback has been phenomenal.”  Find a great recipe for a similar dish here: Vegan Banana Blossom “Fish” & Chips Recipe.

Top up rather than plating too much

Analysing sites’ plate waste may highlight that your portion sizes are too big for some items such as chips, peas, salad or Sunday roast trimmings, and you can cut costs and waste by reducing them. Using crockery, such as buckets for chips and small pots for sauces, can help chefs deliver more consistency in portion sizes and reduce quantities, as well as help make a positive visual impact on customers with dish presentation.

Bidfood’s Development Chef Craig says: “Asking guests if they want a top up of chips or Sunday roast trimmings, so they can have more if wanted but isn’t wasted with too much on the plate, is a good way of helping to manage waste.”

“Offering a top up of chips or Sunday roast trimmings avoids too much on the plate and is a good way of helping to manage waste.”

Reduce waste with collection apps

For unsold prepared food, consider linking up with a food waste app such as Karma or Too Good To Go. While bringing in additional revenue, you’re also helping the planet and people with limited pockets, with the latter app being used by pub operators including Greene King and Liberation Group’s Butcombe pubs.

Build a team of food waste champions

With the need to be tougher than ever on wasting resources, it is key you get all team members onboard to take action. It’s worth considering having a waste champion in each site to help drive a change in habits among staff and collect team ideas for tackling the issue. Look to include targets around reducing food waste in KPIs for bonused team members, too. You could also look to run an internal competition for chefs to come up with the best dishes from ingredients they may have previously thrown away as scraps.

Use third parties to minimise food waste

Partner with local allotments, farms or animal shelters to see if they are interested in any of your sites’ food waste for compost or animal food. Bags of spent coffee grounds for customers to take away for compost is something more pub operators are starting to do. These types of initiatives also create great sustainability stories to share with customers too, and with research showing that 80%[1] of consumers say sustainability is a deciding factor when choosing a venue to visit, continuing to up your game around reducing food waste is also key in helping attract customers.

Focus on commonly wasted ingredients

Our chef-developed food waste matrix can help support your kitchen teams with reducing the most commonly wasted ingredients, as well as providing tasty dish ideas to help ensure ingredients don’t get wasted. Find this useful free resource here: Tips for Reducing Food Waste. WRAP’s food waste reduction campaignGuardians of Grub, has lots of excellent resources to use, too.

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