How to Use Your Point-Of-Sale System to Reduce Food Waste at Your Restaurant
RMIT University's Watch My Waste project has found that 23 per cent of all food that restaurants and cafés buy for their business ends up in the bin. This high level of waste has a huge financial cost. It also generates extra work stocking, preparing and cleaning up wasted food, and it negatively affects the environment. Do you want to waste less and earn more? Here are some ideas on how to do it involving your point of sale equipment.
Monitor your waste
Before you can reduce the waste at your restaurant, you need to know exactly how it is coming about. Conduct your own food audits regularly and notice what is happening in each of these areas.
- Do you order too much? Then the food will go off before even getting to the kitchen.
- Do you have the necessary conditions to store the food that you are ordering? Check that all your equipment is in good order and measure the temperatures regularly.
- Do you cook too much? Measure the leftovers at various times during the day that you could not sell.
Front of house
- Do your customers usually finish their food or are there leftovers?
Once you have established the main sources of food waste, you can choose the appropriate strategies to eliminate the problem.
Automate your ordering
Use reports from your point-of-sale system (POS) to establish average amount of sales, as well as any fluctuations based on days of the week, public holidays or seasons. You can then decide on the optimal amount of stock to hold so that you have enough to cover your restaurant's needs, but not so much that the food goes off. Program your POS system to send out automatic purchase orders once the stock reaches critical levels or on certain days, depending on the demand you are expecting.
Optimise your cooking systems
Your POS system will report the volume of orders by time of purchase, and this will give you a clear idea what demand to expect at different times of the day. Once you have this information, it is easy to set up systems in your kitchen so that food is prepared and pre-cooked (where necessary) in smaller batches and in line with the demand. Not only you will waste less food, your meals will also come out fresher and taste better.
Introduce different sizes
Bigger is not always better, and giving your customers portions that they cannot finish will not necessarily impress them. Big portions can put your customers off their favourite meal. Introducing different portions sizes and letting your customers choose how much food they want will solve this problem. At first glance, it may look like you are creating a lot of extra work for your stuff, but it is, in fact, easy to add options for different portion sizes to your POS system. Your stuff will be prompted to ask the customer which size they prefer, then all that is needed is a click of the corresponding button and the order will be sent to the kitchen.