This past week, I gave a series of talks at Mario Batali’s restaurants in LA and Las Vegas. It was an interesting, eye-opening experience.
I learned a fair amount about how restaurants view waste and, hopefully, the warm, professional staff learned a bit about the importance of reducing waste. The restaurant group is already on the right path, as they’re separating and composting scraps, in addition to many other sustainable practices.
In discussions with staff, I realized just how much of a conflict of interest waiters face: ‘upselling,’ or getting to diners to order more than they had planned, financially benefits both waiter and restaurant. Yet, more often than not, it yields waste. One suggested compromise was upselling beverages, not food. Of course, that has other consequences…
I stressed that staff also had a role to play in making doggie bags cool, or at least the norm. Yet that notion seemed to play better in LA than Vegas, where most patrons are out-of-towners, don’t have fridge access, or are going out after eating.
One idea that came up yesterday was intriguing–a restaurant providing repurposing ideas or even recipes on its site to help customers use up leftovers. It certainly can’t hurt!
Thanks to all who attended and to the Batali Bastianich Hospitality Group for hosting me and, true to their name, extending such consistent hospitality.