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The new menu for the new normal Q&A

We answer your top questions from our recent webinar 

Gerry Boyle of Zero Waste Scotland, Craig Wilson, Chef/Owner at Eat On the Green and Mark Irish, Head of Food Development at Brakes Group, provided their insights on the questions raised during our webinar.  The recording is available to watch online.

If you would like to discuss how your business could work with Zero Waste Scotland to receive specialist support and advice, please email the team.  More information on our Food Waste Reduction Business Support.

Read the Q&A from our webinar 'Cut Costs by Cutting Food Waste'.


What advice would you offer a new food business opening later this year?

Take advice from as many people as possible, peer groups within the industry and webinars are very important as you’ll learn a lot.  There are really exciting times ahead, people will be innovative and creative, there's a lot of information out there that will help you.

Be sure to cost everything accurately and believe in your product 100% and make sure that your business is immaculate.  Right now, people want to buy with confidence and, if you like it, they'll come back.

Be willing to adapt, be agile and of course contact Zero Waste Scotland to see what we can do for you.

Do specific 2-week menus make it harder to improvise or reuse items?

Listen to your customers so you know what they like, the best way to reuse leftovers is to twin them with a key, special ingredient that you know your customers will love, for example Marinated venison.

Over the years I have seen a lot of waste concerning usage of game meat. What are solutions for the future?

Chefs and suppliers can get behind recipe development, and showcasing can help.  It’s important to educate staff on the value of food and the problems with food going to waste.

The food waste costs were very relevant, but what more needs to be done to get all operators to act in measuring and reducing their food waste?

If you can reduce the amount of product you have without affecting your menu that's one thing you need to look at.   Ensure that one product can do several things across your menu which will reduce ingredients and reduce waste.  Through menu complexity analysis you may find that you're buying a lot of products & ingredients that you don't need.  Also look at smaller pack sizes, shelf life especially and chilled lines.

It’s about the language that we use, waste should be an opportunity, it's gone right up the agenda and reducing it is an absolute necessity.  The zero waste approach is obviously going to benefit but right now I don’t know a business that can afford unnecessary waste.  What I would say very, very passionately is we need to sit down and say “guys this is something I need your full support with and can't afford to waste money on waste”.

It may not be next year, but mandatory measuring of waste is on the agenda, we are here to help you get ahead of the curve.

How can ingredients be maximised for the public sector with all its requirements to offer choice, meet nutritional standards and infection control.

The same philosophy around menu simplification applies to every sector. Reduced labour - the same principles apply.  Large suppliers often have expertise in this business and work with the sector to ensure the managing their food waste and menus.  We can offer support to the public sector, you can contact us by email.

I have limited space in my kitchen how do you expect me to replace 1 bin with 3 bins?

We know space is at a premium in every kitchen but we’ve adopted this in kitchens big and small with much success.  The volume of waste should be reducing with this system, so you don’t need 1 big bin, have 3 smaller bins instead.  You may need to empty more often, but it’s a small price to pay to save on the waste.

Can anyone advise on portion sizes for takeaways? It seems that customers expect big portions but I'm sure they cause a lot a waste.

A lot of businesses had to adapt to take-away service for the first-time during lockdown, and it can be a huge learning curve.

It’s best to standardise, keeping your portions the same in venue as takeaway.

Craig, inspiring to hear how you remained resilient during lockdown. Could you tell me if the Facebook live had a positive impact on retaining customers?

Craig “It was very positive speaking to my customers more than I would have previously, getting feedback that has allowed me to design my new menus”.

Can I get in contact at a later stage?

Absolutely! Our email address is food.drink@zerowastescotland.org.uk

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