Revel Blog

What Is The True Cost of Food Waste?

Revel | January 12, 2023 |

Industry Insights and Trends
What Is The True Cost of Food Waste?


Globally each year, around 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted, and 40% of that comes from restaurants. These numbers illustrate the pervasiveness and severity of the problem as well as the resounding impact it has on the world. 

Food waste continues to be a major problem not only environmentally but economically. Read on to learn more about the cost of food waste and how food waste management in restaurants can be your food waste solution

What Is The Hidden Cost of Food Waste? 

Food Waste can seriously hurt your restaurant’s bottom line. Essentially, throwing away food is throwing away money. According to the National Restaurant Association, on average, a restaurant loses four to 10 percent of food they purchase. 

Working to reduce food waste can cut an individual restaurant’s costs by 2 to 6 percent. Also, for every $1 companies invest to reduce food loss and waste, they can save $14 in operating costs

More and more, restaurants are receiving pressure by environmental organizations and governmental bodies to limit food waste and enact prevention strategies. For example, New York City found that its restaurants were responsible for generating half million tons of food waste a year. 

In response, the mayor initiated the “Food Waste Challenge” to help reduce food waste by committing to a 50 percent decrease in food waste.

With the costs saved by implementing food waste strategies and environmental impact it has on the world, food waste strategies should be top of mind for your restaurants.

In What Ways is Food Getting Wasted at Restaurants? 

Data from the Waste and Resources Action Program (Wrap) estimates that in commercial kitchens, 21% of food waste arises from spoilage, 45% happens during food preparation and 34% comes from customers’ plates. 

So, how can you help combat some of these issues and implement food waste solutions? One possible answer is simple—a point of sale system with built-in tech solutions for food waste management. 

Waste Reduction With Your POS System 

Limit the effects food waste has on the environment and commit to cutting costs by implementing a digital inventory management system. By tracking inventory closely and frequently, you can reduce the amount of food waste in your restaurant. When shopping around for an inventory management system, here is what the system should include to help with food waste management:

1. Categorization

Your ingredients’ life cycles vary widely. For instance, the ingredients that make up a burger and fries come from different vendors, perish at different rates, and vary in consumer demand. 

With granular tracking capabilities, you can know exactly when and how much you need to purchase for each ingredient. You can easily find thousands of items by organizing them in categories and get granular by displaying items by size and color in your food waste management system. This allows your restaurants to stay organized and limit the effects of food waste.  

2. Intermediate Tracking

At this level of inventory tracking  you can better track spoilage and make in-house ingredients. As is often the case, some recipes need to be modified on the spot. So put a system in place to ensure you’re getting a detailed picture of your inventory numbers, from large supply vendor deliveries to last-minute recipe adjustments. Real time inventory tracking allows you to limit food waste costs by seamlessly syncing inventory activity to your backend records. 

3. Forecasting

Many different factors can influence inventory levels throughout the year. Automatic stock alerts and purchase order creation help you monitor stock levels with alert thresholds and allow you to easily create new purchase orders when stock levels need adjusting.

The cost of food for the preparation of meals is the second largest expense in restaurants. Be sure that you are complimenting your inventory management system with other food waste environmental impact practices, like changing your menu to minimize leftovers, implementing food waste recycling and composting everything appropriately, repurposing ingredients, keeping your stock organized, and donating excess food.

Let Revel’s Food Waste Management System Help Your Restaurants

The reality is that the restaurant industry is a huge threat to our global food supply. With over 80% of food improperly disposed of, restaurants are losing money, hurting their reputation, and diminishing our food supply. 

Revel's inventory management can help combat the effects of food waste and is a key feature within our point of sale software system. As mentioned it lets you keep track of your inventory at the ingredient level in real time. You will know what to restock and when, striking the perfect balance for on-hand inventory.

Our inventory management system will minimize your waste and maximize your profits, ensuring you have what you need—but never more than you need—to delight your customers. Additionally, Revel's inventory application allows for rapid stock counting on the store floor, and inventory tracking is supported for Online Ordering XT, so that customers are aware of items that are out of stock no matter how or where they choose to shop with you.

By implementing a robust inventory management system with Revel Systems and living by the three R’s — reduce, reuse, recycle — restaurants can become advocates of sustainability as well as increase profits through less food waste costs. Get started today.