In Germany, tons of food are wasted every year. According to the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, annual food waste in Germany amounts to 12 million tons. One of the main causes is the overproduction of food in restaurants, bakeries and supermarkets. Besides various ways to plan food consumption and thus avoid food waste in restaurants, there are also good initiatives and apps to recycle food without having to throw it away. We show you what alternatives there are and which is best for whom.
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1. the blackboard
The Tafel is a non-profit organization that collects food from restaurants, supermarkets, wholesalers and producers and gives it to those in need. The Tafel's goal is to reduce food waste by businesses or individuals while helping people in need. People in need can obtain food from the Tafel by showing proof of need. This ensures that people are truly in need of it.
Food that is no longer needed, such as baked goods, fruit and vegetables with small blemishes, packaged goods with an approaching best-before date, in exceptional cases also with an expired best-before date, seasonal items after the end of the season (e.g. chocolate Easter bunnies or barbecue sauces) and refrigerated and frozen products can be donated to the Tafel. It is difficult with open fresh produce, leftovers from buffets and goods with expired use-by dates and alcoholic beverages; these goods cannot be accepted by the Tafel and must be recycled elsewhere.
In order to be able to donate to the Tafel as a restaurant or company, you must register your restaurant with the Tafel. The easiest way to do this is to contact the Tafel directly in your area. If a donation is made, you will be asked to sort your remaining food so that Tafel employees can pick it up directly from you.
Advantages & Disadvantages The Tafel
- The Tafel is an established organization that includes a network of volunteers almost everywhere in Germany who distribute the food.
- the leftover food is not only saved from being wasted, but goes to those in need who really need it and normally don't have the opportunity to buy food for a balanced diet.
- The food is donated, meaning there is no cost to your restaurant.
- The food bank has no capacity to sort the goods. If you want to donate food to the food bank as a restaurant, it must be sorted by your restaurant.
- Restaurants or hotels that have leftover food from the buffet cannot donate it to the food bank.
- By giving food through a third party, the Tafel, you as a restaurant owner do not come into contact with the end consumer.
Foodsharing is an initiative that also works against food waste and is a good complement to the Tafel. Similar to the Tafel, the people who make use of Foodsharing are mostly dependent on it. Unlike Tafel, Foodsharing does not require anyone to show proof of need, and anyone who is not in need can join Foodsharing.
Supermarkets, bakeries and even private individuals can donate food that is still edible. Volunteer "food savers" pick up the food from you and redistribute the food to clubs, the food bank, soup kitchens, interested people in the foodsharing network and to publicly accessible food distributors for self-service. Interested parties can then pick up and use this food.
For restaurants, foodsharing is also a good option to avoid food waste. After contacting them by mail, the initiative will discuss with you individually when they will pick up your surplus food. You don't have to worry about anything else. The foodsharing team will take care of sorting and distribution. Leftover food can be offered on the platform. Foodsharing's legal agreement allows donations of food that may not be donated at the food bank. Thus, Foodsharing tries to fully utilize all surpluses.
Advantages & Disadvantages Foodsharing
- Foodsharing takes care of everything. From picking up at your restaurant to distributing to those in need, relatives, and filling Foodsharing's public access food distributors.
- Foodsharing, as a complement to Tafel, takes the work off your hands by picking up food that can be donated to Tafel from your restaurant and sorting it for you.
- Foodsharing collaborates with Tafel or Foodsharing passes on to Tafel
- Donates food to those in need and those not in need.
- You are dependent on the efforts of the foodsharing community in your area. If the food distributors are not maintained, when in doubt, foodsharing will close them down and there will be fewer opportunities to distribute the food.
3 Too Good To Go.
Too Good To Go is an app that allows leftover food from your restaurant to be sold at a discounted price and reduce food waste in restaurants and businesses. Leftover food can be offered through the app, which can generate additional revenue and allow food savers to come across your restaurant. However, it must also be noted that the food must be picked up within a certain time window, which can be freely chosen by the restaurant.
It is a good idea to choose the pickup time shortly before or at closing time, since by then you can easily estimate how many portions of food will be left over at the end of the day and can be released into the app for sale. In the app, you as the restaurant owner can set the price of your portions. As a rule, a third of the original value of the goods is chosen as a guideline for the price of the portions. However, you can also set the prices completely freely.
Once you have released one or more portions for sale, customers can purchase your portions in the app. The customers pay for the portions via the app and Too Good To Go pays you for your sales on a quarterly basis. Importantly for you as a vendor, there is a cost to your restaurant when using Too Good To Go. From the revenue you generate through the app, you still have to pay a commission per portion sold and an annual fee to Too Good To Go. The commission is 1.09 € per serving and the annual fee is 39 €. A portion with an original merchandise value of, for example, 12 € could be offered by you in the app for 4 €. After giving away the commission, you would still have 2.91 €. So after the 14th portion sold in the year, you would have the annual fee of 39 € out again and would then even make a small profit with the sale of leftover food.
Advantages & Disadvantages Too Good To Go
- You can offer any food that is still edible, whether it's finished processed food, leftovers from the buffet, or leftover fresh produce with small quirks.
- The app has a high profile, especially among young people, and can help you get new customers.
- You sell your surplus food for a small price.
- You get in direct contact with the people who pick up the food from your restaurant.
- You have to pay a fee in the form of an annual fee of 39 € and a commission of 1.09 € per serving sold to Too Good To Go.
- The app could be a barrier and inaccessible to certain groups of people.
- If food is not picked up or not all portions are sold, people are left holding the bag.
4. ResQ Club
ResQ Club is another option for restaurants to sell leftover food to reduce food waste in the restaurant industry. The Finnish company works with restaurants and cafes to sell their leftover food to interested customers. Restaurants can offer their leftover dishes directly through ResQ Club's app, which can then be picked up by customers. Payment for ResQ Club is also made through the app, and the company pays you for your sales each month. ResQ Club, unlike Too Good To Go, does not have a usage fee. The only cost with ResQ Club is a commission of 25% of the net revenue of your sales through the app. So if you don't sell anything through ResQ Club, you don't have to pay anything to ResQ Club.
Advantages & Disadvantages ResQ Club
- Only present in Berlin so far, be the first restaurant in your city!
- ResQ Club has no usage fee and you earn from the first portion sold.
- There is a commission of 25% of the net revenue of the sold portion.
- Barely known app, is overshadowed by competitor Too Good To Go.
- The app could be a barrier and inaccessible to certain groups of people.
No matter which way you end up saving the rest of your food from going to waste. All offer a better alternative than the trash can. But so which is the best solution for your restaurant?
If you have a restaurant or café that prepares its own food and has mostly unprocessed ingredients left over that don't need to be refrigerated and are no longer suitable for sale, and if you have time to sort the surplus food, as well as being particularly keen on helping people in need with it, then we recommend the food bank.
If you offer a lavish buffet and/or have processed food left over as surplus, as is often the case in hotels, for example, it is recommended that you resell the food using one of the two apps, Too Good To Go or ResQ Club, and thus save it from going to waste. You will have recouped the costs after the 14th portion sold at the latest, and you can even record a small profit.
Our Pro Tip: A combination of several ways. If you want to donate to those in need, but also want to pass on processed food so that nothing is left over, then first choose the Tafel or Foodsharing to donate the unprocessed food. The goods that the Tafel and Foodsharing do not accept for logistical and hygienic reasons, you can still offer and sell afterwards for a little money through Too Good To Go or ResQ Club.