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Lorri Mealey

Tips for Reducing Food Spoilage in Your Restaurant

By September 22, 2008

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With budgets tight going into winter, restaurants need to save money whenever and wherever possible. Reducing food spoilage is something that restaurants should be doing, even in a good economy. Here are a few tips to help you keep food spoilage in your restaurant kitchen to a minimum :

    1. Avoid over-buying fresh produce. Your sales rep may try to get you to buy several cases of lettuce or tomatoes because they are on sale. However if you won’t use more than one case in a week, then you run the risk of food spoilage. And that equals dollars lost. Only by sales and specials of produce you can definitely sell within a week.
    2. Keep everything labeled and organized in both your walk-in cooler and freezer as well as in your dry storage. Not only does it ensure food safety, it helps you use older food first (FIFO) before they spoil.
    3. Inspect all you food orders when they arrive. Often cases of fresh produce will arrive at your restaurant DOA. That is, they are either spoiled or well on their way. Send back cases and speak with your sales rep. If happens repeatedly, it is time to start shopping for a new food vendor.
    4. Keep beer and wine at constant temperatures. Even though beer and wine are not fresh, per se, they are still perishable. Fluctuating temperatures can cause beer to have a “skunked” taste and makes wine bitter. So make sure your dry storage area, or wherever you store your beer and wine, is set at a constant temperature.

Food spoilage is almost impossible to escape in a restaurant. But you can minimize it by staying organized and only buying what you need. However, don’t get overzealous about tossing questionable foods. Remember the golden rule "When in doubt, throw it out!" A little spoilage is better than risking your customers health.

Do you have more tips for reducing restaurant food spoilage? Share them at the Restauranting Forum.

Photo Credit: Jeltovski

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