Restaurant Startup Tip: How to avoid food waste

food waste one fat frogOne question that One Fat Frog hears often when talking to restaurant entrepreneurs is “how do I increase profits?” The answer is complicated, but to simplify it, there are basically two ways of increasing your restaurant profits: 1) increase your sales and 2) decrease your expenses. On that second point, restaurant owners and other business owners constantly throw money away by overspending and by spending money on things they don’t need. Reducing expenses to what you actually need will have a major impact on your restaurant profits. One way of doing that is to eliminate or reduce food waste.

A lot of restaurant entrepreneurs buy too many ingredients because they are worried about running out. No one wants to have a server tell a diner “I’m sorry, but you’ll have to change your order. We’re out of steak.” That would be almost as bad as running out of beer when the One Fat Frog team comes in for Happy Hour. It may take a while to figure out how much food your customers will eat, what menu items are the most popular, and when your busy and slow times. But eventually, you should be able to predict how much of each menu item and ingredient you need to keep in stock. Anything over the amount that will be used in orders will cost you money. You don’t want to run of anything and not be able to fulfill an order, but you don’t want to throw away food, either, so finding the right balance is key.

Another way to reduce food waste is to look at your menu. Do you have a lot of different dishes that use totally different ingredients? Or do most of the dishes share ingredients with other dishes? If you’re spending a lot of money on ingredients for just one dish and it’s not the most popular item on your restaurant menu, you might want to eliminate that dish. Eliminating underperforming dishes on your menu and those with unique ingredients can help you reduce expenses and increase your restaurant profits. A more profitable restaurant owner and a happier restaurant owner, and One Fat Frog just wants you to be happy.