Rocky Closing

Restaurants certainly throw away their share of food. From making too much food to overordering, their dumpsters are full of food that should either go to the hungry or be composted.

A recent article in Akron, Ohio’s The Beacon Journal brought to light a special circumstance that often elevates food waste–restaurant closings. While occurring far less than the day-to-day restaurant squandering, restaurant closings aren’t as rare as you’d imagine. About half of all new restaurants don’t make it past their first birthday.

The report detailed the closing of a Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, Rocky River Grill House, an experimental concept eatery from Darden Restaurants, an Orlando-based company that owns Red Lobster, Olive Garden and Smokey Bones. The company closed the Grill House on a Saturday and made a call to Kent Social Services in an attempt to donate the excess food.

There’s only one problem: the mostly volunteer food recovery group doesn’t operate on weekends. By the time food service director Debby Missimi got the message Monday morning, pounds and pounds of steaks and other edibles had rotted in the dumpster.

If Darden sincerely wanted to donate the food, wouldn’t they have called the food pantry ahead of time to arrange a weekend pickup? You can be sure the non-profit would have made a special trip for a significant amount of meat, as most food pantries struggle to obtain enough protein. 

The article’s insightful last line provides an apt summary:

Somewhere, that Saturday night as the food sat rotting in the setting sun, someone went to bed hungry in Akron.

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