The Modern Pantry
You can't manage what you can't measure.
The Modern Pantry Cafe and Deli, a two-floor modern restaurant in St John's Square, Clerkenwell, took part in the Sustainable Restaurant Association's (SRA) food waste survey in 2010. Head chef Robert McLeary says that doing a food waste audit really helped them understand the composition of their food waste and where it came from, whether that was food preparation, food spoilage or portion sizes. This meant that the kitchen staff were able to take some simple but effective steps to reduce waste at source:
- Filling portions are part of the restaurant's philosophy but the waste audit inspired the chef team to work on a smaller portion size that minimised food waste on plates while still keeping the portions generous.
- A doggy box is also offered as part of the SRA's too good to waste campaign and diners are encouraged by the restaurant staff to take away any leftovers.
- Food preparation waste is minimised by using fresh, high-quality meat and vegetable off cuts creatively to make burgers, pies and soups. Excess food is also used for staff meals.
- High quality meat or vegetable off-cuts are also used to make salads, fish-pies and sandwiches sold at the restaurant's store. By doing this, ingredients that cannot go into its a la carte menu are used to generate extra income for the restaurant.
- A dehumidifier filter was installed in the restaurant's fridges which absorbs any moisture and helps keep food fresh for much longer, keeping food waste costs due to spoilage to minimum
- Any remaining food waste like vegetable peelings is separated from general waste and collected for composting by Islington Council
These simple solutions brought immediate savings from reduced food purchasing costs. Reducing food waste of course meant lower waste collection costs for the Modern Pantry, which also meant that they were able to renegotiate a better contract with their waste collector. Overall, that saved the restaurant £2500 on annual waste collection fees.
For more info on reducing food waste in restaurants see