food waste

How to reduce food waste in your restaurant

In a world where food scarcity is around at many places and environmental problems are challenging our society we have a moral and ethical duty to reduce our food waste. A typical figure you often hear when it comes to food waste in restaurants is 10%. Although a little bit of food waste will always be inevitable there are good ways to reduce your waste significantly and position yourself amongst the restaurants with little to zero waste. It will not only make you and your guests happy, it will save you money too! So, how can you cut back on your food waste? In this blog I will give you 10 easy tips that will enable you to cut back waste and utilize your food resources more efficiently.

1.       Rethink your portion size

A lot of waste simply happens when your guests don’t finish their plates. When this frequently happens, you may want to start monitoring the events. For example, if this happens to specific dishes, people and or days. Subsequently you may want to reconsider your portion size to avoid this food waste in the future.

2.       Get creative with leftovers

Food left overs can happen on many occasions. During the preparation of the meal or after serving it to the guests. Left overs that originate in the kitchen may be re used for other dishes. Get creative! Maybe those egg whites are perfect for a cocktail? Or maybe you can make a great staff meal out of it?

Left overs that arise from the guests may be a delicious treat to animals. You see, there can be a use for anything!

3.       Know what you really need

A lot of future food waste occurs when ordering at the specific vendors as Chefs frequently order to much. A good way to avoid this is by monitoring your traffic to get a better sense about how much food you really need. Also, don’t be afraid to run out of various ingredients. A lot of Chefs have the feeling that guest satisfaction may drop significantly when certain plates are not available anymore. However, guests will understand that fresh ingredients are not unlimited available and when you can offer them a delicious alternative no harm will be done. They will know for sure it’s fresh!

4.       Inspect your food orders

Following our tip about knowing what you need when ordering food at vendors it’s also very important to strictly check your orders when they arrive at your restaurant. Frequently vendors will make mistakes or deliver samples that are of no use to you. Be firm and return anything that won’t be of good use to you.

5.       Improve your knife skills and limit batch cooking

Make sure your staff is thoroughly trained in how to chop, cut and prepare the food to maximize the yield of every single piece. A lot of food waste simply occurs because of poor cutting or use of ingredients.

Adding to this, you may also want to consider limiting the amount of batch cooking. We know it may be very useful to prepare batches to realise quick response times but when batches are not completely used they usually end up in waste. A creative way to use left-over batches may be to offer them as Staff Meals!

6.       Label your food

It may sound like common sense and is even legally obliged in some cases but it’s a very good practice to label all your food when it arrives at your restaurant. This will enable you to use the food with the shortest shelf-life first and wait with others.

7.       Maximize shelf life

Adding to our previous point this may seem like common sense too. However, far too often this goes wrong and may result in unnecessary food waste. Make sure your food is being stored under the right conditions and at the right temperature. This will maximize your shelf life and allow you to limit your waste.

8.       Donate excess food

When confronted with excess food that can’t be used for guests anymore you may consider donating it to charities or other organisations. Almost all the time the food is still very good to use!

9.       Consider composting

If left overs can’t be used for other dishes, staff meals or for animals as discussed earlier you may want to consider composting it.

10.      Encourage guest to take leftovers home.

Taking excess food home is becoming more and more popular these days, especially when you encourage your guests to do so. Many guests will be delighted to accept your offer when you say that you’re more than happy to put their left overs in a box for them to take home. No food waste, happy guests and you just saved money on waste. What a way to go!

These tips where offered to you by Lili Waste Services. Lili Waste offers unique Waste Management services in Leeds, Sheffield, Hull, Portsmouth, Southampton and Kent area for a greener future. For more information about our services or how we may be of help please consult our website: or send an email to