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Hot savings made at two gourmet Indian restaurants

Improved stock management and portion control could cut food waste and save significant amounts of money at Bapu Hospitality’s two Glasgow-based restaurants
  • Stock management systems make big reductions in food waste
  • Total potential annual savings of £26,000 identified across both restaurants
  • Simple and free measures like portion control and Good-to-Go boxes highlighted

Most of us have eyes bigger than our stomachs when it comes to ordering delicious food in restaurants. But it creates a food waste problem when we don’t clear our plates. Our experts recently went to work to help Bapu Hospitality tackle this issue at its two restaurants, the Dhabba and the Dhakin in Glasgow.

The Dhabba and Dhakin restaurants offer a unique range of Indian dishes from opposite ends of the sub-continent. The Dhakin’s 20-strong team serves food from the south of India. The Dhabba, with a larger staff of 25, cooks up northern Indian food. When we visited the restaurants in February 2017, they were producing 26 tonnes of food waste a year. An investigation revealed that the bulk of this – about 70 per cent – came from plate waste. Most of the waste produced at preparation stage, such as vegetable peelings, was unavoidable. At the Dhakin, rice was the most wasted plate food, followed by salad. Bread and curry sauce were big waste culprits in both restaurants.

We recommended a series of measures. The first was to introduce better portion control. This could be introduced right away with no upfront cost. We hosted a workshop where Bapu Hospitality could find out more and consider how best to put portion control into action.

“The workshop helped us to identify and discuss practical ways to optimise portion control to reduce food waste. One of the key ideas we took away to reduce plate food waste is a focus on customer feedback,” says Navdeep Bas, Bapu Hospitality.

Listening to your customers is important when making a decision that might affect their experience of your business. It seemed to make sense to reduce the portion sizes of rice, salad, naan bread and curry sauce. However, the restaurants wanted to start with just rice and salad sizes. In their experience, people expect a good-sized naan and plenty of curry sauce. We know it can be tricky balancing customer perception and experience with reducing waste. However, customer feedback will help inform future decisions, and reducing plate waste by 20 per cent a year is a great start and will save £5,400 a year.

We also suggested that the restaurants introduce a stock management system to optimise the purchase of raw materials and ingredients, and track their use. This would require a one-off investment of £4,000, but save the business a substantial £19,000 each year.

As a final measure for tackling plate waste, we recommended the restaurants make use of our Good-to-Go boxes. These environmentally friendly, upmarket doggy bags allow customers to take home their leftovers. The boxes are stamped with Zero Waste Scotland’s seal of approval and made from easily recycled cardboard – a distinct improvement on plastic and foil take-away containers.

A pilot scheme of the Good-to-Go boxes found plate waste could be reduced by 40 per cent by encouraging customers to take uneaten food home. As well as minimising food waste, use of the boxes increased customer satisfaction and boosted the sustainability credentials of the business. There was also evidence of increased sales – if you know in advance you can take the food home, you know there’s nothing to lose by ordering that extra dish. 

In addition to plate waste, we suggested that the restaurants could extend the life of their cooking oil by 50 per cent by using a filtration fryer. These cost around £3,500 each but could yield a total annual saving of £1,600, paying for itself in just over four years.

Our recommendations added up to a potential saving of 22 tonnes of food waste. This would prevent 42 tonnes of C02 emissions, and save the business £26,000 a year. Now that’s a saving worth getting fired up for!


Prevent food waste in your business, too

If you’d like to find out more about our Good-to-Go scheme and or any of the other food reduction methods mentioned, please contact Resource Efficient Scotland on 0808 808 2268 or email us at

Our support to reduce your business costs through food waste prevention and reduction are funded by the Scottish Government and by the European Regional Development Fund through the £73 million Resource Efficiency Circular Economy Accelerator Programme. 


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