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Tackling the challenges of reducing and managing food waste in Mumbai restaurants

Jehangir Bharucha (H.R. College of Commerce and Economics, Mumbai, India) (Lincoln University College, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 5 March 2018




Around 67 million tons of food is wasted in India every year, which has a value of more than US$14 billion (Haq, 2016). The purpose of this paper is to concentrate on one major source to which the current massive proportion of wastage can be attributed: restaurants. It investigates the statistics, the problem at large, how the restaurants are handling it and recommends ways to better manage the issue.


A qualitative inquiry has been used. The research population for this study consisted of 63 restaurant owners across Mumbai city and its suburbs. In-depth discussions were held with these restaurant owners/managers in various matters of interest to this study.


The group of restaurateurs opined that the solution to Mumbai’s restaurants waste management lies in micro management rather than large scale plans. In total, 75 percent of the restaurants have 10-20 percent extra preparation. High-end fine-dining restaurants make even more additional preparations and are the ones more receptive to participating and also sensitive toward importance of waste management. Several of the restaurant owners claim that they can estimate the requirements on specific days of the week. In all, 18 percent of the restaurants surveyed claimed to have a complete dispose of policy. Majority of the restaurants have a clear policy to distribute the surplus food among their staff. Several other innovative strategies were shared.

Research limitations/implications

The restaurant owners/mangers may not have truthfully answered all questions. The participants might have the fear that the authorities would take cognizance of some of the practices that they are following and would have been guarded in their responses. There would always be a fear that the identities would not be kept confidential.

Practical implications

India as a country has been agriculture based for centuries and characterized by massive food production. Yet, people face rampant starvation and malnourishment. This arises to a large extent due to the colossal amounts of food wasted at marriages, restaurants and even by destruction of crops.


The restaurant industry is of critical importance to the Indian economy and while research in India has focused on overall food wastage, studies on restaurant food waste are lacking.



Bharucha, J. (2018), "Tackling the challenges of reducing and managing food waste in Mumbai restaurants", British Food Journal, Vol. 120 No. 3, pp. 639-649.



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