Restaurants are a major source of food waste in the US. This week, NPR
featured two stories about this troubling issue. The first article
discusses some of the overall issues of restaurant food waste. The
second focuses on one of Mario Batali's restaurants that is trying to
reduce their food waste using software to track food waste, called
LeanPath. They are piloting the program for use in small restaurants.
Restaurant food waste is a confounding issue. On one hand, the food
(and food waste) are generally all handled by staff, so one would think
it would be only a matter of training the employees to separate the food
waste and then collecting the food waste for composting, digestion, etc.
Unfortunately, it's not always that simple. Disregarding the glaring
problem that we need more infrastructure to deal with food waste, simply
training employees to sort the waste can be a major hurdle, as was
experienced at Batali's restaurants. Restaurant staff tend to be
low-paid positions with a high turnover rate, and for anyone who's
worked in a restaurant, knows it can be extremely busy and stressful.
The staff can be reluctant to change their routines, and owners and
managers can be reluctant to pay for the extra time to sort waste in the
highly competitive food service industry. I am optimistic, however, and
believe that through increasing society's awareness of the issues of
food waste, sorting food waste can become second nature for all of us.
Perhaps with restaurants showing they are willing and able to separate
food waste, there will be a push to develop the needed food waste
Have a great weekend,
For Restaurants, Food Waste Is Seen As Low Priority
November 27, 2012
No Simple Recipe For Weighing Food Waste At Mario Batali's Lupa
November 28, 2012