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Four Ways to Prevent Food Waste in Restaurants

Restaurants. Owners. Restaurateurs. Pay attention!

If you run a restaurant or any establishment that serves food, think twice before you toss unwanted ingredients and meals in the trash. You can probably find a way to prevent them from going to waste. Be sure to consider all of these options:

Soup Kitchens

Many soup kitchens accept a variety of leftovers. These organizations provide hot meals to homeless people and other individuals who have difficulty preparing or paying for food. If you need help finding a kitchen or shelter that cooperates with eateries in your area, the National Restaurant Association recommends contacting the Food Donation Connection.

Free Pickup

Certain charities specialize in picking up donations at restaurants and dropping them off at nonprofit organizations. For instance, a group known as Rescuing Leftover Cuisine offers this service to businesses in 16 major cities. They include Albany, Amarillo, Atlanta, Nashville, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

Individuals

An alternative is to give leftovers to customers or employees who desire them. You won't need to transport these items elsewhere, and thankful patrons might leave slightly larger tips. However, federal law won't protect you from legal action if the leftovers cause health problems. This policy could also give employees an incentive to prepare too much food for a buffet.

Composting

When leftovers don't seem suitable for human consumption, think about composting them. CompostNow and similar groups pick up scraps and use them for this purpose. Another option involves producing and giving away compost. Community gardens, organic farms, and farmer's markets may accept contributions.

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