Food Waste

Leftover Goodness: How to Score and Utilize Extra Food from Restaurants

Picture this: You've just enjoyed a delicious meal at your favorite restaurant, but you couldn't finish all the yummy food on your plate. You hate to see it go to waste, and you're not alone, everybody hates to waste food.

However, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, approximately 1.3 billion tonnes of food produced globally is wasted every year. Fortunately, the interest in the environmental subject is rainsing and more people are becoming aware of their impact on the planet. In fact, restaurants and cafeterias are thinking about different ways to save and utilize or repurpose their extra, reducing waste and ensuring that the goodness on your plate doesn't end up in the trash. In this article, we'll explore some tips and tricks to make the most of your restaurant leftovers.

1. Ask for a Doggy Bag

Don’t be shy… if you have some leftovers ask for a “doggy bag” or a takeaway container. This is the simplest and most direct way to save some leftover food from restaurants and cafeterias. Most of the time restaurateurs would be happy to provide you with one, this means that you appreciate what you are eating and nobody likes to throw away food that is still edible. In addition, you can enjoy the rest of your meal at home or as a tasty snack later on.

2. Share the Love

If you're dining with friends or family, especially if you are trying a new place for the first time and you don’t know if you will like it or not and how big the portions are, consider ordering a few different dishes to share. This will allow everybody to taste a variety of different dishes and also reduces the chances of food going to waste. Sharing is not only caring; it's also an effective way to enjoy more recepies while minimizing leftovers.

3. Order Smaller Portions

It might be a new restaurant or you don’t feel very hungry, lucky today many restaurants offer smaller portion sizes or appetizer options. In fact, when you're placing your order, we suggest you think about how much food you can realistically consume. If you know that you won't finish a massive plate of food, consider sharing an entree, ordering an appetizer as your main course, or choosing dishes that are easier to take home and repurpose. By ordering mindfully not only you will reduce food waste, but you will save some money too.

5. Get Creative with Leftovers

Once you've saved your restaurant leftovers, it's time to get creative in the kitchen. Leftover pasta can be turned into a tasty pasta salad, and last night's grilled chicken can become a chicken stir-fry. The possibilities are endless! Don’t be afraid, and take the chance to experiment with new recipes.

Pro tip: If you run out of ideas on how to repurpose your leftovers in WIN Sustainably we are all about it! Follow us on social media (Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and LinkedIn) and discover daily tips and tricks about sustainable living and the best save-leftover recipes on the Internet.  

6. Store Leftovers Properly

We know that eating twice the same thing can be a bit boring. Do you want to prolong the shelf life of your restaurant's leftovers? To ensure your leftovers stay safe to eat, store them in airtight containers in the refrigerator as soon as possible. Consume or repurpose them within a reasonable time frame to maintain their freshness and flavor.

7. Donate Unused Leftovers

If you had a big party or occasion and find yourself with more leftovers than you can eat or repurpose, consider donating them to local food banks or shelters. Many organizations welcome food donations, especially if the food is still safe to eat. Your act of kindness can help those in need and reduce food waste in your community.

8. Embrace the Food Sharing Economy

Several apps and websites have emerged in recent years that facilitate food sharing. Some platforms connect you with nearby individuals or organizations who are looking for surplus t food, some others repurpose restaurants' unsold food directly to you for a discounted price. Explore these options to ensure that extra food doesn't go to waste.

Pro tip: If you live in UAE download the Qa'lil app. This is the first UAE food rescue platform that allows you to save leftover food from your favorite restaurant for a discounted price! Choose your WIN Box in a range of 50k from your location, decide between PickUp or Delivery, and enjoy your sustainable meal where you prefer.

Saving extra food from restaurants creates a win-win situation. You get to enjoy more delicious meals, reduce food waste, and save money—all of this while contributing to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly food system. Finally, the next time you dine out, remember these tips and make the most of your restaurant leftovers. Your taste buds and the planet will thank you!