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Check your menu


A well-designed menu can increase your customer's satisfaction and is also a great tool for managing a cost-effective kitchen, saving unnecessary food waste and staff time.

Cut food waste from spoilage and food preparation

If your food waste audit shows a high proportion of waste from spoilage and food preparation, it's very likely that changing your menu will help you reduce your operating costs and food waste.

  • Remove dishes that require special ingredients but are not popular with your customers.
  • Consider seasonal variations and how this impacts on your customers' expectations.
  • Plan menus to reduce carrying excess stock in your dry storage and cool room. Employ nose-to-tail cooking methods. Less expensive cuts of meat can be excellent value and just as tasty when cooked well.
  • Use excess meat and vegetables to make stock for soups or sauces.
  • Identify ways that similar ingredients can be used in different dishes.
  • Consider how to incorporate leftovers into your menus. It might be possible to use offcuts or leftovers from one dish for another, e.g. in soups, quiches or puddings.

Cut food waste from leftovers on plates

  • Observe patterns of items that are consistently returned uneaten, such as salad vegetables, toast or condiments. Check food waste bins regularly to see what is being thrown away.
  • Review your portion sizes. Consider offering your customers different serving sizes.
  • Consider offering 'side orders' as options or by request so customers have more choice about how much they eat.
  • Consider changing or removing garnishes, side dishes or side serves if they are not being eaten.
  • Give top priority to using produce that is in season and locally available. Food is cheaper and fresher when it is in season.

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