A Conversation with Andy Lansing - CEO, Levy Restaurants
1. What motivated your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction?
Anyone who works in hospitality should have a personal interest in reducing food waste. We’re all trying to reduce our costs without sacrificing quality, and the number one best way to do this is by reducing waste. You can truly save an enormous amount of money without sacrificing a single aspect of the guest’s experience, just by being mindful.
2. Can you share a story about a food waste hero who inspired you?
I’m on the road constantly visiting our locations, and I am inspired virtually every day by the work our people to do reduce food waste. Whether it’s executive chefs creating new dishes to celebrate underused cuts of meat or produce, line cooks dedicating themselves to getting the most out of every single ingredient, or operators finding ways to repurpose used cooking oil, countless individuals across Levy find ways both big and small to reduce waste every day.
3. What change have you made personally to be more mindful?
I was raised as a proud member of the clean plate club, so I’ve never been one to let food go to waste. But I also use my role as a leader to encourage Levy to be a true innovator in sustainability. Our locations donate unused food to local food banks and charities, and at the scale at which we operate, that can make a huge impact in both reducing food waste and serving those in need. We’ve also long used recycled products at every possible opportunity, making sure that we’re reducing every kind of waste in our operations.
4. What will it take for America to make food waste a priority?
While it’s critical for every individual to do his or her part in reducing food waste, companies like Levy and Compass Group have an enormous opportunity to lead the way in our practices, both by setting examples and using the scope of our business to make immediate and significant impacts. When I look at the broader hospitality industry, I see companies in every aspect of the business doing their part to cut food waste. They know it’s not only the right thing to do, but also good business. I’m an eternal optimist, but I think anyone who spends time in our business would be encouraged by where things are headed.
5. What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?
I think it’s important that we all vote through our dollars by supporting companies that make a commitment to reducing food waste. I’m very proud that Levy and Compass Group share this commitment.