At a time when operators of just about every stripe are concerned about rising food costs, any tips to help avoid food waste are welcome. We came across an interesting one on the “Food Waste Focus” blog maintained by Andrews Shakman, CEO of Lean Path.
Shakman notes that in many cold and central production prep rooms, product is created and dated with expiration dates that don't specify a time of day.
“The prep workers know whether the expiration is supposed to occur at the end of the date shown on the label or at the beginning,” he says, “but other workers don't understand the label. An item labeled ‘June 18th’ is assumed to be expired if it's 9am on June 18th, even if the original worker meant for it to expire at the end of the day — say, 11:59 PM on June 18th.
“As a result of this confusion, many operators are losing up to 24-hours of product life from grab-and-go items and other dated products. This adds up to a lot of money!
“The solution is simple: label items clearly with the expiration date and time, including AM or PM. Then communicate this change widely among the team to ensure that items are not discarded prematurely. Watch the savings add up!”
Shakman's blog has other interesting observations about food waste as well. Check it out at http://blog.leanpath.com/