‘We need it to work’: the restaurants trying to be forces of social and climate good

‘We need it to work’: the restaurants trying to be forces of social and climate good

Across the US restaurants are placing communities front and center, paying fair wages and going zero waste

Whether it’s a beautifully decorated bistro, neighborhood diner, fancy white tablecloth eatery, or fast-food joint, millions of people escape to restaurants every day for nourishment, leisure and enjoyment. In the US the industry accounts for 4% of the country’s total GDP, currently employs around 12.5 million people, and in 2020 – despite the pandemic – reported $659bn in sales.

Still, restaurants do not serve all Americans equally. To name a few issues, according to the non-profit One Fair Wage seven of the 10 lowest-paying jobs in the country are restaurant industry positions. And along with grocery stores and foodservice companies, eateries account for 40% of the 40m tons of food supply wasted every year. Moreover, Feeding America reports that more than 42 million people could be facing food insecurity, including about 13 million children, a situation that has been badly exacerbated by the pandemic.

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