How to run a profitable kitchen – reduce waste

By Tim Goode

Food wastage in a kitchen can be extremely costly and is one of the main obstacles to running a profitable kitchen.

In this blog, I share some ideas on how to minimise waste in a commercial kitchen.

In a recent interview with CEO of Buckley’s Entertainment Centre Mr Michael Tonks, I asked the questions “How do you deal with wastage in the kitchen?”

Michael’s response was straight to the point. “Tim, I don’t give my kitchen staff an allowance of any sort to have any wastage. If you do, they can abuse it and potentially stock walks out the door. Kitchen staff make note of any wastage. When wastage is too high, you’ll soon find out due to your COGS being high”.

The main reasons food waste occurs are:

  • Meat trimmings;
  • Over-sized food portions;
  • Excessive ordering of stock which spoils; and
  • Preparation of too much food which can’t be re-used.

Through proper management of the kitchen and having a good knowledge of produce, wastage can be minimised. Examples of ways that waste can be minimised are:

  • Purchasing your meats pre-cut;
  • Being resourceful with any meat trimmings/bones (eg make stocks);
  • Using unused meats/proteins for a stews/bakes, etc;
  • Resisting the urge to buy produce in bulk (even when discounted);
  • Review your portion sizes; and
  • Date and label all of your produce.

Mr Tonks explained how he manages his kitchen wastage. “You need to have a good knowledge and understanding of the produce you’re working with. Excess trimmings of meats/vegetables, etc. should not be thrown in the bin. These should be used in other menu items, for example, making a stock or sauce.  Another example is the chicken tenderloins off the chicken breast. Instead of throwing these out, you can make tasty chicken satay skewers from these. The key to reducing wastage and running a profitable kitchen is to use as much of the produce as you can.”

Wastage can be a big problem in your kitchen if you allow it to be. Through proper management and understanding of your produce, you have every chance at reducing wastage and running a profitable kitchen.

If food wastage is a problem within your kitchen, feel free to contact our team to discuss our Master Class options.


Sky Accountants Ballarat & Bookkeepers Ballarat Office

Phone: 1300 328 855
Office Address: 902 Howitt Street, Wendouree, Victoria 3355, Australia
Postal Address: PO Box 2234, Bakery Hill, Victoria 3354

Sky Accountants Sunbury & Bookkeepers Sunbury (Melbourne) Office

Phone: 03 97444522
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