Single site, independent restaurants can find it a challenge to accurately monitor and manage food waste, imagine then the task Emma Hill faced in her role as Head of Food, Health, Safety and Environment at one of the UK’s largest and most diverse contract caterers, CH&CO. Read on to find out how the SRA helped Emma to find a solution to her spreadsheet struggles.
We have more than 750 sites across the UK – including workplaces, destinations, venues, events, education, livery and healthcare. At the start of the process food waste management varied enormously, with some sites performing very well, while others had a bit more work to do.
First and foremost we wanted to ensure consistent, effective measurement across the whole of the business. We had a system which saw our people at every site add their figures to a spreadsheet and then centrally we would collate all of them onto one sheet. It was a logistical and time-consuming challenge to get everyone to submit accurately and on time, every time. For us to implement an effective food waste reduction programme across the business we needed to have the most accurate information at our fingertips.
I approached the SRA for advice on how best to standardise and simplify the way we were measuring and monitoring our food waste – a system that would allow us to access granular detail at a micro level and assess the performance of the whole business at a macro level.
As the SRA was working with Unilever Food Solutions, the head of the membership team introduced us, suggesting we use their Wise Up on Waste app.
We decided to run a trial with 25 representative sites across the portfolio. A team member from each site received a log-in and an introduction to the system.
We ran a three-month trial and it proved extremely user-friendly, providing an excellent overview of wastage with very useful pie charts and graphs. What it didn’t deliver was the granular detail that both we at head office and some of our clients were looking for.
As a starting point, I would recommend Wise up on Waste – particularly for a single site restaurant or small business. It’s free and provides a great grounding for any business at the start of its food waste reduction journey, breaking it down into waste streams and volumes. During the time we used the app we reduced food waste by 15%.
It certainly helped take us to the next stage of our food waste management focus. We’re lucky enough to have our own IT team. We’re now working with them to develop an in-house solution that we can tailor to the needs of our business and that of our clients too as we continue our ongoing commitment to reduce food waste – by 20% by 2020.