10 Tips To Reduce Restaurant Food Waste

One of the biggest stumbling blocks restaurants face is food waste.  It goes without saying that any restaurant, hotel or café will have huge amounts of food waste and this is an ongoing problem for the environment.  If you are concerned about the amount of waste your restaurant has on a daily basis then you should read this guide by Allianceonline.co.uk because there are plenty of methods you could consider adopting to reduce your food waste, help be more green when it comes to the environment and also potentially save some money.

Do you know how much food waste there is in the UK?  Here are a few interesting facts:

Restaurants account for £682 million per year which includes procurement, labour, utilities and waste management – that’s Food_waste_.jpg£3,500 per tonne (source wrap.org.uk).
  • UK restaurants produce 199,100 tonnes of food waste per year (source wrap.org.uk)
  • The average cost of avoidable food waste to business is £0.97 per meal (source wrap.org.uk)
  • More food than packaging is thrown away daily!
  • The food wasted the most is fresh fruit, vegetables, salad, bakery items and drinks
  • The UK’s food and drink waste equates to 4% of our total water footprint
  • Food waste is made up of 45% food prep, 34% customer plates, 21% spoiled goods (source wrap.org.uk)

These figures are very worrying so what can you do to reduce your restaurant’s food waste?  Read our 10 top tips and put some new systems in place.

  • Organise Your Waste Disposal Effectively

There are rules and regulations in place referring to recycling.  Food waste must be disposed of very quickly because of its deterioration and the potential of attracting pests as well as encouraging unwanted germs.  Get a waste disposal in place to effectively remove certain foods from your restaurant rather than letting it rot outside.  Make sure you have the right bins in place and regularly replace waste bags.  Your bins (inside and out) should be washed and sanitised daily with a good quality cleaner (see the collection of cleaning materials on Allianceonline.co.uk).  Use your wheelie bins according to their purpose, here’s a reminder:

  • Green bin use this for general waste such as plastic, polystyrene, sanitary products
  • Blue bin use this for recycling paper, board, metal, glass
  • Brown bin use this for food waste & garden waste

Inside your restaurant split your waste into different categories as above so you don’t have to re-sort your rubbish.  This makes it faster and more efficient when emptying out bins allowing your staff to focus their energies on other jobs.  Have suitable bins in place for food waste, specific recycling bins and you could consider rubbish compactors if you have very high amounts of waste as they condense waste into lesser amount, therefore kinder to the environment as you can fit more into a bin liner.

You should have a proper recycling system in place and purchase different colour bins so everyone knows which bin is for which waste type.  Don’t be tempted to have one bin for everything, this is completely inefficient and could risk a fine.

Assign waste tasks to your staff and run a rota because this can be a demoralising job for just one person so make sure everyone is involved in the removal and disposal of your restaurant’s waste.

  • Monitor Your Waste

If you aren’t sure how much waste your kitchen turns over then set up a trial and keep an eye on it for a week so you can see where the bulk of the waste is coming from.  This is a trial you can repeat every now and then to see if there is a shift and hopefully the results will help you to plan ahead more profitably.  Here are some steps to help you with a waste trial:

  • Collect food waste in different bins: spoilage, plate waste and food prep. Don’t use your waste disposal during this trial
  • Weigh the bins daily to determine where the most food waste comes from
  • Then work out how much food waste you are producing per year per tonne. Food waste per tonne is £3,500 and this figure will help you make the calculation

Once you know where the waste is coming from you can re-visit your menu and change it to minimise the waste.  You will also understand whether some of the ingredients you are using are going directly to waste and can alter your purchasing accordingly.

  • Educate Your Staff

One of the ways to reduce waste and manage it more effectively is to hold a staff meeting and teach your staff the importance of waste management.  Once you’ve held a session, get simple notes clearly typed up so everyone has a copy and understands your waste system.  There are simple things that might be causing more food waste than you think, for example, the work flow of the kitchen.  If there isn’t a streamlined direction in the kitchen then your staff will be moving all over the area probably knocking into each other and causing food and drink to spill unnecessarily.  Look at the work flow and introduce a system which reduces small accidents.

  • Check Your Food Prep Equipment

If your food equipment isn’t operating efficiently there’s bound to be more waste.  Knives that don’t chop well, food peelers that take off more than just the skin of fruit or vegetables, saucepans which burn food at the base…ask yourself if you need to invest in new utensils and saucepans.  By using good quality food equipment you will reduce the amount of kitchen waste.  Visit the Allianceonline.co.uk website to choose from our extensive ranges.

  • Check Your Food Stores

Always store your food properly.  Make sure you have good quality airtight containers (as found on the Alliance website) where you need them and keep chilled products at the right temperature so food doesn’t spoil unnecessarily.  If food is kept in the right place and labelled up appropriately you will have less food waste.  Make sure your kitchen team use food in strict rotation so food with a shorter use by date is used up before other food set to go out of date later on.  You should regularly rotate your fridge food and dry goods.  Make sure the food to be used first is placed at the front; perhaps adopt a rule such as new food always stored to the right hand side of the fridge or food store and older food stored to the left hand side.  This is an excellent method to adopt because your food will always be fresh so reduce waste.

  • Inventories

Make sure you have regular inventories in your kitchen and check your storage areas replenishing where you need to and using up food stores before they go out of date.

  • Give To Charity


Don’t forget to give back to the community.  Seek out your local homeless refuge and donate your food waste to those who are hungry.  Do make sure your food is safe for them to eat, don’t give out food which is past its use by date.

  • Doggy Bags

The Americans do this all the time, even in their best restaurants!  This is a service the British don’t seem to do often enough but you could offer doggy bags to your restaurant customers at the end of their meal if there is food left over and they want to have it later.

  • Re-Use Packaging

Use re-usable packaging where you can, for example, re-filling attractive bottles of water for your customers’ tables, using transit packaging that can be returned and purchasing food in catering packs rather than individual packs.


For all your catering needs including waste management and cleaning products, visit Allianceonline.co.uk where you’ll find everything for the smooth-running of your restaurant.