Don't Waste Food SC: Restaurants & Hospitality

In the US, the restaurant industry generates about 11.4 million tons of food waste annually at a cost of roughly $25 billion every year. One study shows that restaurants could realize an additional $620 million in profit potential per year by adopting prevention solutions. For every $1 invested in food waste reduction efforts, restaurants can realize about $8 of cost savings.

Quick tips to prevent & reduce food waste in restaurants/hospitality:

  • Download DHEC's Smart Businesses Don't Waste Food Guide
  • Conduct a waste audit. Determine what your waste is and how much it's costing your business. 
  • Crop Planning. Meet with a local farmer to plan your menu around what is in season or available. 
  • Buy smart. Adjustments in purchasing can save money and potential food waste. 
  • Do the FIFO. First in, first out. 
  • Be creative. Be creative with kitchen excess. Create new dishes out of repurposed ingredients like broths, stocks and soups. Use unusual parts of produce like squash blossoms and stems. 
  • Donate. Instead of tossing extra produce, canned goods or prepared but unserved food, contact a local food bank or shelter. Feeding the Carolinas Foodbanks   
  • DHEC supports and encourages donation. Is it legal for restaurants and other businesses to donate? YES!
DWFSC Donation Info Card OR-1325
  • Compost. Most businesses will need to contract with a compost hauler/vendor or find a community garden/compost area. Vendor Info


  • Potential cost savings.
  • Feeding people, not landfills.
  • Gives restaurants/hospitality an opportunity to enhance their reputation with guests, staff and investors. A study by Unilever revealed that 72 percent of American diners care about how restaurants handle food waste and 47 percent would be willing to spend more to eat at a restaurant with an active food recovery program.
  • Employee engagement in the program increases job satisfaction.

Other Resources:


Businesses Food Waste Recycling Smart Business