managing food waste

How To Reduce Your Food Wastage To Under 2%?

According to a study, approx. 70,000 kg of garbage is dumped by the restaurants every year. Food waste in restaurants has more than merely what the customers choose not to eat. It also contains pre-consumer kitchen waste due to incorrect food preparation, spoiled food, trim waste, over-production, etc. This means 4-10% of purchased raw materials becomes a waste even before reaching the table.

This food wastage not only affects your food cost but also affects your overall business profits. So, how you can reduce your food wastage to under 2%? Read on to find out!

Avoid Overbuying

4-10% of pre-consumer wastage occurs because of overstocking of perishable raw materials. For lesser wastage, you need to understand the daily and weekly raw material requirements based on the following:

  • Number of diners coming to your restaurant in a day or a week
  • Raw material required in the popular dishes in your restaurant

Give your Chef and his/her team an estimated number of diners based on last week’s turnout, ongoing promotional activities, last year findings, etc. This would give a better sense of expected food quantity to be prepared. With time, this data would become more valuable and eventually, you will be able to plan better.

Use ‘FIFO’ Rule

Make FIFO (First In, First Out) a must-follow practice of your kitchen’s Standard Operating Procedure. In this, the newer stock is routinely placed behind the old stock. This way the older stock will always be used reducing its chances to expire or go waste.

Monitor The Portion Size

Sit with your head chef to plan the correct portion size for your customers. The best way to plan this is by asking your customers directly. Take feedback from your customers about the portion size. Based on their feedback, re-analyze the portion size. You can also add multiple portion choices to your menu to encourage your customers to order what they want.

Start Weekly/Seasonal Specials

Re-purpose your unused raw material with weekly special promotions. You can promote a food item at a discounted rate for a limited time offer. You can also run seasonal special to sell items during certain months to prevent storage issues. You can also engage your waiting customers by serving them an appetizer made from extra food products stored. You can make these events backed by data to help you be more accurate and prevent stock issues.

Use Technology to Reduce Food Wastage

When it comes to reducing and monitoring food wastage, your POS Software can be your best friend. If integrated with an intelligent inventory management system and receipt management software, your POS system will give you detailed reports about what to purchase, when to purchase and how much to purchase. Based on your requirements, you can set alerts for low stock items. This way you can control stock wastage by preventing over-purchasing as well save your restaurant from running out of a certain item on the menu.

Know Your Inventory Days on Hand (DOH)

Inventory DOH (Days on Hand) is the average number of days to which you can hold your inventory before it becomes a ‘waste’. For example, if you order 280 kg of chicken and use approx 70 kg of chicken every day based on the number of diners and how popular your chicken dishes are, then the chicken is ‘on-hand’ for 4 days.

Food items having lower inventory days means that that food item is quite popular among your diners. You can reach out to your vendor and negotiate a better deal on these items. What we would suggest is to revisit your inventory reports every two months to be on the top of what is selling and what’s not along with increased cost of food items due to seasonality, market trends, etc.


For an average restaurant, the cost of raw materials is the second largest expense after rent. If you follow the above-mentioned practices of inventory and recipe management, you can reduce your food cost by 10% and food wastage under 2%. Since, food cost can represent 28-35% of sales in restaurants, capturing pre-consumer food lost can offer a critical boost to profitability.