Apr 18, 2024

The secret to reducing food waste in contract catering – invite your clients to the game

When googling ’food waste in the catering industry’, you get millions of hits. However, at Pej we believe there is one hidden gem amongst all of these initiatives, one action that can be utilised to create even greater results – that is inviting clients to your movement. Together, you can elaborate and optimise food service benefits to decrease food waste in catering.

Invite clients to join your movement

Sustainability matters to everyone, and together, you can achieve more. Inviting clients to decrease food waste in catering is a triple-win solution. It benefits you as a caterer and extends advantages to the client and their employees — your esteemed guests.

What is in it for you as a contract catering operator?

Food wasted = revenue loss

Let’s consider a scenario where 5% of your food per site is wasted instead of consumed annually, resulting in a potential revenue loss of £30, 000 per year. By reducing just 20% of this waste you could increase revenue with approximately £6000 per year. With hundreds of sites, the revenue adds up.

Enhance loyalty

Collaborating with clients will increase returning visitors and reliable revenue. You create a ”stickiness” that keeps guests coming back for more. It also showcases that you are a kind-hearted company doing what you can to contribute.

Reduce environmental impact

Businesses must play their part in reducing their environmental footprint. Launching a benefit program to reduce food waste in  is a proactive step towards a more eco-conscious way of living.

What is in it for the client?

Employee success

Food has a way of bringing people together. Offer clients the tools to fuel tomorrow’s workforce and let their company culture blossom. Empower clients to retain and attract talent with meal benefits that do good for the world.

A more sustainable company

Consumers increasingly value sustainability and responsible business practices. By demonstrating a commitment to reducing food waste in catering, clients can enhance their reputation and attract environmentally-conscious customers.

What is in it for the guest?

Retention from the employer

Providing green food service benefits signals that the organisation cares about employee well-being beyond just work-related matters. It shows a commitment to fostering a sustainable and supportive workplace environment. This support for well-being can improve job satisfaction.

Set up a benefit optimisation strategy

A benefit optimisation strategy involves allowing clients to offer items from the canteen as food benefits for employees in a flexible manner, with the goal of achieving specific objectives, such as reducing food waste. This strategy entails providing clients with food benefit programs designed to incentivise behaviours that result in reduced food waste.

1. Identify target areas

Gather data on food waste in catering patterns, including types of food wasted, reasons for waste, and locations where waste occurs. Is too much food prepared, does it expire or are the portions too large?

2. Set goals

Establish clear goals for reducing food waste in catering, such as specific targets for waste reduction percentages of quantities.

3. Use the right client and benefit administration tool

With manual management of benefits and daily allowances, this strategy will take hours and hours to activate. Use a client and benefit solution that has a client interface; a login for clients to instantly adjust subsidies and benefits for their employees depending on what food needs to be saved. Easy administration must be included.

4. Invite your clients to the game:

When you have decided on target areas, goals and tools it is time to invite clients to the initiative. Present the value to the clients and offer them an easy way to join. Here are three suggested actions:

The “rescue food” client initiative

With the right Client and Benefits platform, you can invite clients to view offers in the client portal and instantly decide if they should subsidise the items as employee benefits.

Instead of an email campaign for example, you as a site operator can push items that are soon to be wasted for clients to view. You offer a discount and suggest the items as suitable employee benefits within the joint decreased food waste initiative.

This action will be an appreciated retention tactic to increase employee satisfaction and raise awareness around sustainability. The “rescue food” campaigns can be done in a dynamic and instant way. Is an item about to be wasted? Let clients know!

Leftover lunch -> a delicious dinner benefit

A good way to reduce food waste from lunch is to repackage and sell the food as delicious and cheap dinner options.

With connected fridges, employees in the building can pick up a leftover lunch and take it home for dinner as a benefit from the employer/your client. Give clients a discount on the food and they might offer it as a benefit to their employees.

Performance-based discounts

Introduce performance-based discounts where clients receive rebates on catering services based on their food waste reduction achievements. Set specific targets for food waste reduction and reward clients who meet or exceed these targets with future service discounts.

5. Monitor and optimise

Be sure to follow up and optimise the action plan. Like any other plan; do more of the tactics that work and less of the ones that do not contribute to success.

The right, dynamic solution

At Pej, we have years of experience helping food service businesses digitalise their customer journeys, and with digitalisation comes ways of working more sustainable.

Client & Benefit solution

In the Pej Client and Benefit solution, you and your client can build any incentive using any data — personalise subsidies to a granular level or offer rules to rule them all. The administrative aspect is straightforward; no coding required, and the user interface is intuitive for all. This flexibility empowers you and your clients to set up benefits and meal plans that resonate with any sustainability goal. Easy administration included.

Guest Wallet

The benefits are added to a personalised wallet that stores and organises food service benefits, meal plans and discounts. The wallet is linked to a company badge, tag or credit card and can be used at any point of purchase. When a guest orders at the checkout, app, or smart fridge, the wallet finds the right price based on the contract and applies correct information to the receipt.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you wish to talk about sustainable benefits, innovative customer journeys, or contract catering technology – we’d love to hear from you.