You may have asked yourself where all the food goes when you’re done eating at your favorite Bacchanal Buffet or Wynn Buffet. It is safe to say that the restaurants throw the food away. While that sounds excessively wasteful, it’s for health and food safety concerns.
There are other things that happen to food when they’re not consumed by consumers. Depending on local laws, restaurant policies, or purely human actions, the food may end up at places other than the trash bin.
1. Crab legs always go to trash.
You have to avoid crab legs if you’re going to buffet restaurants that are very far from coastal areas. The same goes for seafood. Seafood is notorious for being perishable in a manner of hours.
Some food also won’t make it past midnight. They’d have to be kept under a certain temperature so that customers can enjoy it in the afternoon. If a certain food isn’t being consumed, it will be taken to the trash, just like what happens to crab legs and other seafood.
2. Food goes to the compost.
Other than the garbage bin, food that is going to be thrown out usually ends up being compost for plant nurseries. This is a better option rather than dumping it into the biodegradable section of the dumpster. The most common food items thrown out include seafood and dairy-based dishes.
3. Food goes to animal farms.
In other countries, buffet restaurants give the food to animal farms, like pig farms. Giving it to pig farms reduces food waste and is cost effective for the farm owner. While this might sound unsanitary, buffet restaurants always make sure that the food they’re throwing away is still safe for animal consumption.
4. Some foods get recycled.
It’s the truth and it’s usually for business reasons. Having to throw away food that doesn’t get eaten is akin to throwing money down the drain. Still, restaurants follow food safety protocols when it comes to recycling food.
Even before the idea of recycling food crosses the mind of business owners, they usually plan ahead. Businesses will have an estimate of how many guests will be arriving for the buffet. Cooks will prepare the dishes only when the trays are close to empty.
5. Food gets donated…kind of.
One of the most debated topics surrounding food wastage in the buffet industry is donating it to orphanages or charity. A lot of people are divided over the issue. Others reason out that it’s sensible to give food away to those who need it.
An organization called Feeding America is against this type of protocol. The reasoning is simple: food experts say it’s too risky as the food has been sitting out for the whole day and can possibly cause food poisoning.
6. It depends on the line.
There’s a hot line in buffet restaurants. Dishes under the hot line are usually reheated or maintain a temperature to avoid bacterial growth. Most foods from this section don’t last long so they get taken out.
Frozen food, on the other hand, goes back to the freezer.