According to a report published by Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) in London, restaurants in Britain throw away around 600,000 tonnes of food annually. The supersized portion of food served to customers is cited as the biggest cause for this wastage. However, restaurant owners in Delhi claim that not much food is wasted at the end of the day.
“There is not much wastage because most of the items are kept in their raw or semi-marinated form, and are cooked only when customers order. The extensive freezing system ensures that the ingredients do not get stale. Most of the food that gets wasted, comes from customers’ plate; but more often customers are conscious that they have paid so much and so get it all packed for home,” says Monish Gujral of Moti Mahal Deluxe. “Some even get bones packed if they have a pet at home,” he adds.
Eateries in the Capital estimate a quantity that will be consumed. Quite often, only the most popular item is cooked in larger quantity to avoid wastage.
“Food is kept in big vessels over coal fire in the dhaba and none of it goes waste. Even wastage from customer’s plates is very less because the food is served in portions suitable for a single person. Wastage in raw form is minimal as most of it is used and leftovers are distributed among the workers,” says Ajay Kumar of Anand Dhaba in Kasturba Gandhi Marg.
Since the dhaba is mostly visited by office-goers in the area, lesser quantity of food is prepared on Sundays. “There are two kinds of wastage — raw ingredients getting spoiled or customers not finishing their portions. We daily buy limited quantity of meat and vegetables to avoid wastage of ingredients. Also, customers don’t leave much on their plates and usually get the leftovers packed for their pet dogs. If at all cooked food is left, we try to distribute it to the beggars on the streets,” says Sameer Chawla, of Taste of China in Connaught Place.
Call it consciousness of the customers or the love for their canines, Delhiites surely know how to utilise food to the maximum. We certainly are not wasting!