In starting a compost program, many restaurants realize that they must reassess their ordering in order to minimize this waste. However, it is understandable that you will still have some food that goes bad, and you definitely can compost that food, but there are other alternatives.
Source reduction and reuse are effective ways of managing waste. Measuring and tracking waste can allow you to create preparation systems to minimize waste from the start. Consider tracking what volumes of each item you need to create your dishes. Over time, you will be able to ascertain what amount of each product to order. This type of approach is especially useful for buffets, catering, etc.
While leftovers and scraps that are not fit for consumption and donation can be composted, much of this “waste” is not waste at all, but actually safe, wholesome food that could potentially feed millions of hungry Americans. Local food pantries or the national Feeding America program are options for surplus food.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has created the Food Recovery Hierarchy to illustrate best practices for food recovery efforts.
The Good Samaritan Act was created to protect donors from liabilities associated with food donations. Ultimately source reduction and reuse are effective ways of managing waste, but that waste can either go into compost or be sent along to food pantries or other local service agencies in your area.
The Food Donation Connection provides useful information on food safety and they help companies put their surplus food to good use.