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Canteen Food Mismanagement At Shop Floor

This has been a major learning when it comes to mass food distribution

Photo of Ranabijoy Pramanik
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Mass Food distribution in canteen of  any shop floor/plant is mandatory for effective labor management.We need to understand the situation first.


Workers demand their lunch/dinner at bare minimum price and company senior management deals with the vendor and ultimately get success in providing food as per their demand.But while managing labor's food, the management avoids or does not give enough priority to effective food management. Just because management is well aware of the labor number and vendor is expert enough to supply food with right quality and quantity, we can not conclude that it is well enough for effective food management.

Let us compare 2 situations: plant A has a system of distributing food in a plate basis. For example: Person X will come with a plate and there will be food stalls. Food will be distributed to him as per his requirement.

Plant B has a system of distributing food based on the item only. For example: Person X will come with a plate and there will be food stalls. Each food stall is having a bowl system/ standard quantity. Roti : 2 Pc. Daal: 1 Bowl, Fish: 1 Pc.. Assumption: There must be a general consensus between management and workers regarding standardization of food quantity.

We will get to see severe food waste problem in plant A since there is no limitation, no standardization of food quantity, we tend to overestimate the amount of food we can take and ultimately end up taking extra on a plate and throwing most of it in the dustbin. 

In plant B, we know how much we can get and since there is limitation in quantity, wastes will be minimized. 



Standardization of food quantity on item basis

Adaption of ''Kotobuki Lacquer Japanese Bento Box''

Let us start to keep a ‘Food Waste Diary’ for a week to identify what we tend to throw out and then use it to work out where we can limit waste through more effective way.

Reactive :

One of the highest priorities when establishing a garden is to create a good composting system. Of course, it’s possible to feed the plants with commercially produced compost and fertilizers but home composting is so easy, cheap and effective that it makes sense to recycle as much as possible back into the soil. 

We can implement similar system in industry. Whatever food wastes we generate in one week, we will collect in a bin and perform compositing inside the plant premise and enrich the soil for effective gardening.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Emily Getty

Hello  Ranabijoy:
1. Compost. There is so much potential for compost BEYOND food waste. My husband and I live in a tiny home 149 square feet with a composting toilet and we use our composted manure to reconstitute the soil in our gardens and landscaping projects.
2. Food quantity limits. I think that if you are interested in the limitation of food quantities and set amounts that may work in some cultural contexts but psychologically it may not work in other areas. It would be interesting to explore it from that perspective as well.

Photo of Ranabijoy Pramanik

Hello Emily,

I do agree to your suggestion. It's not that I am ''limiting'' the quantity,  it's about the standardization. How ever it is true it depends on cultural contexts. If we see Japanese culture, they are using Bento Box, which is not about limiting food rather standardizing food quantity, while maintaining variety.

As far as compost is concerned, I would like to know the details how are you processing compost because I also strongly believe that compost is having huge potential beyond food waste.

Photo of Praanshu Gupta

Hi Ranabijoy, 
I like your problem area and i too feel that a big part of this wastage is canteen food mismanagement.
Not just shop floors/plants even college/school canteens where students pay and eat lunch.
I feel that it is difficult to regulate quantities in places that cater to students as their parents are emotionally envolved. What kind of solutions would you suggest for a place like this?

Photo of Ranabijoy Pramanik

Hi Praanshu,

In this aspect, I want to share one experience with you. During my visit to Toyota, I had my lunch in Toyota Canteen. What I have seen is nothing but the systematic approach.

1. The food quantity is fixed where as the variety is more.
2. You will be given in a standard container instead of just putting on your plate, such as in terms of bowl, small plate etc. 
3. They maintain food waste diary to monitor waste percentage for every item and take action accordingly.

I have studied your article and you have rightly pointed out the root cause and human nature. We can't change it but we can adopt some system to prevent this.