The business case for reducing food loss and waste: Restaurants

14th February 2019

Prepared on behalf of Champions 12.3, a new report finds a compelling business case for action on food waste prevention in restaurants.

Key Points
The first-of-its-kind analysis for the industry found restaurants saved $7 for every $1 invested in reducing kitchen food waste.
All sites were able to keep their total investment below $20,000 over a three-year period.

Food loss and waste: a global challenge

One third of all food produced in the world is never eaten. This has tremendous economic, social and environmental consequences. 

In this new report, co-authored by WRAP and the World Resources Institute (WRI), we demonstrate how reducing food waste in restaurants can be a great financial opportunity to reduce costs, increase revenues, and engage staff and customers.

It is the third and final in a series of ‘deep dive’ reports looking at various sectors of the food and drink industry. They all show impressive savings from minimal investment in tackling food waste.

This latest report shows how reducing food waste in restaurants doesn’t have to be complicated, and highlights five types of action for achieving successful reduction programmes.

  1. Measure the amount of food being wasted to know where to prioritise efforts
  2. Engage staff
  3. Rethink inventory and purchasing practices
  4. Reduce overproduction
  5. Repurpose excess food

“We’ve shown how businesses big and small can save money, motivate staff and impress their customers through reducing food waste. It’s a win-win for the economy, and the environment.”

Dr Marcus Gover, CEO, WRAP.

Written on behalf of the Champions 12.3 network – the coalition of nearly 40 leaders from government, business and civil society - it calls upon restaurant owners to “target, measure and act”. 

It includes the success story from IKEA who have, through their “Food is Precious” initiative have, since 2016, prevented more than 1.4 million kilos of food from being wasted – the equivalent of more than 3 million meals worth of food. 

Through following the simple, low investment approach in the report, restaurants can deliver the business case for themselves. And they will be making a significant contribution to the global effort to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 to halve food waste by 2030.