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COVID-19 reminds us that foodservice is central to community and connection

By Andrew Shakman, Co-Founder & CEO  ///  April 1, 2020


At Leanpath, tracking food waste on an hourly basis around the world, we’ve watched as COVID-19 has been felt across the global foodservice industry. As we’ve seen many operations forced to shut down abruptly, we’ve also seen an associated spike in food waste levels. We’ve had a unique vantage point from which to watch this set of adverse changes.

But we’ve also seen operators respond with passion, dedication and commitment as they always do. We see operators looking for every opportunity to ensure excess edible food goes to people in need. This is happening at the unit level but also at corporate, with staff that don’t normally get involved in operations facilitating donations, adjusting standing orders, transferring food from closing sites to open sites, and coordinating with broadline distributors. This has led to a spike in food donations, in some cases by 125% or more and we know it’s significantly mitigated the scope of the waste.

At Leanpath we’re working with our clients to help them avoid as much waste as possible as they divert more food to donation, reduce output, and, unfortunately, shut down temporarily in some cases. We compiled some practical guidance here and here, which we hope will help our operator partners react to this situation. And we will be releasing more resources soon to help the industry get back on its feet as quickly and efficiently as possible as this crisis abates.

For those of you who are currently working on the front lines of feeding people, you are doing critical work and we want to thank you and applaud your efforts.  Please know all of us at Leanpath are here to help you do this work as efficiently as possible. 

Of course, we recognize many of our client partners have had no choice but to temporarily suspend operations. We know you are missed deeply in your communities. Society will not be whole again until you return.  One of our core philosophies at Leanpath is that foodservice teams are the global changemakers who play a central role eliminating food waste.  Of course we’ve always known the impact of these teams beyond food waste - in nourishing and connecting communities.  A small silver-lining of these difficult times is that the broader world has an opportunity to reflect on the critical value this industry creates. Indeed, front-line teams are #foodservicesuperheroes. This is a time to reflect on the value of these teams and the roles that each of them plays in making this world, and our individual communities, so special and wonderful. 


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Topics: Announcements, COVID-19