Join us for a conversation with Alistair Levine, who works at KitchenSync and owns Vine Hospitality. He’ll share his journey in the restaurant world, the obstacles he’s addressing, his insights on restaurant technology, tips for running a successful restaurant, recommended industry resources, and his future plans.

Feel free to follow Alistair’s journey on his ⁠LinkedIn⁠.

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Meet Martina Lazarova, the friendly face behind the General Manager role at Hotel Suite Home Prague and the Managing Director at M&J Hotel Advisor. Martina is a hospitality pro, with a rich background ranging from charming boutique spots to major hotel chains.

In this episode, we’re diving into Martina’s world. We’ll explore what drives her passion for the hospitality industry, tackle the challenges she faces, and celebrate the eco-friendly steps she’s taking at her hotel. We’ll also get a sneak peek into how she experiments with new tools to better her operations, her views on the industry’s growth in the Czech Republic, and the people who inspire her in the hospitality world. Plus, Martina will share a bit about her personal venture in the Czech mountains. Join us for a heartwarming conversation full of insights and inspiration!

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Ever wondered how much food gets wasted in restaurants? Vojtech Vegh did, and he’s here to share some eye-opening insights. Join us as we sit down with Vojtech, a chef who’s making a big difference with his zero-waste, plant-based cooking. He’s not just any chef; he’s traveled the world, from England to Cambodia, learning the secrets of kitchens big and small, even those with Michelin stars.

In our chat, Vojtech will tell us his story: why he cares so much about saving food, and how he’s helping restaurants save up to 80% of their food from being wasted. Imagine that—most of the food that would have been thrown out, is now used to create delicious dishes.

He’s got a book, The Food Waste Guide For Chefs™, that’s packed with tips on how to make this happen. And it’s not just about saving food; it’s about making the kitchen a smarter, more creative place. He’ll share some simple tech tools that help with everything from planning what to cook to keeping the fridge organized.

Are you dreaming of becoming a chef, or just passionate about making a difference? Vojtech has some advice for you. He also talks about the people who inspire him and the resources he turns to for new ideas

Feel free to follow Vojtech’s journey on his ⁠LinkedIn⁠.

——

TotalCtrl is producing this podcast. The company builds digital products in collaboration with restaurants, hotels, municipalities, and households to ditch manual processes, streamline food inventory management, and generate the monthly cost of goods sold and accounting reports.

For more information, you can visit ⁠www.totalctrl.com⁠ or feel free to write us via ⁠LinkedIn⁠.

——

If you have any feedback and suggestions for upcoming episodes or would like to suggest more guests, you can write to the moderator ⁠Ricardo Monagas⁠.

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We’re excited to announce new functionalities in the TotalCtrl mobile app that support a broader range of needs and make stocktaking more efficient so that you and your team can spend less time managing your inventory and focus on what matters most – your customers’ happiness.

New stock count section

We’ve added a new section where you can see all your ongoing and finished stock counts in one place. You can easily access it from the app’s bottom bar.

New stock count section in TotalCtrl mobile app

Interrupting and resuming a stock count

Do you need to accept a delivery or use the app for something else while counting stock? No problem – TotalCtrl now makes it possible to leave a stock count and return to it later.

Multiple-inventory support

Whether you want to count only specific product categories (like meat or dairy) or all your inventories at once and see them all in one report – we’ve got you covered.

TotalCtrl mobile app - stock count report and screen where users can pick inventories to count

Stock count collaboration

Multiple people can now participate in the same stock count and count items simultaneously. This allows your team members to work together seamlessly, share the workload and reduce the time needed to complete the count.

Speeding up your workflow

Easily switch between counted and uncounted items, mark several things at once as out of stock, filter items by inventory or category and much more.

Report sharing

When you finish a stock count, TotalCtrl automatically generates a report. You can share it with your team or anyone else who needs to see it.

TotalCtrl mobile app - stock count report sharing

TotalCtrl inventory management system can help your hotel or restaurant increase efficiency and reduce cost by automating manual tasks and providing inventory data, analytics and reports for better decision-making.

If you’re interested in implementing TotalCtrl at your hotel or restaurant, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Our team is always available to answer your questions and help you get started with TotalCtrl.

 

 

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An inventory management system can help a hotel reduce costs in several ways:

  • Reduce food and beverage waste: With an inventory management system, hotels can track the usage of items in their inventory and avoid overstocking. This can help reduce waste and save money by ensuring that the hotel only orders what it needs.
  • Reduce manual labor: An inventory management system can automate many inventory-related tasks, such as delivery control, issue reporting, stock count, and checking price variations, and expiry dates. This can reduce the need for manual labor and free up staff time for other tasks.
  • Optimize purchasing: An inventory management system can help hotels optimize their purchasing by keeping track of inventory levels and price variations while providing an overview of turnover time and purchasing needs. This can help hotels avoid stockouts and reduce the cost of rush orders.
  • Improve forecasting: An inventory management system can provide hotels with real-time data on inventory levels, usage, and trends. This information can help hotels forecast demand more accurately and make more informed decisions.
  • Prevent theft and loss: An inventory management system can help hotels prevent theft and loss by providing real-time visibility into inventory levels and usage. This can help hotels identify and address issues quickly before they become a bigger problem.

Overall, implementing an inventory management system can help hotels reduce costs and improve efficiency by optimizing inventory levels, digitizing manual processes, and providing real-time data for informed decision-making.

TotalCtrl is an inventory management system that has proven to give good results for hotels and restaurants. We can help your business become more efficient and profitable, with our inventory management technology. 

Contact us

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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
Exclusive for totalctrl.com

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417 000 tonnes of food is thrown away yearly in Norway, corresponding to NOK 20.7 billion and 1.26 million tonnes of gas emissions. We use the earth’s resources to produce food and up to ⅓ of this goes to waste. Food waste emits large amounts of methane and carbon dioxide, leading to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions. Each of us can make an impact on the amount of food that is thrown away as well as the authorities and municipalities having the power to change how we handle food waste.

The European Waste Framework includes major goals to improve food waste for consumers and businesses. UN’s sustainability goal 12.3 also states that we will half the world’s food waste by 2030.

What can we do today to get one step closer to achieving these goals and following the guidelines?

Recycle Waste

First, it is crucial that we ensure that food waste gets reused properly.. Food waste and leftovers can be converted into bioenergy during decomposition processes. It is therefore important to build effective partnerships between municipalities and companies that handle food waste. Such cooperations can help ensure that organic residues are converted into bioenergy.

We Need to Learn More and Spread the Word

There are several players out there who have a vast amount of knowledge on food waste and sustainability. It is therefore critical that institutions such as schools reach out to such players by helping to create awareness about this.

Cooperation Between Authorities and the Food Industry

The food industry accounts for 46% of all food waste. Therefore, industries and the authorities must work together to reduce this measure. The government can implement change by setting goals and introducing laws and regulations. For example, financially supported initiatives for the introduction of sustainable technology and support initiatives from the business community.

Food Banks

Food Banks collect food from places such as grocery stores. The food is then either stored in a warehouse or given away as soon as possible given expiration dates. Food Banks donate food to aid organizations or deliver food packages to people who need it.

Introduce Inventory Systems

The largest contributor to food waste is the public sector. For example, schools and kindergartens account for 12% of food waste in the public sector. This can be greatly reduced by implementing softwares that is suitable for inventory management given the relevant business. 

With TotalCtrl, we can take a big step together towards the goal of halving food waste by 2030.

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Restaurants do inventory counts several times a month as they receive orders at least once a week. The manual work is time consuming and most restaurants spend more time than they think when it comes to inventory management.

The restaurant managers we have worked with would much rather spend their time on other tasks (e.g. counting cash, dishwashing) than constantly having to make time to count their inventory.

Why do most people want to avoid counting their inventory manually in restaurants? We see that there are several reasons for this.

Lack of Organization and Control

One of the reasons that keeping track of inventory is so time consuming is that prior to getting to the stage of counting inventory, time needs to be spent on organizing, cleaning and sorting products. 

You have to get rid of items that have gone out of date, clean the shelves, sort and group different types of items – all this before you can even start counting each item.

No System for Expired Products

Most restaurants know that FIFO is an important rule when it comes to inventory management – First In, First Out. In a time-pressured industry such as the restaurant industry, one will often just grab the first thing one finds and therefore often easily forget this. Waiters may  feel that it is not their job to oversee this or do not see the value of FIFO. Furthermore, the management team does not have time for this.

Whatever the reason is for not being able to follow the FIFO-method, a significant part of restaurant inventory ends up being thrown away, making it much harder to keep count.

Read more about how restaurants can reduce food waste here.

Lack of Knowledge Among Employees

Let’s say that you as a restaurant manager have control over an organized inventory and follow the FIFO method. But, you know you can not do this alone. Many new waiters and employees come in and out of the restaurant industry, this means that more time and effort needs to be spent on teaching staff how to manage inventory. 

Price Lookup

After you have counted as well as organized stock and written everything you have down on paper, you have to look up all the prices. You probably have several hundred items in your stock and need to look over the price you paid for each of these, another time consuming task. 

Manual spreadsheets

After organizing, counting and researching prices on inventory – all this is then manually entered into a spreadsheet on the computer. This can often lead to several errors, underlining why counting items manually  is  hard and time consuming.

Time-consuming Calculations and  Analysis

Furthermore, you also need to analyze numbers for your restaurant and understand what those numbers mean. Have any items disappeared? Are you ordering too much of something that leads to food waste?

Furthermore, the whole process needs to be repeated again….


Inventory counting is a time consuming and endless process that can be improved with the help of inventory management software. Read more here about how the HORECA industry can digitize their inventory system.

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There are several reasons to be smarter when it comes to fully utilizing the food we buy ? We all need to get better at using leftovers. With this, we give you 10 tips on how to use all your leftovers and avoid food waste:

  1. Have a plan

When planning meals, think about what your potential leftovers can be. This can save you time, money and avoid food waste. For example, when cooking vegetables, you can cook enough to not only last you for the day’s meal but use the vegetables as a soup or a pasta dish later in the week.

  1. Portion and store smart

Many food products come in large packages, it is thus important that you learn how to store this in the best possible way. It can be smart to freeze items such as bread, tortillas and pita. When it comes to your leftovers, you can store this in glass containers, (both reusable and sustainable), allowing you to see what’s inside. To freeze your leftovers, you can use zip-loc bags, labelling it with the date and what it contains.

  1. “Kitchen sink” meals

Well-cooked vegetables, pieces of cheese, beef, shrimp or chicken can be mixed with salad and your favorite dressing for a fresh salad.

  1. Alternative to composting

As an alternative to composting, you can store vegetable scraps in a zip-top bag in the freezer to make stock. This can be thawed and placed in a pot of water. Leave it for 2 hours, strain – and you will have a great veggie stock.

  1. Turn dinner into a lunch

This saves both time and money in a busy everyday life. Place a portion from your dinner in a lunch box and use it for lunch the next day.

  1. Leftovers are ingredients

Your leftovers can be used in many different dishes. If you blend cooked vegetables with a can of tomatoes you can make a delicious veggie sauce for pasta.

  1. Old bread?

Mix together remnants of herbs and bread in your food processor to make bread crumbs, and freeze these. Use as a topping for fried or baked cheese, or you could add cheese and make a spread for baked mushrooms.

  1. Leftover day

Do you have a lot of leftovers that accumulate in the fridge during the week? Dedicate a day where you commit to “eating down your fridge”. 

  1. Soup

You can make soup out of the extra vegetables you have from a previous meal. Put it in a blender with 3 cups of vegetable/chicken broth, and heat the soup. Add a little spice and top with pesto or croutons.

  1. Don’t buy in bulks

Buying in bulk may be convenient, but this shopping method leads to more food waste. Try to avoid buying more food than you need. Instead of big hauls at the grocery store, have frequent trips every few days. Remember to use up all the food you purchased during the last trip before buying more groceries. Also, make a list of items that you need to buy and stick to that list. This will help you reduce leftovers, save food and money.

And not to say at least, you can make a pizza out of almost anything?

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Monday 31 May, we held our first “TotalCtrl webinar” on digitization and green technology. Here we wanted to go deeper into how the technological landscape in municipal Norway looks like today and why digitization is important for sustainable development in the public sector. During the webinar, Charlotte Aschim (CEO, TotalCtrl) and Nam Vo (Project Manager, TotalCtrl) shared their experiences with green technology and their work in the fight against food waste.


The technological landscape in municipalities today
We have noticed that Norway is behind our neighboring countries Denmark, Sweden and Finland when it comes to digitization and technological development in municipalities. A lot of people might associate new technology with something that is time- and resource consuming, and are skeptical of new things they do not know. This makes the implementation of new technology even more difficult. We see that it is especially the smaller municipalities that is behind when it comes to new technology and digitization. A survey conducted by SINTEF with 340 municipalities shows that it is easier to implement new technology in the large municipalities than in the small and medium-sized ones. Much of this may be due to lack of resources and expertise.


Challenges in kindergartens, and nursing homes
We see that the older generation work at nursing homes, where one can imagine that these do not absorb new technology as well as the younger generation, and rather want the old routines that have worked in all years. The kindergartens we have worked with, on the other hand, have a greater knowledge of environment and sustainability. Several kindergartens are green flag certified, environmental lighthouse certified, health-promoting kindergartens, environmental kindergartens and / or BREEAM certified. One of the reasons for this may be because there are more young people working in the daycare sector who often stay up to date with what is going on in the technology world. But even in kindergartens, we see that they have challenges when it comes to manual routines, and that the use of pen and paper is still common practice. An example of this is seen when ordering food in kindergartens. Each department must check what they have in stock and write down what they will need so that the general manager can collect these notes to be able to order. This often leads to a lack of control, which in turn leads to food being thrown away … This could have been avoided if the kindergartens had better communication and control over what is in them at the various departments.

Ensure good integration of technological solutions in municipal Norway
Based on our experience from both private and public actors undergoing a digital shift, we see some clear similarities in what makes it work:
1. It is important to ally with a so-called “Champion”, ie. a person who is committed and has anchoring authority.
2. One must ensure that both time and money are allocated to the digital shift.
3. Planning, mapping and communication are extremely important factors!

Kommunenorge’s job ahead
The UN’s sustainability goals are becoming more important with each passing day, and aim to secure a future for our future children and grandchildren. Norway has imposed a number of goals on the municipalities that will be tried to be achieved by 2030, including halving food waste. Here we see that there is a great opportunity for municipal Norway to use digitization and green technology. It is important that the municipalities take the initiative, and use the knowledgeable companies out there who want to help.

After a great success with this webinar, our next webinar will have the theme “The digital kindergarten” which will be held in June.

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