About one third of the food produced worldwide goes to waste. Yet when considering the entire world population, an estimated one in eight people suffers from undernourishment. Meanwhile, the global weather conditions are making it harder and harder to supply food to the growing population, raising the price of food costs. For businesses, food waste is beginning to mean increasing amounts of money lost, making an even bigger case for trying to adopt the head-to-tail cooking ideology. Chefs can view the practice as a challenge to lower food costs, and begin experimenting to reduce restaurant food waste and maximize profits.
Though the term head-to-tail usually implies using every part of an animal possible, as meat, when considering how to save money, food businesses can maximize profits by applying the idea to vegetables as well, with root-to-stalk cooking. Some ingredients are easier than others, but many do not exhibit their full potential in restaurant dishes regardless. Take celery for example: the starchy root can be roasted, pureed, or used in soup; the green stalk can be used in salads and stews; and the leaves can be used in stocks or even as a base green for an unusual salad. On the other hand, a vegetable such as cucumbers are usually sold and used as is, without the other components of the plant, making it almost impossible to implement the root-to-stalk method.
Head-to-tail cooking’s food costs efficiency depends on the type of meat and the skills of the kitchen staff. If at least one member of the kitchen staff knows how to separate cuts of meat from a carcass, and if the restaurant has adequate and sanitary commercial refrigerators to store carcasses in, the business owners can consider purchasing whole carcasses when considering how to run a restaurant. If not, the parts may have to be purchased separately, which can raise food costs and make it more difficult to maximize profits, if the parts are not chosen carefully.
Head-to-tail cooking can have positive impacts on a restaurant menu, making it stand out from typical venues in the area, by forcing the kitchen staff to invent dishes based on unusual ingredients. Homemade sausages, for example, are a rare delicacy to feature on a menu. When choosing how to run a restaurant, most business decision-makers prefer to avoid the hassle of creating such dishes, despite their rarity and association with gourmet home-made cooking. Taking on the head-to-tail challenge and ideology in the restaurant kitchen can be a great restaurant marketing move because of this, by drawing customers interested in seeing the meals creatively put together with the theme of head-to-tail cooking.
Reducing restaurant food waste and food costs should be on the forefront of a restaurant owner’s mind. The head-to-tail method is a great way to do this, while keeping the job interesting for kitchen staff that will be challenged by the idea, and by raising customer interest in the dishes. The head-to-tail method is difficult to apply to all ingredients, but is an interesting way to maximize profits that should be considered when choosing how to run a restaurant.