Blog Post

MassLive recently reported on the efforts restaurateurs are taking to curb food waste. The article describes common causes of restaurant food waste and actions restaurants can take to prevent waste in their operations. Because profit margins are typically very thin, restaurants are strongly incentivized to reduce wasted food, which is also wasted money.

Common causes of food waste in restaurants include overbuying, overproduction, and spoilage. Overbuying is often a result of inadequate forecasting of consumer demand and the large quantities of food that restaurants typically need to purchase at one time. Certain preparation techniques (such as failing to get the most fruit off the rind) can also produce unnecessary waste. Additionally, when food is stored inadequately or is not utilized in a timely manner, spoilage can render it unfit for consumption.

Restaurant owners and managers can employ several strategies to help reduce waste and boost the bottom line. Accurate forecasting of consumer demand, especially aided by the use of food waste data tracking software, can help limit overbuying of inventory. In addition, training staff on proper techniques to maximize yields from food items can prove helpful.

Finally, repurposing leftover items or pieces considered to be scraps (such as bones or vegetable peels) allows restaurants a second chance to make a saleable item. For example, the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Dining Services has implemented a program called Pledge, in which food items are “up-cycled” into other items, such as turning unused pizza crusts into croutons or leftover rice into rice pudding.  You can read more about UMass Amherst Dining’s food waste reduction efforts in this RecyclingWorks in MA case study.

RecyclingWorks assists businesses and institutions with recycling and food waste diversion. We provide food waste estimation and source reduction guidance, as well as sector-specific guidance for restaurants, including waste ban compliance tips and a food waste diversion guide.  To speak to a recycling and food waste diversion expert, call our hotline: (888) 254-5525 or email us at