It can be hard to picture something that isn't there. And that's exactly what food waste prevention creates: food waste that is not there anymore. It's why prevention is such a powerful solution. Other options for dealing with food waste - like diversion to compost or donations - have their place, but they only deal with food waste after it is created, after you've incurred their cost, and after it's had substantial environmental impact. Using Leanpath's food waste data, we've created a visual to help you "see" prevention.
Leanpath works in a lot of kitchens. Over 2,500 in more than 30 countries. Our food waste 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.
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. 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. We all struggle with how to fix the problem. Here are my top tips for preventing catering food waste using proven planning and strategy.
I often get asked, “Chef, how can I motivate my staff to track their food waste?” It’s a good question, and one that comes up often. My simple answer usually is “You can’t.” I am a firm believer that you can’t motivate, but you can inspire. Motivation vs. Inspiration is a well documented topic and one that often leads me back to heated debates I used to get into when I served as the Dean of Culinary.
Culinary leaders and chefs often fail to understand a simple fact of human nature: people are intrinsically motivated beings. My students enrolling into culinary school were ALREADY motivated. When I was a working chef, I realized my kitchen staff would come to work for two reasons: to earn money to support themselves and their family and to make a difference in the lives of who they cook for. Motivating others is an outside-in approach to leadership that is not sustainable over time because people don’t need motivation. They need inspiration. Inspiring people is an inside-out approach to leadership that is entirely self-sustaining, as people strive to reach their fullest potential, whether in be in their personal lives, or their workplace.
My move to Leanpath was one of inspiration as I saw the work that Leanpath was doing to reduce food waste. One of our core values is - We are passionate about solving food waste - and it reads:
“Food is a precious resource. We are here to make a lasting impact in our world. Reduction helps ensure food is available to hungry people, natural resources aren’t wasted, and we’re combating the critical issue of climate change.”
For me, this is inspirational. It’s visionary. It’s the “Why” we are doing what we do. It aligns with an end goal. Motivation, although useful, is also short sighted it looks for the feel-good moment to keep going.
So back to the original question, “how can I motivate my staff to track their food waste?” The answer is, you can’t, but you can INSPIRE them, and here are 5 ways to do that:
When “sustainability” became a regular topic in the foodservice industry about ten years ago, it was common to group the conversation neatly into sub-components: energy, water, waste, food sourcing, and community engagement (among others). This was all new for most, and the learning curve was steep in each area. Operators wondered: where should I start? What matters most? Everyone made their own choices because there was no hierarchy within sustainability.
Topics: Food Waste Strategies