LeanPath works in a lot of kitchens. Over 1,200 in more than 20 countries. Our tracking and analytics help these teams understand where their food waste is coming from and why it’s happening. Once they understand that, I work with a lot of them to then figure out strategies to start preventing the waste from happening.
Hard to believe that it has been a year since I hung up my toque and became the World’s First Food Waste Fighting Chef here at LeanPath. Over the past year, it has been a deep dive into learning all I can about the global scale of food waste. The problem is big--really big--and we need to teach, train, inspire and help all those out there on the front line every day to do their part to combat this global crisis.
It’s interesting: the more I teach, the more I learn. Most of my learning has come from talking with the chefs that utilize LeanPath to simply take control of their food waste. Throughout our discussions, there are always common themes that come to light. Here is a brief list of the top things I have learned over this past year from the chefs and cooks I have had the pleasure of working with.
It’s like any other priority in the kitchen: if chefs and managers don’t reinforce the message that food waste prevention matters, staff can easily lose focus. Your daily or weekly pre-shift meetings are one of the best opportunities to reinforce your priorities. Here are a few ways to keep your team focused on food waste.
We’ve all been to a catered event, whether it was a buffet or a plated meal, a business luncheon or a wedding reception, a breakfast line brimming with scrambled eggs and bacon or a break table piled high with pastries. But I’ll bet you’ve never been to a catered event that ran out of food.
Overproduction is a given for most caterers, because if they run out of food, there’s not a kitchen in the back to prep anything more. And more than with onsite dining, the host of a catered event carries more responsibility for their guests’ happiness, and a caterer doesn’t want them to be unhappy. In my years as a chef, I’ve seen events that have half of the food ordered -- or more -- go uneaten.
This type of food waste is the inconvenient truth of running and organizing a catering event. All the chefs, planners and attendees know it’s happening, nobody likes it, but we struggle with how to fix the problem.
Soon after OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital installed the LeanPath food-waste prevention platform in April 2017, Keith Harrington, Riverside Methodist’s production manager, saw they were tossing out a lot of bread at his Subway(™) franchise.