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"Food Saving Restaurant" Network, Platform & Certificate - Update 10/11 (benefits for customers clarified)

Provide a network, a platform and a certificate for restaurants that reduce food waste e.g. by offering portions in >2 different sizes.

Photo of Lorenz null

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The Problem

A major source of food waste is food that is left on the plate of customers. Restaurants are not allowed to re-use even untouched food on the same plate. Restaurants additionally do not offer food sizes that are adaptable by each customer since the advantage is not seen by the restaurants and it is not demanded by the customers yet.

The Solution

This combination of a network, a platform and a certificate will serve as an additional incentive for restaurants to offer not only one standard size of each food on their menu but several sizes.

This will decrease the amount of waste produced by the restaurant, since less food is left on plates by the customers.

The Requirements

The restaurants have to fulfill the following criteria to earn the certificate

  1. Offer at least these 3 portion sizes (restaurants will still be allowed to offer huge dish sizes, but they at least have to serve these three dish sizes):
    • Smallest size 1: adequate for an average height woman in a healthy lifestyle with slightly decreased hunger (suggested 430 calories)
    • Size 2: adequate for an average height woman in a healthy lifestyle or an average height man in a healthy lifestyle with slightly decreased hunger (suggested 560 calories)
    • Size 3: adequate for an average height man in a healthy lifestyle (suggested 730 calories)
  2. Lower pricing for smaller portion sizes than currently offered and higher pricing for portion sizes that are bigger than the portion sizes currently offered: to provide an incentive to customers to consider purchasing smaller portions that are more adequate for their hunger
  3. Additional fee for customers who didn't finish their plate
  4. No extra (service) fee for smaller portions: to ensure the pricing is real
  5. Adaptable portions are advertised easily visible: to ensure customers are aware of their options
  6. Processes to prevent further waste are in place and enacted - to prevent further waste, e.g. these processes have to be continuously enacted:¹
    • Track the value of waste and reasons/sources for it
    • Review the documentation on the purchased goods and review the business decisions
    • Conduct inventory frequently in order to compare purchase and quantity of garbage
    • Minimize quantity of leftovers by changing dishes on the menu
    • Clear list of recyclables and monthly review of trashed recyclables
    • Utilize new possibilities to recycle waste (e.g. Toast Ale, Cornucopia) (new)

The Incentive For Restaurants

When certified, a restaurant is allowed to publically display the certificate and thereby attract passersby.

On certification a restaurant is featured on the Adaptable Portions Restaurants-online platform and can be discovered on the search of the online platform. Collaborations with Yelp and similar restaurant platforms are aimed at.

We will collaborate with local newspapers, magazines and other organizations to drive further publicity of the certification as well as the certified restaurants.

Further Benefit: the restaurants additionally benefit due to reduced cost of waste disposal.

Benefit for Customers

  • With this network of food-waste reducing restaurants, customers are enabled do support this cause.
  • The customers can eat healthier portion sizes.
  • Due to the agreed pricing, customers have to pay less on average.

Future Possibilities

  • If groups continue to order unconsciously or if the network of restaurants see a high value: implement network-wide discount system (e.g. every 10th meal for free) 
  • App for customers to create a "intake" profile. This profile can be shared with the restaurant while ordering and the restaurant can then base the portion size on it.

¹) source:

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

I will identify local restaurant owners in Hamburg who are willing to offer their main dishes in adaptable sizes for adapted prices while publishing the trial in at least one local magazine, newspaper or app and while using trial-certificates. To evaluate the effect I will record the sales before, during and after the trial, considering special events.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

- Are there similar certificates I overlooked? - Are certificates percieved negatively? - What do I have to consider while contacting restaurant owners? - literally anything I overlooked! Please give me your input!

Tell us about your work experience:

I'm a startup consultant in the areas product management and growth. I'm currently working with startups in the areas productivity, human resources, kindergarten erp, AR and personal finances. I've worked in the sectors automotive, healthcare tech, management consulting and marketing - always close to idea generation for, creating concepts of and developing new products.

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual

How far along is your idea?

  • It’s just been created! It’s existed for 1 day - 1 month

How would you describe this idea to your grandmother?

We are telling it many people that our collaborating restaurants are evironmental friendly if they actively reduce food waste, e.g. if they give their customers the serving size they want.

How is your idea unique to the space?

Currently there is no such incentive available to restaurants. Unique advantages for me: I'm living in a hipster area in Germany and I know a few of the restaurant owners in person already.

Who needs to play a role in your idea in order to make it successful?

I will need collaborations with restaurant associations, local magazines and communities and big restaurant-search platforms in order to provide the promised publicity.

How do you plan to measure the impact of your idea?

By querying the participating restaurants how much waste they produced before participation and since participting in the program.

What are your immediate next steps after the challenge?

Continue my negotiations with restaurants, associations and other possible partners.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Lubega Joseph

Lorenz your right... Like in form  of a campaign to sensitize the general public 

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