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Restaurant business serves food for thought -- waste not, want not

(Xinhua)    09:50, August 14, 2020

More restaurants across China are taking measures to stop food wastage and raise public awareness of food security, especially amid the impact of COVID-19.

Smaller portions, half-portion dishes and free to-go boxes are now common in restaurants, encouraging diners to order food on demand and helping cultivate thrifty habits.

"Most of our clients are aware of food waste when they order, and our servers politely remind them of the issue from time to time," said Qiu Yan, Vice President of Harvest Festival (Group) Co. Ltd, a restaurant chain headquartered in Shanghai.

"Signs with 'save food and stop wasting food' are placed on every table in our restaurants," said Qiu.

Since the outbreak, restaurants adjusted their daily food purchase based on an estimate of the number of customers, and employees were assessed on their ability to avoid excess buying, said Qiu.

Harvest Festival has also launched a wider choice of take-out meals as the earlier standardized boxes would lead to food waste as appetites vary.

Shanghai's Pinhai Restaurant is trying to change the Chinese dining tradition of sharing dishes communally. Zhao Xianzhen, the general manager, believes that the deep-rooted mealtime etiquette causes food wastage.

Eating separately is not only hygienic but also cuts the costs of restaurants, said Zhao, adding that food can be served to customers in separate tableware.

Zhao also spoke of the need to train catering industry employees, enabling them to offer reasonable and healthy suggestions to customers.

Restaurants in central China's Wuhan are also taking the lead in creating an environment where waste is shameful and thriftiness laudable.

Since 2013, restaurant chain Xiaolanjing in Wuhan has offered to-go boxes free to customers and all dishes can be served in half. In a downtown Haidilao hotpot branch, servers politely remind customers that they can order half dishes and should not order too much.

"If all of us can cherish every meal and treat them as hard-won fruits of farmers and workers, the problem of food waste can be solved," said a Guangzhou citizen surnamed Zhou.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Xian Jiangnan, Bianji)

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