The number of meals typically consumed by Irish people outside of the home is increasing. As a result, food service (including hotels, workplace canteens, bars, restaurants, etc.) is becoming an ever more important sector in relation to food waste prevention in Ireland.

The main sources of food waste in this sector are typically related to:

  • Unused, outdated and damaged stock
  • Food uneaten by customers
  • Prepared but unserved food
  • Preparation waste
  • Food cooked/prepared improperly

There will always be a certain level of food waste associated with this sector. For this to be minimised, the main types of wasted food, and the reasons for generation, must be identified. While reasons will vary for different types of food service business some of the primary issues are:

  • Large portions
  • Over-ordering by customers
  • Issues with stock control leading to spoilage
  • Over-ordering by kitchen staff (e.g. just in case ordering)
  • Poor menu planning
  • Improper storage
  • Lack of communication internally and with customers
  • Poor preparation practices

Relevant resources

Commercial Food Waste Research Report

This research project, which was carried out by the Clean Technology Centre (CIT) and funded by the EPA Research Programme, examined the main food waste producing commercial sectors in Ireland. With over 50 food waste surveys carried out in food service and food retail businesses, a series of sectoral food waste profiles, benchmarks and food waste cost factors were developed.

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Less Food Waste More Profit

This updated version of Less Food Waste, More Profit aims to inform people within the food service industry of the significant issue of food waste and the potential solutions. Originally published in 2010, it has been updated based on work conducted by the Clean Technology Centre (CIT) on the EPA funded research project ‘Reducing Commercial Food Waste in Ireland'.

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Food Waste in Hotels – Daily Service

The hotel sector is responsible for 53,000 tonnes of food waste, costing the sector an estimated €180 million per annum. Hotels have to balance the expectation that cooked food is always available to guests while also trying to keep waste and costs down. Not an easy task.

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Food Waste in Hotels – Functions

The hotel sector is responsible for 53,000 tonnes of food waste, costing the sector an estimated €180 million per annum. More often than not, function numbers are known, but balancing a good customer experience while keeping waste and costs down needs close attention. A good experience doesn’t have to mean lots of food waste.

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Food Waste in Quick Service Restaurants

Restaurants (both quickservice and full-service) are responsible for 40,000 tonnesa of food waste, costing the sector an estimated €115 million per annum. Tight margins and low price points in this sector make reducing food waste an excellent opportunity to improve gross profit.

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Food Waste in Full Service Restaurants

Restaurants (both quickservice and full-service) are responsible for 40,000 tonnes of food waste, costing the sector an estimated €115 million per annum. Reducing food waste is an excellent opportunity to improve gross profit and can be done without affecting customer experience.

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Food Waste in Canteens

Workplace canteens are responsible for 27,000 tonnes of food waste, costing the sector an estimated €95 million per annum. Tight margins and low price points in this sector make reducing food waste an excellent opportunity to improve gross profit. It is also an area worthy of CSR initiatives.

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Champions 12.3: Business Case for Reducing Food Waste in Hotels

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Champions 12.3: Business Case for Reducing Food Waste in Catering

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The ultimate guide – monitoring and measuring food waste

A guide produced by Resource Efficient Scotland

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