Foodservice Updates is designed to help foodservice operators keep on top of all the industry news and provides tips for keeping business running smooth. We endeavor to provide the latest tips and solutions to keep you in the know.
Waste not, want not
An increasing number of restaurant operators nowadays are looking to cut back on their food waste, whether for the health of the bottom line, the good of the planet, or both. But some operators are taking the trend to new levels. Take Copenhagen chef Matt Orlando of the restaurant Amass, which has adopted a zero-waste policy. According to Skift Table, Amass incorporates food from the restaurant’s organic garden, uses only a limited amount of refrigerator space, and keeps stems, skins, seeds and other often-discarded items to use as seasonings, misos and crisps. The restaurant uses dehydrators to ensure food byproducts are dried and incorporated into recipes instead of taking up space. While the restaurant offers many high-end items on its 10-course, $163-per-person prix-fixe menu, it spends only 18 percent of its budget on food by finding uses for everything. One case in point: The restaurant has a nightly bonfire where guests eat s’mores browned with recycled coffee vinegar. At the end of the evening, the bonfire ash is used to make lye that is then used to soak vegetables for extra texture. At Washington, D.C.’s Kyirisan, chef Tim Ma looks at food waste as a challenge to his creativity, in addition to a means of saving money. NPR reports that at the restaurant, carrot tops are blended into a creamy pesto and carrot peels are fried and used as a crunchy garnish. Sea bass bones are used to make stock and their heads could be deep-fried and served as an off-menu item. Ma told NPR, “At the end of the day, it's a business decision. You do this as a function of saving every penny that you can, because the restaurant margins are so slim right now."
Blockchain fact and fiction
The market for blockchain is expected to grow exponentially in the next few years, according to Statista, and a number of companies in the food industry, from Tyson to Starbucks, are launching pilot programs to explore the technology further. That said, it’s important for restaurant operators to appreciate what blockchain is and is not before they entrust it to solve the next contamination crisis. Food Safety Tech shared some tips to help separate blockchain fact from fiction. First, blockchain has the potential to do for the supply chain what email has done for communication, but it may take a while – perhaps 10 years – for the technology to become ubiquitous enough to be that powerful. Second, you need much more than blockchain software to create a traceability program. Blockchain is about speeding up the existing traceability processes in place, expediting the flow of data between partners in the supply chain. The foundation needs to be strong in order for the overlying technology to deliver. Third, blockchain does have the power to reduce the time needed to issue food recalls from weeks down to minutes, but that’s only true when there is a food traceability program already in place. A traceability program that protects food safety is achievable without blockchain; the technology merely accelerates the communication between partners in an already-established system. The potential for blockchain is enormous and, when developed further, should give restaurant operators significant predictive powers when making decisions about everything from inventory to energy costs. In the meantime, shore up the foundation supporting you and your partners in the supply chain.
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