Waste Not. Want Not.

May 17 2016

Cost of Goods Sold Restaurant Management Food Waste

I spend the majority of my days talking with restaurant owners and their teams about the challenges they face in their operations. As most weeks go; I had a lot of conversations about managing food cost and narrowing the gap between Actual and Theoretical food cost.

There are many reasons for this variance – this week’s Hot Topic was waste. How to avoid it – and, how, when it can’t be avoided does one account for it. There are couple of things you can do here:

  • Write out your recipes to account for waste. If you purchase whole, fresh turkeys and roast them onsite. Understand that just because you bought a 17 pound turkey does not make 17 pounds of usable bird… probably more like 11 or 12lbs. Account for the yield and base your plate cost on the portion that actually makes it to the plate.
  • Start a waste journal. Let’s face it – accidents happen. Strolling out of the walk-in with a gallon of Ranch in my hands… get caught up on my own inability to be graceful and watch as the Ranch hits the floor. If there is a waste journal, that Ranch can be accounted for – be sure to leave a field for the reason the product was wasted.
  • End the over-prepping. At some point, over prepping is unavoidable. However, if my trusty waste journal tells me that I am throwing out gallons of fresh salsa every two days – there is a problem in the amount of salsa I’m prepping. A lot of operators would rather have too much than not enough – and I completely understand that… however, you could liken over-prepping to taking money outside and lighting it on fire.

Do you have any suggestions as to how to cut back on waste or how to manage it?

Kristin Aduna

Kristin Aduna

Kristin has over 20 years of hospitality experience specializing in management, controlling costs and personalized customer experiences. Now a Business Development Manager for Ctuit, Kristin works with restaurants to evaluate operations and business processes to determine best practices and solutions for their business needs.