Food waste on whatever level always equates to a financial cost.


Any business in this food industry knows that the food waste crisis presents a problem in their pockets and our environment. Food waste is one of the largest producers of greenhouse gases worldwide! Food businesses lose money when a day ends, and they cannot sell or use ingredients that won’t last until the next shift.


Leftovers occur as a result of:

  • the increase in meal portion sizes over the last 30 years
  • over preparation/ inaccurate forecasting
  • improperly stored ingredients
  • failure to effectively utilise food scraps and trimmings

But it is a continuous battle that food business owners want to win. Most businesses utilise leftovers as staff meals, but here are just a few creative and inventive ways some establishments make to deal with their leftovers and food scraps. 


Reprocessing ingredients


An ingredient is utilised to the very last ounce – from skin to seeds/bones. 

Leftover vegetables are combined or baked into new dishes. Meats and grains are reinvented into a hash, fried rice, soups and scrambles.

Timber Pizza Co. proudly states that they use the entire vegetable or fruit from the flesh to the skin, which reduces food scraps.” For example, carrot tops are blended as pestos instead of being discarded.


Sending leftovers home with recipes as freebies to patrons


Barrio in Chicago encourages guests to save leftovers, and the chef sends them a simple recipe to reinvent their take-home meal. 


Use of apps “leftover food apps.”


The rise of “leftover apps” have helped many businesses in the industry to still make money out of leftovers. These apps also help in saving what could be wasted meals from going to landfills. 

Check out this link for a list of leftover food apps from all over the globe, helping businesses recover potential profit. 

In particular,” Too Good To Go”, a winner of ‘Fast Company’s 2021 World-Changing Ideas Awards, allows restaurants to sell their extra meals for discounts that would otherwise get thrown out when their doors close for the night. 


Donating the leftovers:


To food banks and organisations in need


Organisations need donations, but they have policies and regulations to follow. You usually cannot call up unannounced and expect to offload heaps of leftover food. Establishments need first to develop a relationship with local food banks.

In addition, they also need to consider the following to prevent organisations from rejecting donations. 

  • Donate only unused stock – food safety standard prohibits them from sharing anything that has been previously served.
  • Donate only unexpired stock – donate any unused inventory to free up shelf space and even earn a few tax deductions. 

This also helps business owners from any liability in keeping with The Civil Liability Amendment (Food Donations) Act 2005, known as the Good Samaritan Act. This act protects food donors by limiting the liability of individuals and businesses that donate food, providing they meet certain food safety conditions.


As free meals to those in need


Leftovers can be offered as free meals directly from the establishment. Someone needs only ask for a charity meal which the establishment can provide with no questions asked. These meals can be simple, filling ad inexpensive such as pasta, sandwiches, soups etc. Not only does it offload inventory, but it also does some good in the neighbourhood. 


Cater to community events


These can be community groups, block parties, or fundraisers. It is both goodwill on your part as well as brand marketing. 


Give excess food to farms.


Leftover meals or ingredients can be given to local farmers as feed or scraps.

Best to review your Food and Drug Administration guide to see how to donate food scraps for animals legally.




Kitchen staff are trained to identify and segregate compostable food waste and compost accordingly. A grease collection company may haul grease on scheduled pickups to enter its recycling process. These grease collection companies may also offer programs to recycle meat byproducts where specialised trucks are dispatched to collect fat and bone.


RELATED READ:  How To Do Effective Waste Management To Help Your Business


In Summary:

Surplus food can be reduced by having trained staff implement cost management policies and proper waste management. 

Even the best food establishment can still have food leftover. However, the trick is to have enough food prepared to get through a meal service and always have enough make-ahead items (including sauces, dressings and butchered meats). 


That’s it for this week.
As always, Professional Chefs on Call at Anytime!

Ciao for now,


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