With so many restaurants around the world it is impossible not to speak about the leftovers. Leftover food is something that accumulates at the end of every single workday of every single restaurant or bar slash diner. And that does beg the question: What happens to all that food? A city-worth of restaurants accumulate a tonne of food, so where does it all go? Does it end up in the rubbish? Does it become a subject for bar and restaurant waste collection service? It is a mystery worth looking into. So here are what some restaurant owners had to say.
The Types of Food
Funny enough, the first answer any good chef will give is a question. “Which leftovers?” ask many of the chefs and owners. First, if it is a good restaurant, it will have cooked with fresh ingredients. So are we talking about the raw ingredients that are leftover? Well, those either get donated to lesser restaurants, sold to them, or put back in the fridge to see another day. Worst case scenario, they end up in a freezer to make for a poor meal someday.
Then you have components, such as sauces, mise, and so on. Those could go to the staff’s after work meal, but ultimately do get thrown out as it is just not as good after a few hours. And lastly, you have the customer leftovers otherwise known as food scraps. This is where the tricky part comes in.
Food Donation vs. Food Waste
Many restaurants have the option to donate uneaten food to homeless people or food recovery programmes, or even the local charity services where it will be redistributed to the hungry. However, many restaurants don’t as the possibility of somebody eating something and coming down with an allergic reaction or getting sick might bring along a court summons. So many restaurants end up dumping leftovers in the bins. And then you have the branches of those who call food waste disposal services and those who simply take it all to the landfill. The latter, naturally, don’t help anyone, but the former do create a lot of nice soils for gardens.
Many charities, however, do protect those who donate food. They take the restaurant’s leftovers and take all responsibility that comes with them. Those are the best to have nearby and they are the places food should end up in.
Kitchen Safety Comes First
The main thing about food waste is that it is, well, waste. It has no place in the kitchen and many restaurants will want to get rid of it for safety inspection reasons. Many restaurants do get rid of everything and start from scratch each and every day. The ones that cannot afford that take the risk of preparing a bad meal so they learn when the food goes bad. The worst case scenario is putting a cooked dish in the freezer and reusing it on a customer – but those offenders are few and far between. Owners know that customer safety and satisfaction is a must and such cases are rare, especially with celebrity chefs with reality programmes on the lookout.
Restaurant leftover food has many uses and most of the businesses know how to handle it properly. When homes start to think smart about food as well, the food waste problem might just start being solved.
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