Stop Your Food From Vanishing: Keep a Food Waste Log

Your chef is over-ordering strawberries, and they keep spoiling.

The line cook has been putting an extra ladle of sauce on every pasta dish.

Or maybe your waitress does her weekly grocery shopping in your walk-in and you know nothing about it…

These mishaps are killing your business. Food is being wasted left and right, and you have no solid system to keep track of it.

Sounds like your restaurant could use a food waste log.

A waste log is one of the best ways to start taking control of your profits. (Along with knowing your inventory numbers and calculating your COGS). It helps keep you in the know as to what’s not going out the door and where cash is slipping through the cracks – or is sliding into your staff’s bags.

We want you to run a successful restaurant.

That’s why we’ve created a waste log for you to download, absolutely free. And we’ve got everything you need to know about maintaining it.

Stop screwing yourself over. It’s time to run a smarter business.

Why Do I Need a Food Waste Log?

Waste happens in a restaurant. It’s inevitable.

But the fact that 85% of the food used in a typical restaurant is simply thrown out? That’s an issue.

As well as the shocking note that 40% of food grown, transported, and processed in the US simply goes to waste.

Really, the restaurant food waste statistics we found were… concerning.

And though a waste log can’t stop that waste from happening altogether, it can help curb it.

When your staff knows you’re not paying attention, they know they can get away with a lot more.

An extra shot of vodka for that attractive customer? Easy. A dropped sandwich? Tossed away without anyone knowing. Steaks slipped into coat pockets to bring home later? Everyone’s doing it.

But with a waste log around – and set processes/training in place for your employees to keep it updated – they’re going to know you’re paying attention.

It gives them the perception that they’re being monitored more closely, which will make them more careful when handling food. They’ll be more diligent. They’ll think twice before bringing food home with them.

A waste log also allows you to pinpoint many other problems that could be stunting your profits.

For example, if you’re constantly seeing spoiled peppers on your waste log, one of your chefs (or you) may be over-ordering. So, it’s time to have a chat with both your chef and your supplier to get that issue fixed.

Or maybe you’ve had a higher number of meals sent back during a dinner shift. With a waste log, you can pinpoint when food’s been sent back, and perhaps re-train the cook who’s been making the slip-up

With no waste log in place? Your kitchen will stay a free-for-all.

No, really. Your staff will just assume they can bring food home for free.

And that’s definitely not part of your benefits package.

Why you need a restaurant food waste sheet

When to Use a Food Waste Log

There are a lot of different instances where a waste log could come in handy, such as:

  • Leftover food at the end of the night. This is referring to various hot or cold items that can’t be used the next day, like French fries.
  • Spilled or dropped items
  • Family Meals
  • Staff training and menu tastings. It’s helping your staff better understand your menu, but you’re not making money on it. So it needs to be noted.
  • Kitchen mistakes. Burnt food. Overcooked food.
  • Refire/Remakes.
  • Leftovers from an event or banquet

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What to Do With Your Food Waste Log

First of all, you should actually use it.

You think we’re kidding, but it’s crazy how many restaurants simply ignore it.

Always have your waste log readily available. Your entire staff should know the exact process for marking and keeping proper waste log records.

This keeps the waste log consistent. Dates all in the same format. No nicknames for food. No skimping on quantities.

Make precision and process important, and your staff will follow through.

Then, as you notice profitability issues in your restaurant, your waste log should become one of the first things you check.

Did you run out of pickles because you didn’t order enough, or because a waiter dropped a jar of them?

Is your staff sandbagging way too many fries for your Tuesday night wings special? Maybe it’s time to cut down.

Are you constantly out of Mahi Mahi and there’s nothing marked on your waste log? An employee may be taking it home.

food waste tracking should be easy. download our free template today.

Conclusion: Track Your Waste, Up Your Savings

A food waste log can’t solve all of your problems but it sure can help.

It’s a great first step in truly taking charge of your restaurant’s profits.

And while you’re at it, you can also:

You can also invest in restaurant technology. It’s a great way to save a ton of money and get back hours of your time.

It’s what we do here at Orderly. So if you’re looking to modernize the way you get your numbers, you should schedule a demo and see what we’re about.

When it comes to saving more money, you have to start somewhere.

With a waste log, you can grab a firm hold on the mayhem that is your kitchen.

Download our food waste template and start changing your restaurant today.

stop your food from vanishing. download the waste log.

Danny Barry

As Orderly's Content Marketing Manager, Danny is always in the weeds of the restaurant business. He's having conversations. He's scouring the internet for research. He's writing until his fingers start to hurt. And it's all to help you run a smarter restaurant. When he's not writing about restaurants, Danny can be found eating at restaurants. Or, you may find him cheering on his beloved Miami Hurricanes.

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