Using Pre-Shift Meetings to Keep Staff Focused on Food Waste

By Robb White, CEC CCA AAC; Executive Chef & Food Waste Prevention Catalyst  //  January 26, 2018

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It’s like any other priority in the kitchen: if chefs and managers don’t reinforce the message that food waste prevention matters, staff can easily lose focus. Your daily or weekly pre-shift meetings are one of the best opportunities to reinforce your priorities. Here are a few ways to keep your team focused on food waste.

  • Use the “Reports” tab on LeanPath Online to run the “Weekly Meeting Agenda” report on Monday morning. This will give you an overview of the previous week’s food waste tracking and talking points to discuss with the staff. (You can’t say we don’t try to make this stuff easy for you!)
  • Review your current goals. Are you trying to cut chicken waste by 20 percent? Let the staff know where you are on that journey and any strategies your team has come up with to help reach the goal.
  • Explain to your staff the big picture implications of preventing food waste and the impact they are having on the environment: “Last week you guys prevented 5 pounds of greenhouse gases from going into the atmosphere. Who else can say they did that?” Talk about labor savings, food cost savings, and their food donations. This helps your team take ownership of the effort.
  • Brainstorm with your staff daily or weekly about strategies to prevent food waste. Sometimes the best ideas come from those that live it daily. And again, this gives them ownership.
  • Have a “to use” cart in the walk-in with overproduced items or items near expiration and pull it out during your meeting. Discuss with your staff ways to either repurpose the food, or to cut back on what is being placed on there.  
  • Praise those that track food waste. Use the LeanPath “Instant Win” feature that will randomly select staff who have been tracking food waste.
  • Become an engaged and inspiring leader and warrior for fight food waste. If you are excited, your staff will be as well.  Walk the walk and talk the talk.

A successful program starts with having your staff focused and engaged in the process. If you make your waste reduction efforts a living part of your kitchen, you will see the results that you want. Take the time to get them engaged and own the process for tracking waste.

Topics: Food Waste Musings, Food Waste Prevention Newsletter, commercial kitchen