Food waste in the hospitality industry is an issue for any café or restaurant. Wasting food has environmental impacts, is largely unnecessary and of course costs businesses money.
In this article we will look into how the way you store your food can help you avoid wasting food. Of course safe food storage also goes hand in hand with food safety regulations.
8 easy food storage tips to avoid food waste:
1. Adopt the ‘first in first out ’rule – Organise products so the newer food is placed behind the older food to ensure you use the older products first. Make sure products are organised well so this is obvious and communicate to employees so they are aware of the system.
2. Take stock – Perhaps have one employee in charge of checking the inventory regularly to see what is approaching it’s ‘’use by’ date. Be flexible and adapt your menu to create specials based on what food you should use up quickly.
3. Temperature control – To avoid food spoiling (and not to mention potentially making customers sick) make sure your fridge and freezer are set to the correct temperature and check regularly that thermostats are working. Cold food must be stored in the fridge 5 degrees C or colder and frozen food in the freezer less than minus 18 degrees C (and frozen hard).
4. Air tight containers – Store any pre-prepared or left over food in clearly labelled (description and use by date) airtight containers. This is the most hygienic way to store food and will stop food spoiling faster than it needs to. Check your containers regularly to make sure they are in good condition and seal properly. Do not use to store anything other than food in the containers.
5. Store food off the floor and in designated areas – Ensure chemicals, cleaning equipment and personal belongings are stored in a completely separate area.
6. Keep your refrigerator well organised and do not over fill it – overloading a fridge will make it hard to find items, will increase the risk of cross-contamination/spoiling and make it difficult for the fridge to maintain the necessary temperature.
7. Meat – where possible buy meat in vacuum-pack packaging for the most hygienic storage and to prolong shelf life. Store meat on the lowest shelf of the fridge in it’s own area to avoid any risk of cross-contamination by juices dripping down onto other food.
8. Continuous training of staff –perhaps the most obvious and yet important factor is to ensure your staff are all well trained and aware of all of the day-to-day procedures that need to happen in relation to food preparation and storage. Clear signage in appropriate positions will reinforce the messages.
By taking on board the food storage tips above we hope you can avoid some food waste in your kitchen. However, for unavoidable wastage there are environmentally responsible ways to dispose of your food waste – ask us about our commercial food organics recycling programmes. Contact KS Environmental today to find out more.
Sources: State Government Victoria – Department of Health Safe Food Storage publication