July 14, 2023
Devn Ratz

Reducing Food Waste: Tackling Food Loss in Online Ordering

Did you know food waste and food loss are actually distinct issues? Food loss happens before food reaches your customer. It's lost in production, storage, processing, and during service and distribution.

Otherwise, food waste refers to all the food your labor decides to discard during retail service or customer consumption. Because food waste sweeps up major problems and trends in the hospitality industry, cutting the issue into categories helps see inefficiency in operational structure:

  • lost to mold, pests, and infestation
  • spoiled by poor climate control or storage
  • waste made by staff decisions and delivery service

Your current and future customers are concerned when 40% of all food produced in retail and restaurant environments goes uneaten. In fact, food is the largest single source of your region's waste. On average, it accounts for over 20% of all solid city garbage.

Learn to cut food waste below, and get the full guide to sustainability in restaurants to learn more.

Key Takeaway: Food Waste, food loss, and their costs are effectively reduced through simple, seamless online ordering functions.

Why Prevent Food Waste with Online Ordering

A great reason to prevent food waste is environmental consciousness, but a more popular one is cost savings. It actually doesn't end with saving money on your lost ingredients and restaurant inventory.

Save on labor by more efficiently handling, preparing, and storing orders as well. Despite appearances, a kitchen also saves by purchasing as needed, rather than “taking advantage” of opportunities to buy bulk goods to risk spoilage.

Alongside this, conserving food generally means using sustainable technology and practices that advance your business. You reduce carbon footprints and lower operating expenses through better resource use.

If you're wondering how to cut labor costs, limit spoilage, and lower resource usage for better restaurant sustainability, brand image, or both—keep reading.

Strategies to Reduce Restaurant Food Loss

Find practical strategies and easy checklists for restaurant owners to reduce restaurant food waste, optimize inventory control, and satisfy savings goals.

These areas for optimization offer a complete approach to restaurant food waste and cost reduction. Implementing smart online ordering-enabled strategies drives efficiency, bolstering sustainability and contributing wonderfully to your restaurant's bottom line.

Planning Delivery and Purchasing

Optimize your restaurant inventory management with smart planning and purchasing strategies. Implement restaurant inventory management software. Track stock accurately with tools inside Revolution Ordering.

It will help you understand consumption patterns, adjust your online ordering, and enhance your use of existing restaurant software. When you do find overstock, you can instantly create or update your digital menu ordering to incorporate target ingredients. This strategy prevents wasted food.

Then, there's the help of online order forecasting. Historical data in custom reporting and analytics predicts future volumes. Then, you can adjust your food purchasing. Bulk buying will save costs. Focus on long shelf life and frequently used ingredients to prevent spoiling.

Delivery Food Waste Checklist

Cutting food waste in delivery and planning streamlines purchasing, enhancing inventory control. This leads to reduced overstock, increased cost efficiency, and waste reduction.

Maximize profits and restaurant sustainability overall with these actions:

Managing Restaurant Inventory Storage

You should also ensure correct storage. Proper storage maximizes freshness and shelf life by keeping conditions and temperatures at the optimal levels. Invest in restaurant automations for temperature controls, vacuum-sealed containers, or gas absorbers to extend freshness.

In food operations and practice, your staff should also label food correctly. Using the First In, First Out (FIFO) system will guarantee older stock is used before more recent orders.

Ingredient Food Loss Checklist

Optimizes storage: it extends ingredient freshness, improves food safety, reduces waste, and guards efficient use of resources. Push your restaurant to improve restaurant operations and reputation.

Follow these five tips for better restaurant storage:

  • Invest in proper storage systems.
  • Maintain optimal storage conditions.
  • Use automated temperature controls.
  • Implement vacuum-sealing or absorbers.
  • Seep staff in FIFO practices for inventory usage.

Preparing, Cooking, and Serving Sustainable Menus

Master the art of cooking and preparation by optimizing the use of every ingredient. Find inventive ways to repurpose ingredients to create an array of diverse and appetizing dishes.

Then, venture into the often-overlooked sustainable menu and discover the potential it holds. By exploring such creative options, you bring variety to menu management with healthy fare. You also significantly reduce restaurant waste (as well as its costs to your bottom line).

You might also customize meals to customer needs by adjusting portion sizes. Analyze order data to decipher patterns in food waste. Identify the dishes leaving frequent leftovers on-premise and tackle it by reducing portions. This decreases food waste instantly, leverages restaurant technology, and prevents over-preparation.

Service Food Waste Checklist

The future of food service asks for creative and conscious menu planning to save food, enhance customer satisfaction through customization, and promote online ordering with sustainable packaging solutions.

Raise your restaurant's image as an environmentally responsible business with these strategies:

  • Optimize every ingredient’s use through your menu.
  • Repurpose your ingredients for diverse dishes.
  • Explore the potential of sustainable menus.
  • Adjust portion sizes to customer needs.
  • Use data to prevent over-preparation.
Get Revolution Ordering's custom demo experience to see how our technologies can streamline sustainability in restaurants.

Frequently Asked Questions About Reducing Food Waste

Online ordering presents the opportunity to reduce food waste throughout restaurant operations. 

Restaurant owners can gain clarity on overlooked areas of operational efficiency with these common questions about reducing food waste. See what makes up food loss, its primary causes, and how it hurts business profits.

What is food loss?

Food loss happens when items or ingredients spoil before reaching the customer.

This usually occurs in the production, storage, preparation, or delivery of food service. It also accounts for the losses coming from molds, pests, and poor climate controls.

What is the main cause of food loss?

Most food loss comes from technical difficulties like inefficient preparation, weak packaging, and careless handling, storage, or processing. The best food delivery management systems will help you minimize these losses from inefficiency by reducing human error and optimizing your processes.

You might also see considerable food loss from incorrect labeling or in-service errors, making effective training and food tracking critical business practices.

What is food waste?

Food waste concerns items left uneaten or discarded by customers after service is delivered. This means successfully served but uneaten plate waste as well as inedible ingredients (like peels or rinds).

What is the biggest source of food waste?

Almost 30 percent of food in US stores gets thrown out, and the biggest cause is inefficiency before customers have the chance to buy. In total, the country generates well over 16 billion pounds of food waste each year through poor food management practices.

The cost of that waste is actually twice the value of total food sold. This proves food waste reduction can be an effective revenue-building approach for most restaurants.

How can restaurants reduce food waste?

Enterprising restaurants constantly find new ways to reduce food loss, waste, and costs, including:

Reduce food waste, and do so much more with the right technology. See how in our free ebook for sustainability in restaurants.