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Restaurateurs–Your Cash Might Be In Your Trash

What have we said about a more profitable restaurant business?

It’s all about increased sales and lowered costs. And to achieve lower operational costs, operators need to have a tight rein in their system, including proper management of trash.

We’ve had the Checklist In Managing Your Storage And Inventory last month, and now we’ll deal with your trash. Restaurants large and small find the following questions helpful in making sure that they aren’t losing precious dollars in their trash:

Where do you place your trashcans?

It might be important for you to know that most successful restaurant operators do not store their trash cans in their kitchens—they get rid of these and instead use clear plastic food boxes. Each kitchen employee, most of them chefs in their comfortable chef whites, receives his own plastic food box with his name on it and is then directed to place all his trimmings and scraps into his own food box. This will encourage each one of them to strictly follow what they learned in training and be careful in dicing, slicing and prepping anything in the kitchen. Supervisors and managers inspect the boxes after shift, and if fine, usable products are found in the box, the employee gets an on-the-spot training.

Who, or what, guards your trash area?

It is a sound investment to spend for a security or video camera for your dumpster area. Some employees are tempted to steal bottles of liquor, individual steaks and other costly items by hiding them in their backpacks, purses or coats. But some of them go bigtime and steal entire cases of products by throwing the items in the trash and retrieving it in the dumpster area later. Management often discovers the loss, but knowing how the theft was done is often elusive. A video camera pointing towards your dumpster area and backdoor can help you learn more about these suspicious activities and discourage theft among your employees.

Do your restaurant managers inspect your trash?

The remains of the inspected clear plastic food boxes then goes to the trash cans, which will then be placed in the dumpster area. Smart restaurateurs never allow their restaurant staff to take trash to the dumpster without a manager’s approval. Some control the access to the kitchen doors by keeping it locked and installing panic bars that sound an alarm when some chefs in their quality chef whites or other restaurant staff use it to exit the place. Specific times are assigned for removing trash, allowing managers to have time to inspect the things that have been discarded for the day. This includes garbage cans that have been placed in the dish rooms, with managers making sure that there are no expensive china, silverware and glasses in the garbage.

Do you check your dish landing area?

Checking out your dish landing area is a good idea, too, where an occasional fork, knife or spoon could be found. Most restaurants do this by using bus tubs to scrape dirty plates, allowing the dishwashers to discover the errant utensils before the scrapings are thrown in the trash.

Is someone regularly cleaning your draft beer lines?

Regularly cleaning your draft beer lines also saves your restaurant a lot of money. Busy bartenders tend to pour draft beer to overflow, wasting about 5% to 10% of potential restaurant profits. Your vendor can help you with this by regularly servicing and cleaning your beer lines.

Taking all these questions into account, having the proper answers to it and immediately taking actions about the matter will not only aid you in increasing your restaurants’ bottom line–it also makes sure that your restaurant’s system is efficient and smooth, leading to a harmonious and agreeable working environment for your employees.