Food Waste: Why Do Restaurants Still Throw Out Food

food wastage
About 21 percent of the American food supply goes to waste, with much at the consumer level in restaurants and homes. But the choice to throw out leftovers may often be a rational one based on time and food safety, according to research from Purdue University economist Jayson Lusk. (Purdue Agricultural Communication photo/Tom Campbell)​

Wasting Food is one of the most ironic behavior of humans.

We know that there are millions of people who don’t have enough resource to feed themselves everyday.

Yet, we don’t feel even a slight hesitance in throwing away perfectly good food.

One of the places where this is the most common is at restaurants.

We waste tons of perfectly good food every single day.

At the same time we go around talking about climate change and world hunger.

Restaurants have been wasting food for years now.

But no one really cared about it until recently.

There have been small steps taken in order to fight back the food wastage seen in restaurants.

However, it still looks bleak and inefficient.

restaurant Food wastage

As per the statistics on world hunger, everyday one in seven people have to stay hungry in a day.

Whereas, one in three times we waste out perfectly edible food.

Restaurants claim to have thrown out food because it is no longer edible.

But, Fast Food restaurants mostly throw out the food because of the health and safety standards set by the government.

It will be termed carelessness if anyone gets sick after eating their food. So, every night, fast food restaurants throw out food that could be used to feed someone else instead.


Different Types of Food Waste in Restaurants

Restaurants generally have two main categories of food waste. They are:


1. Pre Consumer Waste:

restaurant Food waste management

The first and the most important type of food wastage is the pre consumer food waste.

These are the food waste inside the kitchen of the restaurant.

These include kitchen scraps and so called “spoiled” food. But these spoiled foods aren’t always inedible.

Companies throw out their inventory without the food is completely inedible.

Moreover, instead of storing these food or throwing it away food companies can make efforts to share it to people who don’t even have enough food for a meal.

The major reason why companies are so hesitant to do this is because the cost involved in giving away food.


2. Post Consumer Waste:

restaurant food waste management

This is the food waste that is accumulated after the food is served to the customer.

Although it is not the restaurant’s responsibility to manage this waste.

However, there are ways in which restaurants can minimize the possibility.

Such as designing a smaller food portion, using smaller plates.

There are softwares introduced by Oracle that can help in minimizing the cost of restaurants in food waste.

Food waste management can save restaurants huge amount of money.

It almost goes unnoticed but this minute issue can help restaurants improve their efficiency.

At the same time help in fighting the environmental issues.


Reasons Why Restaurants in the World Waste Away Food Instead of Giving it Away to Homeless People:


  • Regulations set by the government against food expiration dates.
  • Lack of proper food wastage management system.
  • A lack of thought towards the environment or humanity.
  • Because high end restaurants feel giving away food brings down their prestige.
  • High cost involved in giving out food.

No matter how much the above reasons seem far fetched, it is not.

Restaurants do really throw away food instead of giving it away to homeless people.

And most of the times it is because it might harm their reputation as a high end restaurant.

This can harm their inflow of rich, high end customers.

Similarly, there are direct and indirect costs involved while giving away food.

Restaurants might need to hire more employees just to help in giving away the leftover food.

Likewise, it is difficult to transport the food at different locations without incurring high cost.


Restaurants Food Waste Cost

Food waste is one of the hidden factors driving the cost in restaurants.

It is very easy to not give a thought about it. Yet it consumes a huge part of their expenses.

So, in order to reduce the cost, restaurants need to design various food waste solutions.

The food waste cost is not only endured by the food companies but also people around them.

Restaurants decide to buy and store something only to throw it away in the end.

By doing this they are taking away someone else’s food and using it to hurt the environment.

Food waste has the largest cost to the environment. Land fills with food waste produce the highest amount of methane gas.

This green house gas has been constantly increasing the global temperature.


Restaurant’s Food Waste Management

Food waste solutions for restaurants:

restaurant food

  1. Use Inventory tracking system like oracle.
  2. Try and test different inventory management systems that suits your business.
  3. Use research to design optimal servings in restaurant.
  4. Make rules about food wastage in your restaurant for the customers.
  5. Let the customers decide how much food they want.
  6. Collaborate with companies that take and deliver leftover food to the homeless.