This is how the Best Lunch 2022 top 3 restaurants minimize food waste

This is how the Best Lunch 2022 top 3 restaurants minimize food waste

Preventing waste is one of the most essential acts of responsibility for restaurants, as the impact on the carbon footprint is large. The less waste, the more sustainable the daily life of the restaurant. In addition to that, minimizing wastage improves the restaurant's profitability, so everyone wins when it comes to reducing wastage. We asked the top three of the Best Lunch in Finland 2022 (Suomen Paras Lounas) competition, what methods the public's favorite restaurants have to combat food waste.

Late Lunch take away has completely eliminated Satama Bar & Bistro

For 2022 Best Lunch winner restaurant Satama Bar & Bistro, food waste prevention is at the core of the entire restaurant operation. The goal from the beginning has been that Satama does not store anything, but that the food is served fresh every day.

"Nowadays, we have virtually no waste at all. Every day, the ingredients come fresh from the suppliers; both meat, fish, vegetables and fruit," says restaurateur Habi Saini.

The decisive factor has been the Late lunch take away, born from the idea of chef Mohammed El Sayed, where during the last half hour of lunch, between 2:30 and 3:00 p.m., Satama sells everything that is left from the lunch for 5 euros per portion.

"When the late lunch is over in the afternoon, we can just put all the empty dishes in the washing machine," Saini sums up.


When Habi Saini started as the owner of the restaurant, about 5-8 people used Late Lunch every day, but thanks to the stronger branding and advertising of the concept, nowadays there can be up to 20-30 applicants for a take away lunch, and there is not always enough to pick up for all those who want it.

"From the start, it took about 3-6 months for the loss to completely disappear with Late Lunch. Word of Late Lunch started to spread very quickly," says Saini.


Late lunch take away born from chef Mohammed El Sayed's idea.

Late Lunch is part of a bigger responsibility strategy at Satama

Sainia has been pleased to notice that Late Lunch is picked up by several different groups of people; pensioners, students and working people as well as residents of the Kalasatama area.

"We really want to be responsible by offering our support also socially and community-wise, be it charity, donating food or selling good food at a lower price."


Satama has not wanted to limit how much food you can buy from Late Lunch, and therefore you can pick up a portion either in your own box or in the Satama's take away box. The possibility of using your own box also reduces general waste generated. More and more people come nowadays with a box brought from home. Saini praises the thoughtfulness of people when using the concept:

"Customers are very considerate of others, that is, they only take what they need. However, there is an opportunity to get food every day."


Read more about the ingredients Satama Bar & Bistro had for the victory of Best Lunch in Finland 2022 competition. 


Kalasatama´s Factory is committed to preventing wastage as part of the chain's common strategy.

Kalasatama´s Factory prevents wastage with menu design and durable take away boxes

Factory Trooli, which came second in the Best Lunch in Finland 2022 competition, is also located in the popular Kalasatama area in Helsinki.

"The best way to minimize waste is good menu planning and preparing the right quantities. We don't use ready-made products in our cooking, so by making our own we can regulate the amount of food made in a different way than those restaurants that heat semi-finished products", says Risto Heinäluoma, the manager of Factory Trooli.


The operating methods of the Factory lunch restaurant chain have been duplicated throughout the chain, and thus the effect in reducing wastage is also multiplied. Tracking the progress of food is an essential part of the everyday life and planning of restaurants:

"We have data on the sales of different days and different foods. We also monitor the day-of-the-week variations closely. Correct order quantities of raw materials and planning is the most significant factor in reducing wastage."


The Bring Back food boxes reduce the waste generated from single-use boxes

In addition to quality, good food and customer experience, minimizing waste is one of the most significant things in Factory's business. In addition to that, thinking about responsibility is closely related to the chain's operations. For example, restaurants offer their customers a Bring Back lunch box to pick up take away food.

"Factory restaurants have invested heavily in recent years in their own responsible food box, i.e. the Bring Back concept. This has been cited as a positive and responsible option by many parties. The best thing is that customers also like to use this high-quality option," says Heinäluoma.


The Bring Back food box with deposit can be used in all Factory restaurants. It can be used at any time against a deposit and returned next time when you arrive for lunch, in which case it will be washed according to hygiene rules. Instead, the customer immediately receives a new, clean box, in which he can take his take away portion for that day. When the customer wants to stop using the Bring Back boxes, they get the deposit back.


At Mimosa Aiito, the amount of food is carefully planned and any surplus is sold in the ResQ application 

Mimosan Aito, located in Kouvola, came third in the competition in 2022 and the winner of the 2021 competition. The restaurant relies on fresh ingredients and careful planning of the amount of food.

"Everything starts from ordering the right amount of goods. We constantly monitor the number of customers and order raw materials according to the current situation and forecast. We make preparations according to the forecast, i.e. according to the estimate of the number of customers for the day. We actively discuss the number of customers in the work community and do our best to make just the right amount of pre-prepared food," says restaurateur Mimosa Koskipuro.

In Mimosan Aito, the preparations are kept separate and the food is only served one serving at a time during lunchtime or one portion at a time in the evenings.

"We never make a large amount of food and put it, for example, in a warming cabinet, but we assemble the food from pre-made preparations and fry it on the go. This way, if there are any raw materials left over at the end of the day, they can be used the next day. For example, chopped tomatoes are frozen and used as a base for tomato sauce."

The clear order of use of ingredients is an essential part of a smooth restaurant routine at Mimosan Aito; there are clear instructions for unloading the load and the ingredients have their own places. This way, everyone knows which ingredients are used today and which tomorrow.

"When you make it from high-quality ingredients, from scratch, with skillful seasoning, there is no uneaten food left on the plate either. However, if ready-made food remains in stock, we will put it up for sale in the ResQ service. About 5 portions are sold daily through the ResQ application."


Responsibility is the key in Mimosan Aito

Waste management is one of the decisive factors in Mimosan Aito's restaurant operations in terms of success and responsibility. The restaurant actively tries to avoid waste in all our operations, from orders to plate waste.

"All the food that goes away is money in the trash and an unnecessary burden on the environment. In addition, of course, we sort the waste correctly and responsibly. We have our own waste containers for every quality."


In order for everyday life to function as desired, the training and professionalism of the staff is crucial. Mimosan Aito has clear rules for managing losses. By following the established guidelines, the amount of loss has remained small from the beginning. Koskipuro says that responsibility is the key word in all activities at her restaurant. It can be seen in the preference of producers and supply chains in the surrounding area:

"We are constantly moving more in the direction that the ingredients come directly from the producer. This also keeps supply chains short. The ingredients we use are mainly products of the flora. There is a rich salad table, organic bread from nearby, vegan hot food and one hot meat dish. The meats we use also come to us from producers' farms in the nearby area."


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