How we live is being transformed in many ways by sustainable practices. And it has become even more evident in the food industry. The Financial Times reports that an estimated one-third of the food produced globally ends up as food waste. This contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and other forms of overconsumption and surplus. It is no surprise, then, that a zero-waste philosophy is spreading across Europe and other regions, calling on restaurants to avoid adding to this issue. As a result, food establishments are being encouraged to adopt more sustainable practices such as generating less waste and using renewable resources.

So without further ado, here are three sustainable habits that restaurants need today:

Sourcing produce from small businesses

More restaurants are sourcing ingredients from smaller suppliers, such as local farmers and fishermen. There are many benefits to getting food locally. Not only is produce cheaper for restaurant owners, but it is also often more flavorful and easier to obtain. It provides a better marketing opportunity as people generally gravitate towards restaurants that show their ingredients are locally sourced or farm-to-table.

Septime in Paris, France, is one such restaurant sourcing from small businesses. Their seafood comes from a supplier that sources purely from small-scale fishermen that use sustainable methods to prevent overfishing. The restaurant also ensures that every part of the animal is used when buying meat — a win-win situation for both the cattle rancher and the restaurant itself. It is especially important for restaurants like Septime to use inventory management tools to ensure a good balance and sufficient supply without overstocking.

Improve inventory management processes

Operating sustainably is not always easy. Newer businesses often encounter these challenges in the early stages, and restaurants are no exception. Ben Horowitz covers how to overcome these challenges in his book The Hard Thing About Hard Things, which talks about the hard-hitting facts of starting, running, and succeeding in business. This is especially true during the pandemic as restaurants are trying to adopt a more sustainable approach.

For food establishments, starting with one’s resources is crucial, which is why improving your inventory management processes matters. Not only does it help food waste reduction, but you can also plan and allocate your produce more efficiently. Inventory solutions should also be automated and intuitive since businesses are expected to provide stellar service quickly. TotalCtrl gives you a real-time view of what’s in your inventory at any given time while providing data to streamline restaurant operations. These solutions make it easier to function sustainably, even with the struggles of running a business during this time.

Use leftover ingredients

Food waste is a huge issue in the culinary scene, and one restaurant that has actively found ways to solve this is Rest in Oslo. It deliberately uses imperfect produce and misshapen vegetables to save what would be considered waste at grocery stores. However, it’s important to use tools to measure just how long your food will last. TotalCtrl does this by controlling inventory based on expiry date data. It helps kitchens prioritize the right raw cooking materials. Restaurants can use this software to prevent food waste using a more accurate monitoring system, making the establishment more sustainable.

Whether your restaurant focuses on preventing food waste or installing tools like solar panels, sustainable habits should be maintained over the long run. A little bit of effort now can make a big difference later, and your customers will be taking part in a greater effort to save the environment for a more sustainable future.

Written by Aliyah Beatrice Clay
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