The above applies to all food businesses but mostly for fast food business for the reasons that will be listed below .
Before highlighting more about the balance needed between reducing wastage and customer satisfaction let's agree that in the restaurant business there are some expenses that business owners might have little or not much room to control namely rent , Franchise fees (if applicable ) , staff payroll to a certain extent , Food cost (in franchise and fast food is not a choice to substitute ) , also depreciation and mortgages if any...
Here a business owner says , well let me work on reducing food wastage , if we look again at fast food business basically business peak hours are between 11 to 1 pm for lunch period and 17 to 18.30 for dinner , other parts of the day would have an up and down depending on the business location & Access - for those peak times kitchen staff tend to stuff their hot holding cabinets with full load of each item that will be sold on the menu , fries will be fried in bigger quantities etc... , at the end of the rush hour whatever is kept in those cabinets will have certain time as per food safety to remain in the hot holding , if not sold within that time frame it ends up in the garbage as wastage .
The same applies to all other periods of a business day , where kitchen staff have to prepare their mise en place and cook certain quantities to be ready for serving it immediately .
Here comes a business owner and says i want the team to reduce wastage , so Manager in charge and kitchen team starts to go around the rules and keep the food items that are in the hot holding cabinets for longer than allowed which reduces the quality of those items and a paying customer ends up getting the same paid menu item but for a lower quality , if this gets repeated more often it will end up by loosing the customer to competition .
A business owner might have achieved his goal of reducing wastage but will notice a drop in his financial revenues .
Here is the fine line of controlling wastage and impacting your customer satisfaction , we definitely should control wastage by educating and training our staff , managers should be hands on and observe the preparations during different time intervals during the day and determine at what time do we have the most wastage (implement wastage sheet by meal period if possible ) , also we need to observe if a particular staff is creating more wastage than others (why not have wastage record by staff name ) , here we can determine whether staff requires more training or it might be a problem of attitude and carelessness.
Business owners should make a clear statement to their teams by asking them to control wastage yet not to allow this to have an impact on customer satisfaction ,"Quality" is the factor that makes or breaks any restaurant business , your customer's loyalty is the key for continuity ,
Quality + Consistency = Satisfied customers & Repeated business = Increased profitability and healthy cash flow .