It’s Brunch Time: 10 Tips on how to make your Brunch more sustainable

The trend towards brunch is unbroken. The delicious mix of breakfast and lunch has developed from a small get-together into a real event. No wonder, because it is perfect for extended get-togethers with family and friends, where young and old get their money’s worth. Unfortunately, the typical brunch buffet is not particularly sustainable. On the one hand, because of the variety of offerings that are rarely eaten; on the other hand, because it is served buffet-style. Unfortunately, both contribute to food waste. Now we certainly don’t want to spoil the event for you and your guests. Instead, we have ten tips for you on how to make your brunch more sustainable and thus help save food and avoid waste – not only for the sake of the environment, but also for the sake of your food costs!

Did you know that, on average, one third of all meals produced in the catering industry end up in the rubbish? This figure is from Germany, but it is similar in other countries. For brunch, the percentage is probably even higher. Because at the buffet, the eyes are usually bigger than the stomach. We don’t want to reproach your guests for this – if you arrange everything so deliciously, it also whets the appetite. But not everything that ends up on the plate can be eaten. Not even if the brunch drags on for hours. With these simple tricks, you can counteract this and still offer your guests full enjoyment without restrictions!

Go for seasonal and regional products

Salmon from Norway, strawberries from Spain, avocados from Mexico – it all tastes delicious, but does it really have to be from so far away? The ecological footprint of these delicacies is devastating. There really are great seasonal products from our own country at any time of year. For Easter brunch, for example, carrots, parsnips, spinach, leeks and peas are already harvested, and even the first asparagus has arrived! 

The same applies to other products such as meat, cheese and, especially important at Easter, eggs. If you buy these regionally, you not only relieve the burden on the environment, but also directly support the farmers and traders in your neighbourhood. You are also welcome to talk about this: Your guests will also be interested in knowing where your products come from. 

Calculate your needs

We all know that a wide, varied range of food is expected, especially at brunch. Nevertheless, you should bear in mind: per meal, one calculates a food quantity between 600 and 1,000 grams for adults. Men eat a little more, women a little less. Children eat an average of only 400 grams. Just because two meals are combined at brunch doesn’t mean you have to keep twice as much on hand. 

Ideally, you should ask for a reservation for brunch anyway so you know the approximate number of people to expect. If your guests book by phone, there is nothing wrong with asking who is coming. Are there more men? Will there be children? With this information, you can better estimate how much food you need to prepare. 

Even the usual reserve of 30 percent does not necessarily have to be adhered to. Honestly, it’s always far too much! Try 15 or 20 percent as a reserve. That will significantly reduce your food waste!

We all know that a wide, varied range of food is expected, especially at brunch. Nevertheless, you should bear in mind: per meal, one calculates a food quantity between 600 and 1,000 grams for adults. Men eat a little more, women a little less. Children eat an average of only 400 grams. Just because two meals are combined at brunch doesn’t mean you have to keep twice as much on hand. 

Ideally, you should ask for a reservation for brunch anyway so you know the approximate number of people to expect. If your guests book by phone, there is nothing wrong with asking who is coming. Are there more men? Will there be children? With this information, you can better estimate how much food you need to prepare. 

Even the usual reserve of 30 percent does not necessarily have to be adhered to. Honestly, it’s always far too much! Try 15 or 20 percent as a reserve. That will significantly reduce your food waste!

Check your inventory

A brunch in particular invites you to use goods in stock. To make tartes, terrines, mixed salads or soups, you can also use stock instead of ordering everything from scratch. For this, however, it is of course important that you know exactly what you still have in stock. This is where warehouse management systems like Storate come in handy. 

All products are recorded in the software and can be tracked from delivery to processing. Every withdrawal is registered just as easily via the barcodes, so that the stocks update automatically. You can even see which products are about to expire by their best-before date and then bring them forward in the planning. All data is securely stored in the cloud, so you can check stock in real time from any internet-enabled device. Everything is under control at a glance, making purchasing planning much easier. 

Are you curious about the warehouse management software Storate? Find out more here about how you can keep a better overview of your inventory. 

Use as many components of your products as possible

The Zero Waste movement makes it possible: The awareness to process raw materials in their entirety has grown strongly in the meantime. You probably already do this in parts, for example, for stocks and sauces. But why not try using vegetables even more efficiently? The leaves of cauliflower taste delicious and are suitable for salads; vegetable cuttings are still good for a tasty soup or can be preserved. The peelings of potatoes or apples can be used to make crispy chips. Or try a pesto made from the stalks and leaves of carrots or radishes. And did you know that you can make a mild pepper substitute from the seeds of a papaya?

You may need more time to prepare for this, so start planning early. 

Again, share this information. We are sure that your guests will be more than happy to help themselves if they know that there is a whole cauliflower in their dish – and not just its white florets!

Offer doggy bags

If you’ve spent five hours in a restaurant, you certainly don’t feel like cooking in the evening. Make it easy for your guests and offer them to take some of the cold dishes with them. Of course, only when you can foresee that your offer is sufficient 😉 In a nice, branded package, your restaurant will be remembered for a longer time. 

Important: Here, of course, only food that is insensitive comes into question as the cold chain will be interrupted on the way home. Therefore, only offer fully cooked dishes and rather those that can be easily transported. If soup spills on the beautiful dress on the way home, the happy mood will fade. 

Serve as much as possible

Consider beforehand what really needs to be offered for self-service. It might be a good idea to offer the classic breakfast dishes such as bread, jam, yoghurt and cereals on the buffet. But already for cheese and cold cuts, and even more so for everything that goes in the direction of lunch, you can just as well develop a special brunch menu. Then serve your dishes either on plates or table by table on platters. This is another great way to present a great selection of your treats. As part of a flat rate, your guests then simply reorder what they particularly enjoyed. 

It’s no different with drinks. It’s amazing how much juice, coffee or even sparkling wine is saved when ordered in portions. Not so much because it takes a lot of effort to ask for refills, no – they also reduce the loss of drinks. 

Of course, serving food and drinks requires more staff. But in return, you have the effect that you can control the quantities yourself. In addition, everything that is not yet called up remains in the refrigerator instead of slowly becoming inedible on the buffet. Both of these factors result in much less waste.  

You definitely want your brunch to be a buffet? You can also make it more sustainable!

Focus on portions

Instead of presenting starters or desserts in large bowls, you can also place ready-portioned plates or small glasses on your buffet. This looks appetising, offers the possibility of great combinations and comes in bite-sized quantities at the same time. 

You also have another advantage: the buffet looks neat for longer. After all, with self-service, something tends to go astray. What’s more, everything stays fresh because you simply fetch the next tray from the cold store to top it up. 

Consciously top up

Speaking of topping up – here we come to a major challenge with the buffet. Guests expect to find a full buffet at the end of their visit. Gaps are perceived as shortages. Now of course, your guests should be well looked after all-around. And they will be. However, you should get into the habit of rearranging your buffet every now and then during opening hours instead of constantly replenishing it. Many starters can also be combined when supply and demand are running low. Or you can replace the hors d’oeuvres table with the cake table during the course of the day. This way the buffet never looks empty. 

With the hot dishes, you can also switch to slowly dismantling the chafing dishes when the rush is over. This is especially easy at brunch. If someone still wants something from the main courses, just bring it back from the kitchen. You can point out this possibility in a friendly way with a small display. 

Use smaller plates

This is a tried and tested principle that is also used by many people who want to lose weight: reduce the size of your plate. A smaller plate will never be as full as a large one. If your guests are still hungry, they can go back to the buffet as often as they like. By the way, the small plate has another advantage: guests tend to try smaller portions first as a result. This also has an enormous impact on food waste. Because if you realise after just one bite that the dish doesn’t suit your personal taste, you only have to dispose of a small remainder – and not an entire portion.

By the way, “size matters” also applies to serving dishes, bain maries and chafing dishes. Smaller containers simply look fuller and are easier to replace. 

Learn from your experience

A brunch, sustainable or not, is always a good opportunity to review waste behaviour and learn from new experiences. 

Observe how many leftovers go back. Weigh them out if you like. And then compare the values with your original calculation. It is also informative to observe which leftovers go back. If a dish is disproportionately represented, it probably just didn’t taste good, so you can safely cross that off your menu. 

Apply your findings to the next event of this kind and make your brunch more sustainable. This way you can also plan your use of goods better in the long term and avoid food waste at the same time. 

Are you curious about how you can save money, time and food through clever planning and the necessary technical support for inventory management? Then let’s talk.

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