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Source: ISTOCK

Restaurants Can Save Some Serious Money By Reducing Food Waste, Study Finds

By Sophie Hirsh

Finding ways to reduce food waste has a variety of benefits. It keeps food out of landfills, it means there is ultimately less of a market demand for more food, and it can help save money. And according to a recent study, investing in reducing food waste can actually help restaurants significantly make more money. The study, conducted by the coalition Champions 12.3, found that on average, restaurants saved $7 for every $1 invested in reducing food waste in the kitchen.

For the study, researchers reviewed 114 restaurants in 12 different countries. Each of the 114 restaurants invested anywhere up to $20,000 in reducing food waste over that time period, resulting in an overall 7 to 1 return rate. After one year, the 114 restaurants had reduced an average of 26 percent of their food waste. Additionally, after two years, 89 percent of of the restaurants had completely recouped their investments.

The researchers noted five tips that successful restaurants followed when it came to reducing waste and saving money:

  1. Restaurants created inventories of their food waste, so they could track which foods typically didn't get used.
  2. Managers and chefs kept staff in the loop on food waste-reduction practices.
  3. Chefs cooked food to order and avoided things like batch cooking. (Bonus: that means fresher meals!)
  4. Restaurants analyzed their purchasing habits and inventory and made appropriate changes.
  5. Chefs found creative ways to turn food scraps and leftover food into new dishes. Yesterday's leftover fruit becomes today's smoothie!