Technology has dramatically changed the way commercial kitchens operate. Yet, it can be difficult to know which investment will have the biggest impact on your operations and bottom-line. Organizations looking for the right investment to future-proof their kitchen may be surprised to discover that commercial food waste digesters can put them in alignment with the biggest trends shaping food prep organizations today.
Experts have consistently called out three major trends impacting food preparation organizations. Technology that meets these three commercial kitchen trends will be particularly well suited to helping organizations future-proof their kitchens:
Efficiency – Efficiency today is less about getting meals prepared faster and more about doing the same amount of work with fewer staff. Ongoing labor shortages and high turnover within the restaurant and hospitality industries are driving more commercial kitchens to adopt advanced technology that can plug these gaps. While new automation and robotic solutions may help fill some labor roles, more impactful solutions simply ease the labor demands on staff so they can spend more time in customer-facing roles.
Sustainability – Climate change is front of mind for consumers and businesses than ever, and is encouraging – and, in some cases, requiring – more environmentally conscious purchasing decisions. Sustainability is increasing demand for energy-efficient equipment, farm-to-table sourcing, and other healthful decisions. In addition, some localities are mandating separation of organic waste and separate disposal to reduce the impact on the environment of food waste.
Data analytics – Data-driven technology is playing an increasing larger role in commercial kitchens. Rising food costs, supply chain disruptions, and labor costs make it more important than ever to have reliable data on food consumption and trends. Data is essential for fueling decisions around food procurement and staff scheduling.
Commercial food waste digesters are one example of an innovative technology that stands at the intersection of these commercial kitchen trends. This onsite, environmentally friendly solution for the disposal of food waste helps commercial kitchens reduce their carbon emissions, provides clear data on food waste, and reduces the burden of labor on kitchen staff.
How food waste digesters work
Commercial food waste digesters are solutions for diverting food waste from landfills. This is an important step for any food preparation organization, as the landfill decomposition of organic waste is a significant contributor of greenhouse gas emissions. When organization waste is sealed, it decomposes in an oxygen-free process that emits methane gas. Methane, the second most abundant greenhouse gas, has a global warming potential that is 84 to 87 times greater than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period.
While there are two different types of digesters, they all use microorganisms to break down organic material into either grey water or biofuel.
Anaerobic digesters use an oxygen-free process to convert organic material into methane. This methane is then converted into biofuels. While the U.S. Department of Energy notes that biofuels burn cleaner than traditional fossil fuels, many such digesters require significantly more feedstock to produce fuel than is available through daily waste disposal. Anaerobic digesters for business or campus use are typically installed outside and may have special hookups for fuel to be used onsite. For some units, installation can take as long as six months.
Aerobic digesters use oxygen, water, and microorganisms to convert organic waste into grey water. This gray water can be used in landscape irrigation or disposed of down the drain. LFC biodigesters use this aerobic process. These units can be installed directly in the commercial kitchen, with some flat units doubling as additional counter space. Installation time, including staff training, takes less than a day.
How an onsite biodigester future-proofs your kitchen
Digesters clearly can create a more sustainable kitchen. Better still, they can provide data to stakeholders proving sustainability claims. However, equipment like the onsite LFC biodigester also deliver valuable efficiency and data analytics.
Having an LFC biodigesters installed directly in the kitchen simplifies the process of sliding organic waste off of plates and directly into the sealed equipment. It also reduces the number of trips your team will make (and plastic bags they will use) to transport kitchen waste into outdoor bins. Limiting this backbreaking work gives your staff more time to spend in more value-added, customer-facing interactions.
In addition, LFC biodigesters come with lifetime access to the LFC Cloud. Through the use of NFC cards, the LFC Cloud online dashboard provides data on how much and what type of food waste is being digested on an hourly basis. With this data, businesses can more accurately identify rush hours in order to optimize scheduling. This data can also identify which dishes generate the most waste, information that can guide changes to recipes and menus. Businesses can also use this information to better gauge inventory levels and track seasonal demands.
Moreover, food preparation organizations are finding that onsite biodigesters can lead to long-term cost savings. Many businesses see a payback on their LFC biodigester in under two years. At that point, they begin benefiting from additional savings in traditional waste management costs. If a machine is rented or leased, the monthly payments are often less than the cost of the trash collection, so that the machine pays for itself the day it is installed.
Choosing the right commercial food waste digester
To effectively future-proof your kitchen, it’s important to select the right commercial food waste digester. Before purchasing a unit, consider the following factors:
- Size needed. The digester you purchase will be designed to process a certain weights of waste each day. Select the right unit by first determining how much food waste you’re sending to the garbage on a typical busy day.
- Flexibility. Some solutions, like the flat top LFC-100FT biodigester, deliver extra flexibility for kitchens that might be short on space.
- Staff adoption. Working with a digester company that provides training to staff ensures that your team’s transition to a new way of handling waste is seamless. For some operations, adding tools like the SBH lug cart and SBT bin tipper might further simplify your team’s role in moving, lifting, and disposing of organic waste.
The team at Power Knot can help identify the right-size onsite biodigester for your operation. Contact us any time with questions or to begin the process of future-proofing your commercial kitchen with an LFC biodigester.