Unconventional Labor Day Menu Items that will Reduce Food Waste at Your Restaurant.

Some families enjoy the last day of summer (for the kids, at least) by having a cookout with friends and family. But that is tradition. Generation Xers followed by Millennials are proving themselves to be more and more less traditional. Certain restaurant chains like Applebees have even gone so far as to blame Millenials for the closing of 135 stores.

Millennials are responsible for quickly evolving the approach to dining out and the result has been more and more quirky and cool “fast casual” dining experiences. So don’t miss the boat and learn how to make your restaurant appeal to keep your business relevant in the eyes of the generation that will soon hold the country’s greatest purchasing power. That’s why, this labor day (and other long weekend holidays), we encourage you to take some culinary risks. Ditch the traditional burgers and hot dogs and go for plates that align with the Millennial definition of “healthy”. Ok, it is fair to assume even Millennials would agree labor day food should include “cheat day foods” but a brioche bun, wasabi mayo, and other special features to upgrade the standard burger to a more enticing version should make Millennials take a second look at your restaurant’s menu.

The New York City department of sanitation recorded 5 million kilograms of food waste over the 3-day labor day weekend. That is a heartbreaking statistic North American cities cannot continue allowing to be a reality. Little regulations are in place to prevent this phenomenon from continuing or worsening because it is challenging to monitor, but each individual whether a restaurant or consumer, can take responsibility in fighting food waste.

What’s perishing in your restaurant? It is hard to know when you are going to be surprised on a holiday weekend and have several customers. This is an ongoing challenge in the restaurant business - we know. It is impossible to have the perfect amount of food supply for the number of customers you will be expecting in the next 24, 48, 72 hours. That’s why it is always very helpful to have knowledge about preserving technique for perishables. Freeze-drying, dehydrating, canning and pickling.

Even though people take home leftovers, styrofoam or plastic containers end up in landfills. When I was studying sustainable resource management in Vancouver, BC, Canada - the “Greenest City in North America” right after San Francisco, I was surprised to see restaurants not incentivizing their clients with bringing their own containers for a small discount off their order. This is an effort that could definitely contribute to a larger paradigm shift and save your restaurant money on supplies while also reducing the amount of non biodegradable materials going into landfills and oceans! This Labor Day, consider the sustainability of your restaurant if merely following tradition just doesn't cut it for you and your clientele.

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