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A restaurant empowering its patrons to elevate their leftovers

A high-end restaurant sends its patrons home with elegant recipe cards describing ways to use the leftovers in their doggie bags.

Photo of Delia Kulukundis
17 13

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Le Coq Rico, a high-end restaurant in Paris that specializes in whole roast chickens has become one of the first to embrace the practice of sending patrons home with leftovers (“doggie bags”), by providing a way to elevate the experience of those leftovers.  Each take-home bag contains an elegant card with easy recipes that use all parts of the leftovers, including the meat, bones, and the juices that gel in the bottom of the container.  From a review of the restaurant's practice: “Rich with gelatin and umami, [the juices] are melted into a dressing for salad greens in one recipe.  In another, they are used to bind and flavor a terrine.”  I love the idea that the restaurant's patrons might be inspired to cook from what might be wasted in the future.

Read the whole article (and check out one of the recipes!) here:


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Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Delia! Thank you for highlighting the work of Le Coq Rico. I am just wondering. Have you been to this restaurant? Can you see this as an option for mainly high-end restaurants or for all types? For example, could you see Chipotle or McDonalds doing this?

Anne-Laure Fayard - I am interested in your opinion on this. I think it might link to your post 'Start from Scraps' -

Photo of Shane Zhao

Great connect Kate:) And there's also a link to this post:  'Junk' food - literally! Gourmet meals made from the trash. It's fascinating to see the emerging waste to gourmet trend that a lot of restaurants are adopting. I wonder how this might create a cultural shift where leaders in the culinary world can spark wide audiences to change their attitudes towards food waste. 

Photo of Bettina Fliegel

Such a great idea and post Delia!  
As one way to reach many and maybe change attitudes… It could be cool to see this approach become incorporated into one of the many cooking tv shows that are out there.   Perhaps a top chef might present what they already have in mind for what is left over when preparing to cook today's meal.  Tastings of the "tomorrows" meals could be shared with the studio audience, and recipes posted online.   

Photo of Delia Kulukundis

Hi Kate - thanks for the connection to 'Start from Scraps' - that is very much along these lines.
I haven't been to Le Coq Rico but it sounds super yummy.  They may have an easy time making recipes from the leftovers because the primary food is so simple - a roast chicken is so versatile.  It would be worth exploring what types of restaurants generate the most leftovers, to see where else this could be applied - maybe those that tend to serve more family-style produce more leftovers, I'm not sure.

Photo of Delia Kulukundis

That is an excellent idea.  I also like the idea of calling leftovers "tomorrows" meals.  

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Thanks Kate for the connection. I like the idea of Le Coq Rico providing people recipes. I personally think that it could be for restaurants of all types but there might some symbolic power to have some high ends restaurants doing this.
I also like Bettina Fliegel phrase "tomorrow meals". 

Photo of Bettina Fliegel

What if reviewers like Zagat added review categories - Whether restaurants provide recipes, and the quality of these recipes?  Maybe this would nudge consumers to choose restaurants that are providing this service (and tackling food waste in this way) and nudge restaurants to take action, in order to compete for customers? 

Photo of Bettina Fliegel

Hi Delia.
Thanks! How about a cook book as well? I think for busy families thinking about how to reframe planning for meals, by building in thinking ahead by what can become "tomorrows" meals for several days, might be really helpful and might save time and money. It also might appeal to people who enjoy the creative side of cooking. Thinking about a variety of global communities there may be much wisdom, and planning in this way might already be part of some cultures.

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Bettina Fliegel I love the idea of the cookbook and of creating global communities where recipes can be shared. It also reminds me of a website that someone mentioned to me once: That person would look in his fridge, put the ingredients in the website and be provided with suggestions of recipes. 

Photo of Kate Rushton

Good question!

I have just had a look and there is a bit of research on this. 

In the UK, they found that hotels, pubs and restaurants had the biggest proportion of meal leavers than at leisure venues, staff canteens and quick service restaurants. The people who leave most leftovers are women; young people; and people in the ABC1 socioeconomic group (middle class).

Photo of Kate Rushton

According to a 2005 study at the University of Arizona, food waste as a percentage of the total food used is 9.55% in fast food establishments and 3.11% in full service restaurants in the United States.

The pre-consumer kitchen waste, which could be incorrectly prepared food, spoiled food, trim waste, or simply overproduction, constitutes an estimated 4-10% of purchased food, becoming waste before it ever reaches the table.

According to Aramark, a dining company that serves about 500 schools in the United States, students waste 25-30% less food when they don’t have the option of carrying it on a tray. When Iowa State University went trayless in 2010, to take just one example, the school saw a 10% reduction in wasted food.

Food waste at fast food restaurants usually varies depending on the type and size of the chain. Larger chains tend to have lower food waste rates ranging from 5%-7%, while smaller, local chains can have loss rates as high as 50%.

Photo of Kate Rushton

I will try and find some more recent research. 

Photo of Delia Kulukundis

Bettina Fliegel and Anne-Laure Fayard these are great suggestions.  They reminded me that one of the food websites I often use has a whole section on leftovers, which is pretty good:

Photo of Gaurav Sharma

Hi Kate !

I am glad you found my post. I own a Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) in Mumbai. Its been 3 months since we have started our operations. Based on our observations during these months we see an overall food wastage of 30% which mainly comprises of leftovers from a consumers plate, spoilage.

I would like to give you a little insight on the consumer behavior of people who walk into my restaurant.My restaurant is located in Bandra,Mumbai. which is known for its night life The food is economically priced compared to my competitors.Well People tend to order more than they can eat especially in this area , mainly due to sheer curiosity of the cuisine and affordable pricing .
They like ordering more starters on a limited budget and tend to spend the rest on pubs and enjoy the night life. Thereby we are left with huge leftovers of such consumers. On the other hand the food wastage in pub chains only ranges between 6 %to 12% to that of 30% in a QSR as they tend to order limited food items in pubs.

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