food waste

Restaurants looking to lower food waste can turn to tech

Food waste is not a new challenge in the foodservice industry, but with the continued inflation, restaurants may be even more motivated to lower waste and cut costs.

Why is there so much waste? Food scraps and surplus inventory are certainly contributors, but there are two other major culprits to blame: kitchen mistakes and disposing of food orders that sit too long. When these things happen, restaurants need to remake the order, which wastes time, money, and food.

Research shows that consumers are ordering for delivery up to three times per week, so properly managing preparation, packaging, and wait times will cut down on food that sits and ends up in the garbage.

Here’s where technology can help restaurants get real-time data on customer pickup and arrival times, prioritize orders, and more.

Kitchen mistakes

When staff gets overwhelmed, mistakes can be made. Technology can help with tightening up your kitchen to streamline your processes. With an order management or POS system, much of the ordering becomes automated, so relaying messages to the kitchen is less subject to human error, increasing efficiency and cutting down on waste.

You can even go digital with inventory management, so your ordering becomes more accurate, avoiding reordering items you may not need that get thrown out.  

Time management

Managing mobile orders mixed with drive-thru and in-store all at once can be a challenge for a restaurant’s timing, but there are technological solutions out there. Many restaurants have implemented apps, and they’re gaining consumer popularity for loyalty and rewards, but they also offer a solution for time management.

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Many apps ask customers to place an order with a preferred pick-up time, so the restaurant can prepare the order when they know the customer is coming. Of course, if the customer arrives late, this is still an issue, but asking customers to arrive five or 10 minutes before pickup should help.

Even better, some apps have the capability for customers to notify the restaurant when they are on their way, helping restaurants to prioritize order sequencing, so there’s less waiting and less waste.

Now more than ever, it’s important for restaurants to address the cost and environmental impact of food waste. Using technology to streamline ordering, better managing pick-up, lessening kitchen mistakes, and mastering time management will help restaurants improve and get ahead.