I was at one of my favorite restaurants recently, and when I took my leftovers home (without extra packaging, no bag, thank you) I got into a conversation with the owner about how he would like to reduce the amount of trash he sends out of the restaurant. He has tried using paper packaging, because it is better than plastic, but it turns to mush by the time he gets a salad home. He would like to do without plastic bags, but people expect them (and when they order several salads and sandwiches, it is hard to juggle without.
I told him I would look around for alternatives, but I am hoping someone out there has some suggestions to reduce waste, without alienating his customers. He was interested in giving a deduction for people how bring in their own packaging, but often they call in advance, and want to just pick it up and go.
Maybe the owner could use the same idea that the milk and yogurt companies do? He could provide the option of putting the to go food in canning jars and charging you for the jar, When you bring it back you get the money back? He could also still provide the bring your own jar policy and have the other packing offer for those that may not want (or can't) spend the extra money. He may need to invest in cardboard boxed for people that order a lot of stuff to go.
Hey guys!! I am very health conscious so I usually eat healthy food. I don’t eat outside much. Now I am fed up of eating salad and boring vegetables. I still want to have healthy diet but want something different. Can you suggest some online cooking video classes?
Truly very helpful information on different restaurants. I am really interested in trying new recipes and dishes and has been my interest for long now. Have learnt few new recipes from Nom Video Sharing App and will try them on holidays.
What are the laws in your town on legal and illegal packaging? He might want to work with the local Board of Supes or city council to at least pass a law that all takeout containers have to be biodegradable.
Probably the easiest thing for him to do is just direct the staff taking takeout orders on the phone to suggest that if the customer brings in the container, they'll get a discount. Also when taking reservations on the phone, tell them you'll knock something off the bill if they bring their own containers for the doggie bags. Short of that, it makes more sense for him and other business owners to lobby the city for improved takeout containers.
Thinking about his situation, maybe he needs to divide and conquer with the end goal of approaching zero waste over time. Immediately, sandwiches can be wrapped in non plastic butcher's paper and continue with his salads/hot foods as he is now doing. As time goes by and his research continues (and as more municipalities require recyclable containers) there will be more options available. He can post a sign that customer containers are welcome and thereby plant some seeds.
Another alternative is for the restaurant to pre-prep the salads for the to-go in a container that they will open and from which they will transfer the contents into the customer's own container when they arrive. That transfer shouldn't take too long, but it won't be very decorative during lunch rush. Something on the order of the baskets the farmers market folk use to pre organize their produce (but obviously not a basket). Those batches could sit in their cooler waiting for customer containers to arrive, a little finishing off (dressing, croutons, toppings) and then slap on the lid. Can use a rewrite-able chalk board tag to indicate customer info to keep things organized.
Another idea: I think some office folk would be delighted to receive mason jar meals for their lunch meetings, so he could just come up with new menu items specifically tailored for those jars...They could go out the door 12 at a time in the case they came in, too. A nice little catering offering. There's a restaurant in NYC that even went so far as to design their own mason jars. http://ny.eater.com/2016/6/7/11875854/ancolie-jar-restaurant