As restaurants and commercial kitchens slowly ease back into a business-as-usual mode post the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, essential questions about waste management and cost efficiency naturally arise yet again.
Implementing smart ways to keep food waste low is one of the easiest ways to reduce costs, and several practices can help commercial kitchens do this. Here are three key factors to consider:
1. Finding compelling reasons to invest in waste management systems
Any commercial kitchen will naturally want to maximise its returns on investment while also practising sustainable ways of doing business. This is precisely why investing in a high-quality food waste system makes sense.
Apart from disposing of waste in an eco-friendly fashion, a disposal unit is labour-saving as the staff members no longer need to lug around volumes of waste.
It also makes maintaining kitchen hygiene much easier, as there is no longer any need to keep multiple waste bins and black bin bags and constantly sanitise bins.
Food waste systems are designed to process most types of food waste, from fats and oils to paper plates, making it an all-in-one solution that does the job faster and more hygienically.
In addition, most modern systems are designed to be energy-efficient, easy to run and easy to store, making them a cost-efficient investment. But, of course, volume remains a crucial factor when picking a unit — too large or too small a purchase will be cost-inefficient.
It is essential to consider if the system will handle tough waste materials like meat or fish bones, which could potentially damage the internal workings of the machine.
2. Choosing the right equipment to process food waste
No matter how carefully a restaurant portions its servings and plans its supplies for the week, there will inevitably be some food waste to get rid of. It is essential to choose equipment based on what the kitchen needs.
One should first consider the technology behind the equipment. From food waste dewatering to aerobic or anaerobic digestion, each has processes which should be considered against your requirements.
An underpowered unit will make things more tedious by taking more time to dispose of the waste, and too cheap a model may be unable to process certain types of food and could lead to breakdowns and increased maintenance costs.
For this reason, it is best to invest in a machine that can process most types of waste efficiently. How about a piece of machinery that deploys modern technology like Anaerobic Digestion? Check out our anaerobic digesters for food waste.
Several new food waste solutions also come with operator screens that display the status of the machine, indicate if there is anything wrong and guide the operator through how to fix it, thus reducing the time and money spent on maintenance visits.
Many models have self-cleaning systems, which further reduce the cost and time of maintenance. At the same time, it is essential to remember that too large or advanced a disposal system could make it hard for a small kitchen to see returns on its investment.
Before buying, therefore, a commercial kitchen should weigh the pros and cons of multiple categories of food waste solutions. In fact, they must ask these seven questions to potential vendors before making a decision.
3. Measuring ROI on a waste management system
The first step that commercial kitchens can take to lower the costs of food waste management is to evaluate how much of their waste is preventable.
This calls for conducting a thorough food review that can give the kitchen valuable insights into exactly what types of waste are accumulating the most and how much each is being handled each month or year.
With these insights in place, the kitchen can chalk out a plan to reduce the waste, with a fixed cost reduction goal in mind and the objective of using as little labour as possible.
In general, biomass systems are the most sustainable and cost-efficient options to handle food waste. Kitchens should thus factor in the cost of a biomass system as they would an HVAC system—as an investment for the premises to run smoothly.
In particular, kitchens should have a plan to separate the fats, oils and greases that come from washing utensils, all of which can potentially clog sewers and be considerably expensive to get rid of. Planning can save the kitchen massive amounts of money and time in the long run.
It has been a tough year for the hospitality industry. While one has no control over the labour costs or revenue generation, preventing food waste and re-using it sensibly is undoubtedly in the hands of commercial kitchens.
Investing in an optimal food waste management solution can curb the problem to a great extent. If your food business is looking to minimise food waste, please contact us to find out how our systems can help you.