The National Restaurant Association and WWF’s 86 Food Waste delivers the small steps that lead to big reductions in how much you throw out.
With the restaurant industry facing supply chain issues nationwide, it’s time to look to food waste as a source of potential success. The National Restaurant Association alongside the World Wildlife Fund, and backed by Essity/Tork, developed a resource list before the pandemic to help operators reduce food waste and increase annual revenue called 86 Food Waste.
The resource list is free and downloadable, consisting of food waste reduction initiatives and topic-specific guides, including:
- Menu redesign concepts: If you streamlined your menu during COVID-19, that’s actually one of the steps recommended in this resource. Better prep techniques and repurposing trimmings are others.
- Donation resources: Learn how to donate any unused, edible ingredients in your walk-in to a local food bank, soup kitchen, or shelter.
- Diversion resources: When you can’t repurpose or donate foods, there are ways to keep them out of the landfill.
- Procurement best practices: How to order, receive and store food more effectively and how to avoid common procurement pitfalls, including over-ordering.
The National Restaurant Association and WWF founded all information, recommendations, and ideas through extensive research within national and independent restaurants. Together, they initiated a 30-day pilot program with support from The Rockefeller Foundation and Essity/Tork.
The research was then compiled into a master report, Managing Food Waste In Restaurants: How Small Steps can Have a Big Impact on Reducing Waste and Protecting the Planet, which informed the 86 Food Waste resource list. The report details how restaurants turned theory into practice and include vital lessons learned from the pilot program, such as:
- To begin the process of reducing food waste, you need to train staff to separate it out of the trash stream. Only then can you begin to measure what you’re throwing out and develop ways to reduce it.
- The restaurant sector is fast-paced and can have a high turnover rate. It’s important to have at least one team member dedicated to championing new behaviors and embedding these practices into the standard operating procedures and employee culture of the restaurant.
“These resources work because they come from a place of empathy, understanding what it’s like to run a kitchen, and what’s really possible to do to reduce waste in that environment,” says Pete Pearson, WWF’s senior director of food loss and waste. “Small changes, made by millions of people, add up to something big.”