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How tackling food waste saves restaurants money


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The restaurant industry is worth nearly $800 billion in the United States, and there are more than a million restaurants nationwide. But running a successful restaurant business is not easy — as many as 60 percent fail within the first three years of opening their doors. At full-service restaurants, profit-margins are razor thin, ranging between 1.8 and 3.5 percent, according to the National Restaurant Industry.

Successful restaurants must find a way to keep costs low while keeping the quality of service high — no simple task. Because it typically isn’t associated with the bottom line, food waste is one area of a restaurant’s operation that often is overlooked. Four to 10 percent of food purchased by a restaurant or food service operation is discarded before ever reaching a customer.

With restaurants generating large amounts of food and beverage waste, paying people to haul off and dispose of it is becoming a costly business liability. Meanwhile, growing regulatory uncertainty surrounding waste means smart businesses are looking to get ahead of the issue before it gets out of hand.

Measure so you can manage

You can’t manage what you don’t measure, which is why restaurants should measure their food waste to understand how much, where and why it is occurring, and monitor progress over time. It’s good...

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