Over 40% of plated restaurant food ends up in the trash; wasting farm land, natural resources, water, labor, and transportation. OSU-Cascades' Hospitality Management and Computer Science programs are currently developing a production-ready food waste camera that can quantify food waste in real-time. With this innovative piece of technology, everyone wins: restaurants lower food costs, customers pay for only what they need, and all the downstream waste is significantly reduced.
Quantifying food waste in a commercial setting can be difficult. Restaurant employees are often left searching through trash bags trying to measure how much of their food was left unconsumed, but with the foodwaste camera, we can quantify food waste before it ever enters the trash can. Specifically, when the plated meal is ready to be served to the customer, the camera snaps a "before" photo as it leaves the kitchen. After the customer consumes as much food as they can and the table is cleared, the plate is brought back to the kitchen where another camera then snaps an "after" photo. A computer algorithm then measures how much food was left on the plate and can calculate the total foodwaste for that meal. This process is repeated for every meal, collecting data, and providing the restaurant with the "perfect serving size" that maximizes profit and eliminates downstream waste.