It is evident. The current model of buffet-style meal service is unsustainable.

Hotels and restaurants waste nearly half the food at buffets, contributing to 108 billion pounds wasted in the United States. This 108 billion pounds of food waste equals 130 billion meals, worth more than $408 billion in food thrown away each year.

Restaurant buffets operate on extremely thin margins: For every $20 in revenue, $19 might go toward overhead, leaving $1 (5%) in net profit. Buffets often break even on food and eke out a profit by minimizing the cost of labor.

To reduce food waste, serve items in small, individual serving vessels instead of chafing dishes. Separate mixed items when possible to give guests a choice while maintaining freshness. Use dispensers, jars, and containers with lids to preserve food quality for reuse. Reduce plate size and shrink serving utensils.

Humans become hyperphagic, i.e., the tendency to eat a great deal of food when palatable food is readily available. We also tend to subconsciously prevent others from taking our food source.

Opposite to a buffet, a la carte is a type of service where each item on the menu is ordered and served separately, while a buffet is a type of meal where food is placed in a public area, and diners serve themselves. A la carte is usually a plated, sit-down meal, while a buffet is usually stand-up.

While buffets are environmentally negative, they do have a few positive effects, such as playing a pivotal role socially. Buffets are an excellent way for people of different taste pallets and proportion preferences to eat at one restaurant. While our society does not necessarily rely on buffet food, there is a strong preference for it in hotels, especially at breakfasts.

To conclude, the current model of buffet-style meals is unsustainable because of its effects on the environment, the inequality it helps fuel, and the potential health risks resulting from greenhouse gasses. Even though it may be near impossible for buffets to cease to exist, implementing policies about food waste and changing the structure of buffets to align with the sustainability concepts mentioned above and illustrated in the picture are effective methods to mitigate the negative impacts of buffet food waste.

WE&P by: EZorrillaMc.