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john65pennington's avatar

What happens to leftover restaurant food at the end of each day?

Asked by john65pennington (29182points) April 13th, 2010

Before i entered my rookie classes at my police academy, i was a police dispatcher for a year. working the night shift, the manager of a local Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant, would bring the daily leftover chicken to us. there was never a charge for the food. he stated, “i had rather give you guys the leftover chicken, than throw it away”. we really did like that man. Question: if this much food is left over each day at just one restaurant, then what happens to leftover food at all the other restaurants?

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18 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

They get thrown away – it’s abhorent, in my opinion. Here, in one of the hospital departments that I work in, there are pharma lunches every day and they’re huge and there are always leftovers. Until I came to work there, it was thrown into the garbage. Now, I try to take it all home or to my homeless patients. I plan on calling 311 and having them pick it up to distribute to people who need it and I want to see if the cafeteria people will take it as well to give it to med students studying late.

MrItty's avatar

@john65pennington At McDonalds, when I was a teenager, we threw anything away that had been sitting for more than 10 minutes, including at the end of the day.

At my college’s pizza place, the manager told me employees weren’t allowed to take home any food “left over” at the end of the day, because if they were, there would suddenly be 4 “extra” pizzas at the end of the day.

Nullo's avatar

It gets thrown out. That stuff doesn’t keep well, and foodservice regs usually prohibit sending it elsewhere.

Grocery stores have a bit more leeway with things like bread and such, but anything made for immediate consumption has to go.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@MrItty Now, that I don’t mind being thrown away as it’s not food – you know someone, for kicks, left a Happy Meal out on their tabletop for a year and after that year, none of the ‘food’ decomposed.

ucme's avatar

They’re given to Lady & the Tramp.“Bumbumbum ruff”

anartist's avatar

At some places, staff takes some home.
At the galleries and museums where Ive worked, caterer’s food is divided up among caterers and any gallery staff working the event. Once when there was way too much leftover I took it to the main homeless shelter in DC in a big black plastic bag. The guy who opened the door took one look at me and my sack and said “Women, back entrance.” I never went back.

partyparty's avatar

I would like to think everything was thrown away, but you never know LOL

john65pennington's avatar

Simone, great answer. every time you do something good for another person, it will come back to you three-fold. it never fails. you will be blessed.

kevbo's avatar

At Taco Bell in the 80s, unused ground beef (and probably other ingredients—I don’t remember) were stored in a walk in refrigerator. The beef could be used the next day at a ratio of 1 part refrigerated to 2 parts fresh, although sometimes that wasn’t always followed. Generally, they practiced FIFO.

I’m sure stuff that can be saved gets save and stuff that doesn’t keep (e.g. fried chicken) gets tossed or disposed of.

My brother-in-law ate pizza for a month while sharing an apartment with four other guys during a snowboarding season in Steamboat. One of the guys worked at Pizza Hut and would bring the leftovers home.

thriftymaid's avatar

Here, it is usually given to the homeless shelters. There is an organization that collects and delivers it.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@john65pennington that is the witch’s creed, did you know? even if I don’t do witchcraft anymore, I still sometimes toy around with the power of three in good and in harm

breedmitch's avatar

Simone, you can call City Harvest here in NYC. They will pick it up and get it to the right people.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@breedmitch Yep, I know of them too – I give the organization money sometimes – I like how they send me paper bag letters, :)

jaytkay's avatar

Although its just a tiny amount of the potential, there are efforts.

In my area, the Greater Chicago Food Depository has refrigerated trucks making daily pickups from grocery stores and restaurants, over 5 million pounds of food per year.

Which is huge but just a small part of the 60+ million pounds the GCFD distributes annually.

gemiwing's avatar

It depends on local county rules and the type of eatery. Soups are routinely held over in restaurants. Food- once cooked- is tossed. Pre-wrapped foods that have reached expiration must be disposed of the day of expiration as usually those selling pre-wrapped foods do not have a code kitchen for food preparation.

Hexr's avatar

It depends, as someone said, on whether the food is ready for consumption or not. Having worked in a restaurant, I know they generally prepare to order. The ingredients are prepared in a way that they can be stored for a few days at a time, so they make the right amount of ingredients for however long it will last. But once it’s prepared and cooked, for health reasons, it must be tossed. This didn’t happen very often where I worked, and usually staff could have or share any prepared food that didn’t get served (e.g the customer changed their mind, the kitchen did it wrong, etc)

beautifulbobby193's avatar

Most of it gets reheated and served the next day. So next time you see “specials” on a menu….

Berserker's avatar

Most times, it gets thrown away. Sad but true. I even worked in one place where they didn’t let the employees keep, (Assuming we asked if we could take the rest of the salad home with us instead of tossing it.) what they were told to throw away. What bs.

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