When I opened my first New York Burger outlet in the years following the financial crisis (2009), many people questioned my judgment and wondered how I would create a successful business.
Not only did we have to work harder to increase our revenue, but we had to work smarter to make our restaurant sustainable. I wanted to ensure that we could create happy memories for our customers while positively impacting our local community and the environment.
Although it is nearly impossible to fully eliminate waste, minimizing it to the best of our abilities has helped us thrive in this fast-paced industry. We serve up to 3,000 customers daily, and to maintain exceptional food quality at affordable prices, preparation and organization to support sustainability and waste reduction are essential.
Here are my top tips for achieving restaurant sustainability:
1. Investment in your staff:
To have an efficient kitchen you must employ the right people and invest in their development. Personal vision of how a dish should be presented is useless unless your chefs share that same vision and passion. It’s also important to share responsibility with your team – for example, having them execute effective waste audits – and praise their success to boost staff morale
2. Quality kitchen equipment:
Staff need the right equipment to tackle the tasks at hand. Cheap equipment could break or lead to accidents and, in turn, generate waste. Investing in the right equipment for your restaurant will pay off in the long run.
3. Stock organization:
The moment stock enters your restaurant you need to check that everything is in order. Inspect deliveries to make sure you’ve received the correct items and quantities. Use a stock rotation system to ensure all ingredients are used in order by preparation date – saving time and money, and ensuring the freshest possible ingredients end up on the plate. An inventory management system can also help make these processes easier.
4. Ingredient prep:
Once you’ve prepped your ingredients for service, correctly label and store in clear containers at the right temperature. It’s a critical step for meeting health and safety requirements, and helps streamline service to produce the best possible product for your customers.
5. Maintain consistent portion sizes:
Train staff to portion ingredients to spec every single time. You don’t want to under portion and leave guests hungry, but you also don’t want to over portion and leave money on the plate (and in the trash!). Portioning spoons, scales, and measuring cups can help with consistency.
Since we began our relationship with Oracle MICROS, we’ve seen guest wait time decrease by 50 percent. Simphony Restaurant POS has also helped us increase efficiency and sustainability by enabling easy waste tracking and management. And because we are sure that our technology will do its job, we can focus on creating exciting food and experiences for our guests. That’s the security Oracle MICROS has provided.