Author Topic: Waste in the food service industry.  (Read 7843 times)

Mr. Minsc

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Waste in the food service industry.
« on: November 01, 2013, 10:57:13 AM »
It is my understanding that restaurants, catering companies, hotel kitchens, etc. dispose large quantities of perfectly good unused food on a daily basis.  This is due to health/safety regulations and I can see that as being a good reason.  It is a shame though, at home I hate seeing food go to waste.  If there's a 1/4 cup of mashed potatoes left save it and I'll have it for lunch the next day. ;)

Now, lets just say I have a friend who works at a hotel kitchen.  As long as he keeps it on the down low he takes home leftover food destined to the waste bin.  Just for fun, lets say I get a good portion of said food which feeds me nearly every weekend.  I certainly would be a fool to turn it down perfectly good free food eh?  ;)

rockstache

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Re: Waste in the food service industry.
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2013, 01:53:58 PM »
My mom works in a hotel kitchen. It makes her really sad to see all the good food go to waste every day. In her case, the local government/shelters have made the regulations so strict on what can and cannot be accepted that most hotels and restaurants find it easier to dispose of the food than to jump through all sorts of hoops, only to be held responsible in the event that something is handled improperly and makes someone sick. It's sad to me that this is the way of things today, but I understand the regulations too. I think if the shelters wanted to, they could make it a lot easier on the hotels by going into the kitchens and taking possession of/responsibility for the food themselves, so the hotels aren't liable. Only one shelter by my mom's does this, and they get a lot of great food free that way.

KatieSSS

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Re: Waste in the food service industry.
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2013, 02:21:37 PM »
As a waitress, I don't see exactly what the kitchen throws out, but I know they do get rid of stuff. What is more annoying to me is when someone doesn't take perfectly good leftovers with them. You just paid for a meal and you won't take half of it home! What a waste.

reginna

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Re: Waste in the food service industry.
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2013, 02:46:05 PM »
It is my understanding that restaurants, catering companies, hotel kitchens, etc. dispose large quantities of perfectly good unused food on a daily basis.  This is due to health/safety regulations and I can see that as being a good reason.  It is a shame though, at home I hate seeing food go to waste.  If there's a 1/4 cup of mashed potatoes left save it and I'll have it for lunch the next day. ;)

Now, lets just say I have a friend who works at a hotel kitchen.  As long as he keeps it on the down low he takes home leftover food destined to the waste bin.  Just for fun, lets say I get a good portion of said food which feeds me nearly every weekend.  I certainly would be a fool to turn it down perfectly good free food eh?  ;)

Absolutely! Take it and enjoy!

ritchie70

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Re: Waste in the food service industry.
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2013, 11:05:14 PM »
Now, lets just say I have a friend who works at a hotel kitchen.  As long as he keeps it on the down low he takes home leftover food destined to the waste bin.  Just for fun, lets say I get a good portion of said food which feeds me nearly every weekend.  I certainly would be a fool to turn it down perfectly good free food eh?  ;)

You certainly would be foolish to refuse free food, assuming it's been stored in a safe manner.

I happen to work in IT for the world's largest restaurant company. Based on over a decade of meetings with our business folks, it's my impression that the two things restaurants need to control daily is food and labor costs. The rest are either essentially fixed costs or don't really matter as a percentage of sales. If a restaurant is consistently throwing away vast amounts of food they need to examine the amount they're prepping.

Our managers have to enter (into the computer) every single menu item or component item (IE a burger patty or a slice of cheese) that is discarded over the course of their shift. Their amount of waste is a factor in their performance reviews.

Annamal

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Re: Waste in the food service industry.
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2013, 11:05:31 AM »
This organisation might be of interest

http://www.kaibosh.org.nz/

They exist to redistribute food from businesses who are no longer able to sell it economically on to charities (like women's refuge) who can use it.

If you're ever looking at setting up a charity, this might be a good environmentally friendly one to emulate.

ScienceSexSavings

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Re: Waste in the food service industry.
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2013, 12:34:42 PM »
I used to work in a hotel where the kitchen closed at 11pm. Housekeeping had a shift that ended at 11, front desk/guest services had one that ended at 11:15... I think you can guess where the buffet leftovers went!

Albert

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Re: Waste in the food service industry.
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2013, 01:06:08 PM »
As a waitress, I don't see exactly what the kitchen throws out, but I know they do get rid of stuff. What is more annoying to me is when someone doesn't take perfectly good leftovers with them. You just paid for a meal and you won't take half of it home! What a waste.

It would be less of a problem if you (meaning the restaurant not you personally) served smaller portions average people can actually eat. I'm a tall man and even I can't eat salad+menu 50% of the time in American restaurants...

Zamboni

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Re: Waste in the food service industry.
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2013, 01:25:59 PM »
^European restaurants are definitely more reasonable about portion size.

In college I worked the cash register one day a week at a local bakery.  The manager who hired me made all of the decisions about how much food to bake, and he would let me take home whatever was left at closing (some cookies & croissants usually.)  Sharing the weekly bounty made me quite popular in the dorm. 

Then the first manager got tired of working so many hours and quit, and the new guy they hired was never around - didn't actually work as far as I could tell - but he was a major jerk about the leftover food.  He made us trash it.  Pointless.  Everyone was too scared of being fired to put it in a clean trash bag and take it anyway, although looking back we should have done that because he was never around anyway.  Putting those cookies in the same bin with the dust and dirt from sweeping the floor made me really sad.  Then he called me on the phone to lay me off (on my birthday!) because he decided he didn't want part time employees.  Yes, I informed him that it was my birthday.  When I went by to pick up my last check the remaining employees were all very unhappy because they were now having to work weird shifts they didn't want which were formerly covered by the part time people.  I going to guess he started having a turnover problem at that point.

lentilman

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Re: Waste in the food service industry.
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2013, 02:37:53 PM »
In the most wasteful, yet ruthlessly efficient place on earth there is a wonderful solution.

Here is an article describing the recycling of Las Vegas buffet waste to hogs which are then slaughtered and sold to Las Vegas buffets to feed the patrons.

http://westernfarmpress.com/blog/farmer-feeds-hogs-finest-vegas-buffets

prosaic

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Re: Waste in the food service industry.
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2013, 03:18:24 PM »
My mom works in a hotel kitchen. It makes her really sad to see all the good food go to waste every day. In her case, the local government/shelters have made the regulations so strict on what can and cannot be accepted that most hotels and restaurants find it easier to dispose of the food than to jump through all sorts of hoops, only to be held responsible in the event that something is handled improperly and makes someone sick. It's sad to me that this is the way of things today, but I understand the regulations too. I think if the shelters wanted to, they could make it a lot easier on the hotels by going into the kitchens and taking possession of/responsibility for the food themselves, so the hotels aren't liable. Only one shelter by my mom's does this, and they get a lot of great food free that way.

Are you in the US? Because a 1996 law protects donors from liability for food donations: http://feedingamerica.org/get-involved/corporate-opportunities/become-a-partner/become-a-product-partner/protecting-our-food-partners.aspx

Mr. Minsc

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Re: Waste in the food service industry.
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2013, 04:15:58 PM »

Absolutely! Take it and enjoy!

Done, about five times so far over the past couple months. ;)

I'm not overly worried about getting sick from the food.  All my life I've drank raw milk (dairy farmer perk) and don't feel it's harmed me.  Growing up around the farm I believe has toughened my immune system greatly.

rockstache

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Re: Waste in the food service industry.
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2013, 08:18:53 AM »
My mom works in a hotel kitchen. It makes her really sad to see all the good food go to waste every day. In her case, the local government/shelters have made the regulations so strict on what can and cannot be accepted that most hotels and restaurants find it easier to dispose of the food than to jump through all sorts of hoops, only to be held responsible in the event that something is handled improperly and makes someone sick. It's sad to me that this is the way of things today, but I understand the regulations too. I think if the shelters wanted to, they could make it a lot easier on the hotels by going into the kitchens and taking possession of/responsibility for the food themselves, so the hotels aren't liable. Only one shelter by my mom's does this, and they get a lot of great food free that way.

Are you in the US? Because a 1996 law protects donors from liability for food donations: http://feedingamerica.org/get-involved/corporate-opportunities/become-a-partner/become-a-product-partner/protecting-our-food-partners.aspx

Yes I am. But in the location where she works, the local laws are stricter for food donations (than the normal FDA standards that the hotel has to comply with for their own patrons), and the hotels/restaurants, find it easier to trash the food than to abide by the standards. Just sad imo.

acroy

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Re: Waste in the food service industry.
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2013, 11:34:34 AM »
Supposedly something like 20-40% of all food in the US is wasted - I forget the exact number, but quite a lot.

The facility I work for tries to give away excess (for instance we once had over 1000lbs of beans in 100# sacks) and the food banks would not take it, they want something ready to go, no preparation needed.

Zamboni

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Re: Waste in the food service industry.
« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2013, 03:47:51 PM »
^Ouch! 

I'll take it:  chili for everyone!   If they are the right kind of beans, then that's a chili cook-off contest just waiting to happen.

C. K.

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Re: Waste in the food service industry.
« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2013, 02:28:43 PM »
It is my understanding that restaurants, catering companies, hotel kitchens, etc. dispose large quantities of perfectly good unused food on a daily basis.

A friend of mine told me that a local Pizza Hut in his neighborhood cut a deal with a local soup kitchen to give them all the leftover pizzas everyday. It's not advertised, so few people know this.

Other restaurants are afraid of food poisoning and lawsuits.

What bothers me more than local places throwing stuff out -b/c that can be stopped- is when they show TV chefs, like Gordan Ramsey or that chipmunk-looking liar on Food Network, as he barges into a kitchen and says, "This food is overcooked! I can't let this go out of the kitchen with my name on it! It's garbage! ," and then dumps it all into the trash can.

That's usually followed by a commercial break for Feed the Children...

« Last Edit: November 19, 2013, 02:34:27 PM by C. K. »

aglassman

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Re: Waste in the food service industry.
« Reply #16 on: November 19, 2013, 02:59:32 PM »
This was a big pet peeve of mine in college.  The food service would throw away tons of burgers and other assorted food every night. We asked them to give us poor college students the food (the only reason they tossed it was because they were closing for the night).  They said it was against their regulations, and went out of their way to make sure we could not get the food.  Such a waste!

Bruised_Pepper

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Re: Waste in the food service industry.
« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2013, 03:03:18 PM »
Little Caesars is unique among take-out pizza places in that it makes the pizza ahead of time.  Thus, when they close, there are plenty of perfectly good pizzas being thrown out.  Go to the dumpster behind your local Little Caesars a little after closing and find a score of free pizza still in the box. 

the fixer

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Re: Waste in the food service industry.
« Reply #18 on: November 19, 2013, 03:31:05 PM »
Part of the solution here is better business models, like some grocery stores or bakeries that will put prepared foods on sale right before closing. Fast-food restaurants and college dining halls should take note that they could take in more revenue with flexible pricing.

Oh wait, maybe not the college dining halls. At least where I went to school we had a fixed meal plan that was use-it-or-lose-it every two weeks. By not selling food at a discount before closing they could sell other food at full price the next day.

Next time I'm hungry at night I'm going to try biking over to Little Caesar's just after closing... hehe.

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Waste in the food service industry.
« Reply #19 on: November 19, 2013, 03:46:42 PM »
Little Caesars is unique among take-out pizza places in that it makes the pizza ahead of time.  Thus, when they close, there are plenty of perfectly good pizzas being thrown out.  Go to the dumpster behind your local Little Caesars a little after closing and find a score of free pizza still in the box.

I had a group of guy friends who ALWAYS did this in college. Once I got past my initial disgusted reaction, I figured there's really nothing wrong with it (unless you're just disgusted with Little Caesar's pizza, period, which I totally understand although I have eaten it many times)

Bruised_Pepper

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Re: Waste in the food service industry.
« Reply #20 on: November 19, 2013, 03:59:18 PM »
Little Caesars is unique among take-out pizza places in that it makes the pizza ahead of time.  Thus, when they close, there are plenty of perfectly good pizzas being thrown out.  Go to the dumpster behind your local Little Caesars a little after closing and find a score of free pizza still in the box.

I had a group of guy friends who ALWAYS did this in college. Once I got past my initial disgusted reaction, I figured there's really nothing wrong with it (unless you're just disgusted with Little Caesar's pizza, period, which I totally understand although I have eaten it many times)

That was me and a few of my friends in college.  We slowly got more and more converts as our friends noticed the quality of our hauls.  I actually haven't been dumpster diving in a few years (mostly due to having decent-paying jobs) but I think I'll try some around here in the name of fun and savings.  Groceries stores are the obvious spot to go, though the type and quality of food you can get varies by the store.  It's best to get sweets IMO as they usually come in their own plastic containers and sugar keeps them from going bad quickly. 

NumberJohnny5

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Re: Waste in the food service industry.
« Reply #21 on: November 19, 2013, 04:01:51 PM »
One of the reasons I loved doing KP (kitchen patrol). Whatever wasn't used, we got to take home. At the time I had a stepmother who was a bit strict with what us "kids" were allowed to eat. Well, my little cartons of milk, my casseroles, my whatever...I can eat all I want (then she'd ask to have some of the milk for my baby sister; don't worry I didn't say no). I'd also use money I made to buy sherbet and eat that for breakfast. Whoa whoa, put the flamethrowers down...I was still in High School! Moved outta there as soon as I could.

Bit later I started working at Taco Bell. Lot of the "waste" went straight to our stomachs. Most food that was prepared but not used was put in plastic bags and in the fridge, then it was warmed up first thing the next morning.

My thoughts on wasting food have changed a bit over the years. Now, I'm mostly worried about wasting meat. Bastard I am, I don't care if a plant had to die just so I could toss it in the trash; but an animal, that's different.

CommonCents

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Re: Waste in the food service industry.
« Reply #22 on: November 22, 2013, 02:28:30 PM »
This was a big pet peeve of mine in college.  The food service would throw away tons of burgers and other assorted food every night. We asked them to give us poor college students the food (the only reason they tossed it was because they were closing for the night).  They said it was against their regulations, and went out of their way to make sure we could not get the food.  Such a waste!

If students learned there would be free food if they just wait till closing, how much business do you think they'd lose?  Word of free food travels fast among college kids!

ArcticaMT6

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Re: Waste in the food service industry.
« Reply #23 on: November 22, 2013, 04:13:28 PM »
I worked at Panera in highschool, and the leftover baked goods would go to a homeless shelter. The same man and wife would come pick them up every night to take them back and give them away. They were not allowed to take the pre-cooked Panini's though, so those got distributed to employees or tossed.

sunshine

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Re: Waste in the food service industry.
« Reply #24 on: November 23, 2013, 05:01:01 AM »
Both my kids are students. One works in food. The other has. Both said there is a lot of waste. They make the employees put the waste in the trash compactor. The company believes letting it be used would encourage theft. I volunteer at the food pantry and quite a LOT of the local places donate. My son brought that up to his boss. She said they would just make extra on purpose for the poor. Really lady??? I dont think every employee thinks of making extra for the poor. It is mostly kids working. It must be compacted also because the homeless might rummage through the dumpster. Sheesh! It is mostly wasted fresh baked breads.

They have a few homeless that come into my sons job just to sit and  warm up a few minutes before they get kicked out. My son gets a free meal to take home at the end of his shift.It is in the rules as a perk in their handbook. She jumped his butt for handing it to a homeless guy on his way out. She told him if he did it again he was fired. He told her he was sorry and would not do it again IN the building. She said it encouraged them to hang round. He could see her point but it still really bothered him because like he said he has seen the poor guy eat an apple so rotten livestock wouldn't touch it.

  Next she got after him for letting the guy have  his meal right after DS drove out of their driveway and was basically in another stores parking lot. She wrote him up and kiddo called the owner to plead his case and also told him lots of places donate the extra food. The guy didnt consent to his 3 stores donating but kiddos write up was excused and the owner admitted his meal is his to do with as he wishes OUT of the business.  I cant see why the waste has to be destroyed. Since I volunteer at both the food pantry and the shelter I know they take in the food.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2013, 05:04:19 AM by sunshine »

MoneyCat

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Re: Waste in the food service industry.
« Reply #25 on: November 23, 2013, 05:19:16 AM »
I used to work as a manager for a snack bar while I was in college and initially the snack bar had a policy of allowing workers to take some of the leftover food at the end of the day.  I actually had to end the policy because workers were purposefully making too much food so they could take some home.  I hated throwing away perfectly good food, but the losses became rather severe.

golden1

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Re: Waste in the food service industry.
« Reply #26 on: November 27, 2013, 11:44:30 AM »
Quote
In the most wasteful, yet ruthlessly efficient place on earth there is a wonderful solution.

Here is an article describing the recycling of Las Vegas buffet waste to hogs which are then slaughtered and sold to Las Vegas buffets to feed the patrons.

http://westernfarmpress.com/blog/farmer-feeds-hogs-finest-vegas-buffets

This blew my mind.