Your dumpster wants a technology upgrade in 2018

Your dumpster wants a technology upgrade in 2018

By Geoff Aardsma, VP of client service, Enevo

The stash of Christmas cookies has been eaten, holiday decorations have been stored away and New Year's resolutions have been made. Along with "new year, new you" claims comes a fresh start in the restaurant industry. The holiday season business craze is settling down this month, but what does that mean for a restaurant chain's waste?

What's driving your waste?
Unless you are looking through your restaurant waste week after week, it's hard to gauge what a fast casual chain's waste stream actually consists of. During the holiday season, some restaurants may have seen an increase in waste volume, while others noticed a decrease as sales peaked during that time period. Either way, their waste needs likely fluctuated during one of the busiest times of the year.

Waste volume has traditionally been monitored and tracked manually, which is often inconsistent and prone to human error. Waste services providers can place sensors in the restaurant's dumpster and do this type of measuring and monitoring more accurately and reliably.

Understanding the waste stream changes not only prevents unnecessary pickups or dumpsters from overflowing but can provide valuable insights to impact the restaurant's bottom line. For example, if a restaurant chain's sales increased during the week of Christmas but saw a decrease in waste volume, sensor data may uncover that the majority of waste consists of unsold product or inventory that spoiled. Fast casual operators can also learn that if waste actually increases during peak sales periods, there might be excess packaging from supplier deliveries, they may be serving too big of portions or food is not being properly prepared.

Knowing what's driving waste generation leads to cost savings that could have otherwise been unknown. And with that data also comes the ability to better predict waste management needs, eliminating the stress of dumpster overflows or missed collections. These insights result in lower waste costs, fewer operational disruptions and higher profit margins through more informed supply chain management for restaurants.

New year, new goals
The beginning of a New Year presents a perfect time for restaurants to evaluate their current waste and recycling programs, to implement new technology and to leverage services for a more efficient, cost-effective solution in 2018.

Being aware of the themes and patterns of a restaurant chain's trash probably isn't what most operators immediately think of in terms of New Year's resolutions. However, waste and recycling is difficult to benchmark without physically peeking in the dumpsters every week, and without benchmarking, fast casual operators can't create measurable, actionable goals. Waste services providers can help restaurant chains to define the operational metrics that will drive success in 2018 — and they won't let them ditch their goals by February.

Treat your restaurant's waste to an upgrade
Smooth operations for the restaurant industry and specifically, fast casual brands, is a top priority in 2018.  But, increased waste volume and varying weather conditions can often cause inconsistency in the delivery of scheduled waste collections from haulers during the winter months. Quality of service is put in jeopardy during a time when it's critical for everything to go as planned, leading to disruption of operations and added headaches for fast casual operators in dealing with these issues.

As restaurants look to be their best selves in 2018, they may want to consider the benefits of connected technology in all areas of their restaurant operations — including waste management. Technology-enabled services help restaurants to uncover valuable analytics for their operations and deliver fully managed services to provide peace of mind that allows them to truly enjoy the New Year.  

Topics: Sustainability, Systems / Technology

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