How to motivate your restaurant staff to waste less food

a month ago
  1. Find out what they’re passionate about

Food waste is one of the world’s most senseless problems economically, socially and environmentally. But which of these areas resonates with your staff the most?

Is it the fact that food waste contributes to a huge proportion of greenhouse gases? That much of the world’s population goes to bed hungry each night? Is it simply that their hard work is going to waste?

Have candid chats with your staff to find out which area resonates with them the most. This information is a powerful platform for step 2.

  1. Use your findings to track your impact

Once you know what factors your staff care about the most, you can use that information to help them realise their impact.

Measure the weight of how much food they’ve saved, then calculate the CO2 equivalent they’ve prevented. Find a food bank scheme you can donate money you make by selling your surplus - let them know how many people their waste-fighting efforts have helped.

Make sure you’re regularly reminding them of the real impact they’re making by reporting back during staff meetings, or creating a chart for the kitchen wall.

  1. Create easy systems

It’s hard to maintain motivation to reduce food waste if the systems in place are cumbersome. Be sure you look for ways that don’t have a huge impact on day-to-day operations.

Too Good To Go can help you sell food surplus that requires no extra equipment or manpower. Create a ‘doggy bag’ station at an easy-to-access point of the kitchen, with a constant supply of sturdy containers. Hire an extra kitchen hand to track waste for a fortnight, so the onus doesn’t fall on already-busy staff.

The easier the systems are to manage, the more likely staff are to keep them up.

  1. Find food waste champions within the team

There’s only so much top-down motivation you can pass on. It’ll pay to seek out a few food waste champions within the team - perhaps your most fired-up environmentalists or egalitarians - and ask them to lead the project.

This shared ownership also means your initiative is more likely to maintain momentum even when you’re not there.

  1. Set targets, and brainstorm a bonus or reward scheme

By introducing an incentive, you’re more likely to inspire even the least passionate staff.

Once you’ve tracked how much food you’re wasting, and established a set of systems and initiatives for reducing that waste, it’s time to set some targets. Just be sure the targets are well researched so they’re lofty but achievable.

Be sure to let staff know what the targets are, and what the reward will be if they meet them. Think a team dinner, food to take home, an end-of-month bonus, an extra day of leave, or a thoughtfully-chosen voucher. 

Rachel Ramsay
Content Manager