Comparing Chains’ Waste

I’ve often heaped praise on T.G.I. Friday’s for offering smaller sized meals in the “Right Portion, Right Prize” menu. Here’s where I prove I’m not on the T.G.I. payroll.

Thank God It's food waste! photo by Jark (via flickr)I recently came across a list of organic waste produced by all restaurants in Southeastern Massachusetts (no link, because it’s not online). Given the geographic specificity, this list is not a representative sample. Nonetheless, I’ve tallied up the totals from different chains to give an idea of restaurant food waste.

Well, T.G.I. didn’t fare so well. The three TGI’s averaged 153 tons of organic waste (mostly food). That’s more than 800 pounds per day. The next highest total for a sit-down place was Ruby Tuesday‘s 112 tons.

Of the fast food restaurants, McDonald’s “led” the way with an average of 68 tons of organic waste per year. Since the majority of this number comes from what customers leave behind, it doesn’t surprise me that, compared to sit-down restaurants, fast food outlets have less plate waste (Heck, there aren’t even plates). Fast food eateries have smaller portions and many more to-go orders (the waste is disposed of elsewhere).

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