Q: I think we are wasting a lot. Do you have any hints or tips on how I can stop wastage without seeming like scrooge?

(26 /09 /2015)

Ask iChef – this week’s question:

A: Waste is such a dirty word. It is as bad as high food costs. There are a number of things to look out for:

  1. Over ordering, are you getting in more that you need at particular time of the week? With the ease of getting supplies, look at your past sales to see the peaks and troughs in the week. This will give you a good idea on when to increase you stock levels.
  2. Kitchen sections par levels. Set suitable par levels for each section of the kitchen – say enough prep for a 2 day period or again use past sales history to gauge the trend in item sales. Sometimes a kitchen team can get a little over zealous in prepping as it may seem like it will make the later part of the week easier with less to do, but if the week isn’t as busy as hoped, there is a great chance of all the food spoiling.
  3. Track your dishes to see what is or isn’t selling. Make changes to the menu based on this and utilise the ‘slow’ items’ ingredients to make a new ‘special of the week’ or simply make the slow item the special to boost sales and reduce…wastage!.
  4. Consider waste coming back from customers. This can be seen as over sized portions. Ask floor staff to ask if everything was good when retrieving plates from punters to gauge what the concern was with the meal, they may say it was just too much. This will be a good opportunity to revisit your recipes to set portion control measures.
  5. Watch the storage temperatures of fridges.

These 5 steps are simple to implement and will help you face the wastage battle head on!  It is one of my pet hates, my staff are sick of me always going on about it! Honestly though, wastage is a great indicate of the health of the kitchen – portions too big, recipes need to be changed or updated.  It all helps in keeping your business fresh!

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