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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings Chef
I am working on my research project related to food waste awareness in commercial kitchens, using technology to create awareness and inducing behavioral change among chefs and the team.
I have a brief survey, May i request your expertise to help me with my research project.

Microsoft Forms

forms.office.com
forms.office.com

sincerely
Sriram
 

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Hi, Sriram,

I have filled out the questionnaire and appreciate the thoughtfulness that went into it.

However, the focus should be on local governments, not the business owner.

What needs to be crystal clear is that the business owner is nothing but a conduit of the customer’s wants. This applies as much to the restaurant owner as it does to any retail store selling produce, baked goods, or meat.

Every Chef and store owner knows that what goes in the garbage costs the business money, it is the customer who wants a 40 item ala carts menu, or shiny red apples, or freshly baked bread, or chicken with a 8 day expiry date. The costs of this thrown out food are factored into the sales price.

Any bakery owner knows that if they mark down their items at 5:00, they are just training the customer to show up at 5:05 to buy discounted items instead of paying full retail to cover the business’s many, many costs. For this reason many chefs, bakers, butchers, and store owners enlist the help of food banks and homeless shelters— they’d rather give it away for free. While this may seem a gesture of goodwill, remember that businesses must pay hefty fees for garbage removal, cardboard removal, compost removal, containers, hard plastic, soft plastic, etc. Used oil, however can be sold to recyclers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi, Sriram,

I have filled out the questionnaire and appreciate the thoughtfulness that went into it.

However, the focus should be on local governments, not the business owner.

What needs to be crystal clear is that the business owner is nothing but a conduit of the customer’s wants. This applies as much to the restaurant owner as it does to any retail store selling produce, baked goods, or meat.

Every Chef and store owner knows that what goes in the garbage costs the business money, it is the customer who wants a 40 item ala carts menu, or shiny red apples, or freshly baked bread, or chicken with a 8 day expiry date. The costs of this thrown out food are factored into the sales price.

Any bakery owner knows that if they mark down their items at 5:00, they are just training the customer to show up at 5:05 to buy discounted items instead of paying full retail to cover the business’s many, many costs. For this reason many chefs, bakers, butchers, and store owners enlist the help of food banks and homeless shelters— they’d rather give it away for free. While this may seem a gesture of goodwill, remember that businesses must pay hefty fees for garbage removal, cardboard removal, compost removal, containers, hard plastic, soft plastic, etc. Used oil, however can be sold to recyclers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Chef,
Thank you and I completely agree with your views.

To a certain extent, we create the customer's habits!
When I started in hotels, the phrase most often used was " guest is always right" and in course of time, I learnt it the hard way that " the guest is not always right".

I also agree with your view that local governments need to do a lot more than raise fees for garbage removal.
However, one thing I would point out is that some chefs seldom analyze the root cause of the waste and land up trying to figure out what to do with excess food. Donating food to charity or converting to manure or composting is great - however, the question would be how we reduce the donation to charity or conversion to manure!

Sriram
 

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This is true, however the Chef who can’t be bothered to find out WHY
his/ her food cost is so high most likely won’t be bothered to resort to technology-or any other tool.

Probably the most effective tool I have seen for keeping food costs in line is a salary based on food cost, or significant bonuses paid out if food costs meet a certain percentage.
 

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Why should it have to take a bonus to get cooks to be aware of food waste foodpump?
I know you've been around the block and your wisdom on these threads is proof.
Perhaps you've had negative experiences that re-enforce your beliefs,
Once I caught a cook taking too much off the asparagus he was preparing. I stopped him, corrected him, then asked him if he had a $10.00 bill on him. I asked him to take it out and throw it in the garbage. Why? That's just what he did with my asparagus.
I think that no technology will have any effect on something that is a learned behavior. Daily re-enforcement is key, Show and tell, just like I described above.
 

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No, COOKS should be conserving as much food as possible, if they don’t, they need to be disciplined. Managing food waste at the cooks level is a basic skill like knife skills or basic hygiene.

The CHEF ( that is, the one supervising the cooks and in control of the kitchen’s finances) should be conserving as much food as possible, and this means proper purchasing, and active supervision at all stages — constant viligence! As I said before, what you throw out costs you money. There are many accounting software programs that do allow the intelligent, motivated Chef to track his food cost, the caveat being that it takes an incredible amount of information particular to each kitchen to make the system perform properly.

Quite honestly I think effort should be given to provide the customer with food saving technology—many of whom buy food, realize they don’t have time to cook, watch it spoil in their fridges, and then throw it out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yes, completely agree
Daily reinforcement is the key towards food waste.
Seeing the preliminary results from my survey sheds light on how extremely different chefs think and differently
if you have an opportunity, appreciate if you can share your thoughts on the survey

 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Why should it have to take a bonus to get cooks to be aware of food waste foodpump?
I know you've been around the block and your wisdom on these threads is proof.
Perhaps you've had negative experiences that re-enforce your beliefs,
Once I caught a cook taking too much off the asparagus he was preparing. I stopped him, corrected him, then asked him if he had a $10.00 bill on him. I asked him to take it out and throw it in the garbage. Why? That's just what he did with my asparagus.
I think that no technology will have any effect on something that is a learned behavior. Daily re-enforcement is key, Show and tell, just like I described above.
Yes, completely agree
Daily reinforcement is the key towards food waste.
Seeing the preliminary results from my survey sheds light on how extremely different chefs think and differently
trying to get as many chefs as possible to put their thoughts
sriram
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
No, COOKS should be conserving as much food as possible, if they don’t, they need to be disciplined. Managing food waste at the cooks level is a basic skill like knife skills or basic hygiene.

The CHEF ( that is, the one supervising the cooks and in control of the kitchen’s finances) should be conserving as much food as possible, and this means proper purchasing, and active supervision at all stages — constant viligence! As I said before, what you throw out costs you money. There are many accounting software programs that do allow the intelligent, motivated Chef to track his food cost, the caveat being that it takes an incredible amount of information particular to each kitchen to make the system perform properly.

Quite honestly I think effort should be given to provide the customer with food saving technology—many of whom buy food, realize they don’t have time to cook, watch it spoil in their fridges, and then throw it out.
Chef, Valid point related to customer awareness related to food waste.
while this is not customer related, I remember my hotel in India, had a scale in the cafeteria that measured food waste for the 1000+ staff working in the hotel.
i was there when it was implemented, and merely knowing the enormous qty wasteed, created better behavioral changes and in 6 months, we were able to reduce the employee/ consumer waste significantly
sriram
 

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I really resonate with @foodpump contributions… food waste is a basic skill and wonton disregard is tantamount to theft.

One issue not yet mentioned (and I didn’t put in the survey) is portion control. As a restaurant patron the two things I really hate are portions too small that leave me hungry and portions too large that either get thrown out when the plate is cleaned (or taken home and thrown out 3 days later).

I was a documentary on TV quite a while ago about the immense magnitude of food waste at Las Vegas buffets, and how a partnership between the restaurants and local pork producers was the solution. Food waste went to the pigs, who eventually went back to the restaurant. Brilliant solution. I can’t recall, though, if this was a private collaboration or inspired/controlled/funded by local government.
 
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