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Ecolab Can Help Your Bottom Line | Ecolab Food Safety Solutions

Boost Your Bottom Line with Reduction of Food Waste

By Cindy Rice, RS, CP-FS, MSPH Eastern Food Safety

One of the easiest ways to control costs is having a good food rotation and labeling system. A consistent food rotation program can help you get a better sense of your actual product needs, reduce waste, and lead to more cost-efficient ordering practices. This best practice can help you manage costs even more than comparing distributors’ pricing, purchasing in larger quantities, or shopping at large discount stores.

training staff food safety best practices

Imagine the feeling when you get to the bottom of a case of lettuce, and the last few heads are unusable, rotten and brown, or when you discover a bloated package of vacuum-packed steak tips that needs to be discarded. These represent real hard-earned dollars down the drain. Restaurants throw away millions of dollars of food every year, and one national study1 found that food establishments throw away between 4 and 10 percent of foods before they even reach the customer. This is due to four main factors: overproduction, expired products, food spoilage, and overtrimming meats and produce.

Food safety is impacted as well because food spoilage contributes to increased bacterial growth. This increased risk of foodborne illness can be costly to businesses on many levels. The average cost of an outbreak is approximately $75,000, according to National Restaurant Association statistics2. Many businesses never recover from such an event.

Cost savings and inventory control are right before your eyes, with these important tips:

food rotation program reduce food waste in restaurants
  • Explain clearly to workers the reasons why food labeling and rotation is important and the risks to quality, safety and cost controls if not done properly.
  • Train staff to not waste food, and to closely follow “First In, First Out (FIFO)” rotation principles - i.e. oldest foods are used first and before they expire.
  • Train staff how to arrange products in coolers, i.e., older products in the front so they may be used first.
  • Demonstrate how to fill out labels, how to calculate "use-by/discard dates", and use a consistent labeling method such as Daydots® pre-printed labels or Daydots Prep-n-Print™.
  • Label both refrigerated and dry products with their "Use-by" or "Expiration" dates with Daydots Food Rotation Labels. Refrigerated prepared foods or leftovers must be used within 7 days of preparation.
  • Portion out food items before service to eliminate tendency to over serve particular menu items. One extra shrimp or scallop per serving can result in dramatically increased food costs in the blink of an eye!
  • Daydots Portion Bags encourage food rotation by date. They have the added advantage of standardizing portion sizes, which also helps to save in food costs.
  • Maintain labeling supplies: Daydots Food Rotation Labels, label racks or displays, markers.
  • Overcome language barriers and learning differences of employees by considering visual aids, Ecolab posters, Daydots color-coded labels, Prep-n-Print and portion bags. These can help take the guesswork out of the system and eliminate mistakes in date-marking and rotation.

The benefits are right before your eyes when you practice safe food handling and good food rotation methods.

Customer Satisfaction. Foods will be more wholesome, with improved quality, freshness, taste, appearance and texture, leading to repeat customers.

Food Safety. Date-marking and rotating foods help lower the risk of harmful bacterial growth, resulting in safer foods and reduced liability of foodborne illness.

Cost Savings. Reduced product waste or loss, inventory control and more efficient ordering practices, more consistent employee behaviors, and improved compliance on inspections.

quality food, customer satisfaction