In the US, the restaurant industry generates about 11.4 million tons of food waste annually at a cost of roughly $25 billion every year. One study shows that restaurants could realize an additional $620 million in profit potential per year by adopting prevention solutions. For every $1 invested in food waste reduction efforts, restaurants can realize about $8 of cost savings.
Quick tips to prevent & reduce food waste in restaurants/hospitality:
- Download DHEC's Smart Businesses Don't Waste Food Guide.
- Conduct a waste audit. Determine what your waste is and how much it's costing your business.
- Crop Planning. Meet with a local farmer to plan your menu around what is in season or available.
- Buy smart. Adjustments in purchasing can save money and potential food waste.
- Do the FIFO. First in, first out.
- Be creative. Be creative with kitchen excess. Create new dishes out of repurposed ingredients like broths, stocks and soups. Use unusual parts of produce like squash blossoms and stems.
- Donate. Instead of tossing extra produce, canned goods or prepared but unserved food, contact a local food bank or shelter. Feeding the Carolinas Foodbanks
- DHEC supports and encourages donation. Is it legal for restaurants and other businesses to donate? YES!
- Compost. Most businesses will need to contract with a compost hauler/vendor or find a community garden/compost area. Vendor Info
- Potential cost savings.
- Feeding people, not landfills.
- Gives restaurants/hospitality an opportunity to enhance their reputation with guests, staff and investors. A study by Unilever revealed that 72 percent of American diners care about how restaurants handle food waste and 47 percent would be willing to spend more to eat at a restaurant with an active food recovery program.
- Employee engagement in the program increases job satisfaction.
- DHEC's Retail Food Establishment Regulations
- DHEC's S.C. Smart Business Recycling Program provides free, confidential technical assistance for recycling and food waste reduction.
- ReFed's Restaurant Resources to Reduce Food Waste provides restaurants with measurement and tracking tools, tips, recommendations, strategies, best management practices and more to help prevent wasted food, save money and be a leader in the industry.
- Leanpath offers comprehensive tips, technology and recommendations to restaurants and kitchens on how to reduce food waste.