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5 ways to engage your staff around food waste prevention

By Sam Smith, Director of Marketing  //  July 30, 2019

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Food waste prevention is a mission, and mission-driven companies have an easier time recruiting and retaining staff. With foodservice turnover rates at 70% and higher, giving staff a reason to see their work as bigger than themselves, bigger than one shift or daypart, is not just nice, but necessary. Food waste prevention can do that. Here are 5 ways to get your staff engaged in the mission.

(We compiled these tips and more in a free whitepaper you can share with your management team. Download your copy and start implementing these strategies today: Empowering and Engaging Culinary Teams to Prevent Food Waste.)

1. Explain the “why.”

The food waste crisis is a nexus issue. That means when you prevent food waste you are also impacting other environmental issues, like water conservation (45 trillion gallons of water are wasted growing food that just gets thrown out) and CO2 emissions (if food waste were a country, it would rank third in greenhouse gas emissions behind the U.S. and China). A kitchen staff engaged in food waste prevention is working every day to address the climate crisis.

2. Ask for their ideas.

Some of the best ideas for reducing food waste will come from your staff. Make sure they are empowered to give feedback and acknowledge it. When staff reuse leftovers in a daily special, include the staff member’s name in the title of the special as acknowledgement. Pull expired items out of the walk-in and ask staff to come up with ideas for how they could have used them.

3. Be transparent.

Share all food waste data as well as successes. Post your waste reports by the Leanpath station and direct attention to the rotating signage on the Leanpath screen showing staff their progress. UUse pre-shift meetings to share data, reinforce your commitment to reducing food waste and celebrate staff who are doing a great job.

4. Make it a game.

Chefs and managers have found great success engaging their teams by creating games or competitions around food waste tracking. Give prizes to top trackers. Have a competition to see who can leave their shift with the least waste. 

5. Never punish.

It is very common that a staff’s first reaction to tracking food waste is that they will be punished for the results. It’s easy to counteract that thinking, but it must be done deliberately and consistently. Remember, food waste prevention is about engaging people, winning hearts and minds to work on a critically important issue. It’s also about showing front-line teams that they can — and will — become global change makers. This prize is well within their grasp.

Download these guides and get started
on your food waste prevention journey today!

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20 Waste Cutting Tips Every Foodservice Chef Should Know



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Preventing Food Waste at the Buffet: A Guide for Chefs & Managers


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Empowering & Engaging Culinary Teams to Prevent Food Waste



Topics: Kitchen Culture, Food Waste Strategies