How A Kitchen Management System Can Cut Down on Waste


What is Food Waste Really Costing Your Quick Service Restaurant?

How A Kitchen Management System Can Cut Down on Food Waste

Food waste is a significant challenge for restaurants of all sizes and segments—whether quick service, fast casual, or full service. Each year in the United States, restaurants waste approximately 25 million tons of food, accounting for 40 percent of total food waste1.

In fact, the average quick service restaurant produces between 25,000 and 75,000 pounds of food waste in a given year2. That’s enough food to fill two dump trucks.

Multiply this impact across tens or even hundreds of restaurant locations throughout your franchise, and you have a food waste dilemma of monumental proportions.

Few quick service restaurants realize the direct impact food waste has on profitability, efficiency, and customer satisfaction. However, the direct cost of food waste to a QSR is estimated at roughly 18 cents per meal between the cost of procurement, labor, utilities, and waste management3.

In total, the financial impact of food waste is estimated at $57 billion for restaurants alone4. The good news is, for quick service restaurants, technology offers the ability to dramatically reduce food waste—while also driving greater profitability, efficiency, food freshness, and guest satisfaction.

Let’s take a look at how a kitchen management system can help you improve your food quality management and reduce food waste.

1. Aligning Projections with Sales

First and foremost, a quick service kitchen management system should project food needs by pulling historical and real-time usage data directly from your point of sale system.

By better aligning preparation and cooking practices with demand patterns, your restaurant crew will not only reduce waste, but also reduce shortage—effectively increasing guest satisfaction and sales.

2. Assisting Staff in Preparation

Beyond more accurately predicting needs, the right kitchen management system can assist kitchen crew in more accurately preparing food items. For example, the system can guide your crew through the prep and thaw process so the food is ready to cook at the right time.

A KMS also provides centralized, electronic access to recipes, enabling your restaurant crew to cut back on preparation mistakes that lead to wasted food.

3. Automating Hold Times

Next, a kitchen management system that has been purpose-built for QSRs should integrate with product holding units to automate temperatures and hold times.

This empowers staff to continuously view pan levels and identify items that are at the end of their hold times, so that the appropriate amount of food can be prepared at precisely the right time.

4. Product Holding Unit Alerts

In addition, a quick service kitchen management system will monitor product holding unit performance, alerting restaurant crew and product holding unit vendors in the event of an outage.

Ensuring product holding units are continuously performing enables restaurants to prevent unnecessary spoilage and reduce waste.

5. Ongoing Measurement & Optimization

Last but not least, a QSR kitchen management system unleashes real-time insights that shed light on kitchen performance, enabling franchises to proactively identify and address the causes of food waste and improve overall food quality in every kitchen of your organization.

SICOM Chef™ Kitchen Management

SICOM Chef Kitchen Management enables restaurants to move the needle on speed and quality by optimizing preparation and cooking processes in the restaurant kitchen, then empowering your staff to carry those changes into action.

Kitchen Management Quick Guide

Learn how a kitchen management system transforms efficiency and reduces waste.

Download Guide

kitchen management quick guide

This post was updated on August 15, 2018.

Ryan Hildebrand
April 11, 2017

Our resident expert in all things middle of house, Ryan provides an insightful perspective on how kitchen and drive thru technologies can be harnessed to make a meaningful impact on speed of service and food quality.

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