4 Ways your Restaurant Can Reduce Waste (and Save Money)

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Your restaurant may literally be throwing away money. Many food service owners do not realize the impact that wasting food has on their bottom line. Over one third of the world’s food supply is wasted annually, amounting to a global profit loss of $750 billion and 133 billion pounds of food.

But profit loss is not only the only factor to consider when it comes to food waste. Restaurants also have to pay large fees to haul away trash, which piles up in landfills and is environmentally harmful. For this reason we’ve developed the below list of simple ways for you to reduce and prevent food waste and ultimately, save your restaurant money.

  • Track your Waste:

In business, we track our finances, we track our inventory, we track our staff, but all too often we forget to track our waste. In order to minimize food waste and ensure proper and efficient disposal, it’s important to note what, when and how much food is being thrown out. Tracking food waste allows you to pinpoint operational inefficiencies, which can lead to smarter purchasing decisions and reduced hauling/disposal costs.

“Improved waste tracking and analysis can help restaurants and food service producers generate more than $1 billion in profit through lowered food purchase costs” –ReFED

BioHiTech’s Digesters are a solution that food service operators can use to track their food waste. The digesters, along with it’s cloud platform and Cirrus app, allows managers to see how much food waste is disposed as well as when and who is disposing it to make changes based off this information. The real-time access to this food waste data makes it easier to make quick adjustments.

  • Make Data-Informed Changes:

When looking at your operations, always consult the data first. Analyzing food waste data is integral to making informed decisions from what to exclude from your next purchase order, or where you should change your menu.

Data can also help you monitor your inventory as well, helping you be aware of what food you dispose of before it is used.

  • Donate:

Before disposing of any food, donate unsold, usable foods to charities, food banks and other organizations for those in need. This will help your local community and reduce food waste significantly.

  • Educate:

Teach your employees how to reduce waste and implement company policies for proper waste disposal and tracking. An effective and out of the box way to empower your employees to be accountable for waste volumes and appropriate disposal is through gamification. Location by location competitions specifically can be an effective (and fun) tactic.

It’s equally as important to educate your customers and consumers. By providing information on how to reduce food waste at home and tips for buying smart, you can help make a positive environmental impact even after the food leaves your business.

How to Solve the Food Waste Problem at its Root

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Food waste is a problem across the globe. From North America to Europe and as far east as Asia, many countries are having difficulty solving this complex problem because waste occurs all along the supply chain. Because a number of states in the U.S and Europe believe that they can have the most impact on adjusting what happens at the retail level, they are steering policy towards the diversion of the waste from landfills and supporting the use of any disposal solution that encourages the prevention of the waste.

In the past few years, many states in the U.S. have started passing food waste ban legislation where supermarkets, restaurants and other establishments generating significant amounts of food waste are required to either donate to those in need or dispose of the waste through methods such as composting, anaerobic or aerobic digestion but only a few of those legislative endeavors bravely suggest that accurate diversion data is as important as the diversion itself.

BioHiTech originally saw an opportunity in the food waste sector as a simple digestion solution that would offer a more cost-effective, environmentally sustainable way to dispose of food waste on-site. After applying advanced technology and machine learning to the digester, we recognized an even greater value to our customers in prevention. When you accurately measure and categorize food waste our customers have access to that data in real time that can be used to make informed decisions impacting food needs and affecting and reducing waste along the supply chain.

Measuring and understanding food waste is one of the most important steps to preventing food waste, and at BioHiTech we are continuing to find new and innovative ways to fix this global problem.

 

The Smarter Kitchen

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Choosing the right piece of equipment is crucial to the success of any restaurant, including waste disposal equipment, but facility managers must be wary, as equipment is no longer created equal. “Smart” connected products are going to transform the industrial equipment marketplace, will deliver the most business value, and have the largest impact. With restaurant management extending around the world, the need for these smart connected products are in great demand.

Powered by the Internet of Things, BioHiTech’s Revolution Series™ Digesters apply sensor technology, which enables the simple on-site food waste solution to capture a digital representation of the food waste volume in addition to the machine’s usage, performance, and status. The Digester’s Internet connectivity then enables the company and its customers the ability to communicate directly with the machine in order to manage and optimize its “smart” potential.

According to a study conducted by the University of Arizona, the average amount of purchased food that is wasted in a full-service restaurant is 11.3 percent making the management of cost of goods ongoing – every hour, every shift, every day, every week.

The Digester’s unique connective device provides the essential up-to-date, easy-to-access waste data 24/7/365 so that corrective actions can be taken proactively when necessary, improvements can be made to supply chain management for repeated success and work processes and waste reductions can be achieved routinely.

After the process of weighing each increment of waste to qualify its type and origin, the digester can eliminate as little as 100 pounds and as much as 2,400 pounds of food waste in a 24-hour period, depending on customer needs, by utilizing mechanical and biological treatment to convert the food waste into a liquid that is safely discharged through standard sewers.

The Digesters’ data is transmitted to the Company’s analytics cloud platform where the data is collected in real-time and also preserved historically so that trends can be analyzed and predicted. Knowing precisely what is being thrown away allows for the optimization of vendor and supplier orders to reduce the quantity of food waste planned for and received. Key metrics are also measured to help restaurant management be more efficient and effective with their labor, sales and ultimately disposal process.

Digitization also ensures ongoing compliance. Manual recording and associated documentation can now be replaced by fully automated methods and 24/7 access to reporting at your fingertips.

While most on-site food waste disposal solutions are expensive and designed for high volume users, BioHiTech’s Revolution Series targets low volume users, requires minimal floor space and has rapid throughput enabling the cost of use to be much lower than traditional waste disposal.

The next few years will be bringing monumental shifts to the industry to help to curtail waist and dispose of what is left in a more cost-effective manner. Choosing the right equipment will offer the process change necessary to accelerate smarter solutions and outcomes.

 

Maximizing the Value of Food Waste

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Tapping into the value of food waste reporting provides vital information to more directly answer 6 key questions: Who, What, Why, When, Where and How Much. Without these basic questions answered there is no way to fully understand the problem in order to make informed decisions needed to deliver better operational, environmental and financial outcomes for your business.

BioHiTech’s cloud platform serves up real-time food waste data collected from our on-site technology solution, the Eco-Safe Digester, quantifying food waste in a fashion that has historically not been available. Our platform invites customers to observe the food waste generation habits of their employees and the overall process to uncover who, what, why, when, where and how much waste is being created.

There is a good chance that your inefficient waste process does not answer any of the above key questions and that your problems fall into one or more of these buckets.

There are significant operational, environmental and financial payoffs when collecting, managing and analyzing food waste data. Without the detailed data it is easy to fall into the trap of addressing the wrong issue and missing out on an opportunity to prevent the waste all together.

New York City Announces Business Organics Rules

Beginning July 19, 2016, certain New York City businesses will be required by law to separate their organic waste. If your business meets the minimum requirements outlined below, you must comply with the business organics rules.

Establishments covered by Business Organics Rules

  • All food service establishments in hotels with 150 or more rooms
  • All food service vendors in arenas and stadiums with seating capacity of at least 15,000 people
  • Food manufacturers with a floor area of at least 25,000 square feet
  • Food wholesalers with a floor area of at least 20,000 square feet

Businesses covered by this proposal are given the option to arrange for collection by a private carter, transport organic waste themselves, or process the material on site. Suitable processing methods include composting and aerobic/anaerobic digestion. A food waste grinder is not permitted.

Business Resources: materials and trainings offered by DSNY.

Self-Transport: Businesses choosing to haul their own source-separated organics must register with the NYC Business Integrity Commission (BIC).

On-Site Processing: Businesses covered by these rules that choose to process organics on-site must register with DSNY within 30 days of installing on-site processing equipment.

NYC Commercial Organics Law

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Recology Intentionally Told Schools To Trash Millions Of Recyclable Trays And Then Blames The Kids

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Recology instructed San Francisco school officials to not recycle the recyclable plastic trays the district uses daily to serve students food. So reports the Chronicle, which details the jaw-dropping behavior by the city-contracted waste company that began in 2013 and may have only stopped when the paper began asking questions about the bizarre instructions given to school officials.

“Recology has told us they don’t want any plastics because they’re too soiled,” the principal at Commodore Sloat Elementary School, Greg John, told the paper. “It’s now institutionalized.” Of course, the trays are perfectly recyclable — covered in food or not. Food scraps mixed in with paper, however, lowers the resale value of the paper for the company, the Chronicle observes.

In response to what is clearly a PR nightmare for the company, spokesperson Robert Reed dug a little deeper and attempted to shift the blame to school children too “lazy” to rinse off the trays before disposing of them.

“If you were just lazy and tossed a plastic tray into the recycling that had spaghetti sauce on it, you would be diminishing the quality of the paper that’s getting ultimately recycled,” Reed told the paper.

Recology later attempted to backpedal.

“We accept all hard plastic food trays for recycling,” noted Reed. “We only ask that students who do not finish their meals shake any uneaten food into the green composting collection bins that we provide.”

So, it seems that Recology is more focused on protecting the resale value of the paper more than supporting that whole zero landfill waste by 2020 thing.

BY JACK MORSE IN NEWS ON FEB 22, 2016 3:30 PM

Residents argue that it’s neighborhood composting facility is like living next to a garbage dump

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In the Richmond section of Vancouver, city officials are demanding more stringent air-quality regulations to control the stink from the region’s composting plant, suggesting the methods of odor management being used are “out of date.”

Harvest Power, which has held a composting facility license since 1997 and collects 200,000 tonnes of Metro Vancouver’s food scraps each year, has been the focus of more than 270 odor complaints in the past 2 1/2 years.

A Richmond staff report suggests that while Harvest Power is “of critical importance to meeting the city’s zero waste goals,” the city is worried about its ability to manage the odors.

The company is now facing more backlash as it seeks an air-quality permit from Metro Vancouver to increase its “authorized emissions” after significantly exceeding projected air-quality and odor emissions — in some cases 11 times higher for certain compounds.

Officials maintain the odors themselves aren’t necessarily considered a health risk, although depending on what’s in the compost, the smells could cause physical distress, as well as headaches or nausea, and detract from the quality of life for those suffering from it.

The Richmond staff report maintains the current requirements for emissions, are “insufficient,” and argues Harvest Power has not carefully considered all technology options, nor included new odor-management measures in the permit application.

As the number of composting facilities increases across the region, there will need to be a more substantial approach to odor management, and clear definitions of what constitutes “pollution,” to alleviate community concerns or noticeable odors will continue unabated from these facilities.”

The story in its entirety can be found here:

http://www.vancouversun.com/health/Region+composting+plant+faces+backlash+foul+Odour+emissions+affect+residents+living+from+facility/11600386/story.html