Compliance of Foodservice Workers to Aramark Food Waste Policies

K. Callahan, S. Shah , M. Solheid
Aramark Distance Learning Dietetic Internship Program
The emerging trend of minimizing food waste in a hospital setting is relevant to the dietetic
field since it is common for a food service manager to be a registered dietitian. Additionally, dietitians
are involved in patient food distribution and can affect food waste in that capacity. Since food waste
affects Aramark financially and affects the local and global economies and environments of Aramark
contracted facilities, it is imperative that as Aramark representatives we ensure policies and
procedures related to elimination of food waste are adhered to
Food waste practices were observed at five separate Aramark contracted hospitals for 65
separate recorded through observational surveys. We observed compliancy to stated Aramark food
waste policies of employees in the areas of receiving, preparation, storing, and serving. After each
observation the results were entered into the Google Forms appropriate for each type of observation.
Overall, we determined that foodservice worker compliancy rate is high but there are areas
that could be improved. The study exposed the largest non-compliances with foodservice workers
who are not taking the dry storage temperature, not checking/documenting food temperatures during
service and not discarding food in composting bins over trashcans.


A sample of food service workers involved in receiving, preparing, and serving food items were observationally evaluated at 5 hospitals. The geographic locations of the
hospitals represented the East Coast, Midwest, and the West Coast. Any food service employee with the responsibility of receiving and storing goods and preparing or serving food
for either café or patient line were included in the observational evaluations. All food service workers were in good standing in their employment status. No food service workers were
excluded. With the number of hospitals represented in this study, a wide range of age, race, length of time in position, and socioeconomic status of food service workers was
represented. Both genders were represented equally. Food service workers and supervisors were not given any information about why they were being observed or how the
collected data was going to be used. Food and Nutrition managers were given a description of the study and the purpose of the data collection.
Study Design
Over three months, three dietetic interns collected data for four areas of observation of food service employee work practices: Receiving, Storing, Preparation and
Serving. Inventory delivery times, food preparation and service times were taken into consideration to produce maximum number of observations. A sample size of 65 was reached.
Observations took place in dry and cold storage areas, preparation areas of kitchens, and service areas in the kitchen and in the café. Observation data was collected using the data
collection tool in which the observer recorded all data and later input into the Google Form appropriate for each area of observation. The data collection tool was adapted from the
pre-published draft of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food Waste Survey, which was provided by one of the Aramark Dietetic Internship Directors to the team of dietetic
interns conducting this study. Separate Google Forms were utilized for each of the four observed areas
Resources and Permissions
No outside resources or funding were required for the completion of this observational evaluation. Food service employees were not paid additional hourly or salary
wages to be observed. Each of the dietetic interns had the appropriate personnel sign and date an approved Institutional Review Board form and submitted the form to Aramark
Dietetic Internship Program prior to the start of the observational evaluation.

Awareness of food waste and related reduction is beginning to become a popular area of
focus for those looking to impact climate change and the amount of trash that ends up in landfills
each year. Food waste that ends up in landfills often emits methane gas that is a large contributor to
global warming. Furthermore, food waste can see new life as compost and can therefore be a way to
nourish growing plants instead of festering in landfills.


Food waste can be curtailed in the most efficient ways through reducing overproducing,
decreasing food surplus, utilizing best practices, and educating workers on these best practices as
well. 85% of the around 6600 tons of waste that is produced each day by hospitals is not dangerous
or risky and is made up of recyclables items like plastic and compostable waste such as food.
Furthermore, it was found that almost all of the waste produced by restaurants can be reused as
compost or be reprocessed through recycling.

•85.7% checked at least two refrigerated
items when receiving refrigerated
foods(14.3% n/a)

The financial and environmental implications of food waste exemplify the importance for
minimizing food waste produced in various sites -- such as retail or hospital settings. Aramark’s
mission is to provide “experiences that enrich and nourish lives”. 11 Therefore, Aramark has created a
policy to help decrease the amount of food waste for their contracted sites. By creating a food waste
policy, Aramark is aiming to lower food waste costs. Showing potential contracted sites that Aramark
has a concise method to keep food cost down is very beneficial.

•100% inspected products upon delivery
for quality and accuracy


•42.9% discarded the damaged foods



•46.7% recorded the freezer
temperatures (53.3% n/a)

•77.3% collected food waste for

•100% used suggested serving utensils
listed in the recipe

•46.7% recorded the refrigerator
temperatures (40% n/a)

•100% documented food waste on the
food waste log during preparation

•85.7% used appropriate serving sizes
(4.8% n/a)

•100% kept the refrigerators and
freezers from being overstocked

•95.5% trimmed fruits, vegetables and
meats to maximize edible portions

•61.9% documented food supply for
each meal including leftovers

•66.7% discarded food into the

•100% followed written recipes, utilized
production sheets, documented servings
produced and labeled leftovers

•52.4% checked and documented
temperatures during service

•60% did not record the temperature of
the dry storage (40% n/a)
•93.3% disposed of dented and expired

•40.9% discarded food into the trash and
not the composting buckets

•71.4% discarded food into the trash and
not the composting buckets during

Overall, foodservice workers were compliant with Aramark food waste policies in the areas
of storage, preparation, serving and receiving
Non-compliance seen with foodservice workers not taking the dry storage temperatures, not
checking/documenting food temperatures during service and discarding food in composting
binds over trashcans
Ways to improve compliance
• Foodservice workers are trained and know the policies
• Management is enforcing the policies
• Goal setting and tracking food waste
Ways to improve study
• Conducting study at only one site
• Observing management enforce policies
• Performing a training for the employees on Aramark polices
• Interviewing individual foodservice workers on thoughts about food waste
Areas for further study
• Patient food waste
• Cafeteria food waste
• Educating nurses on assisting patients with menu selections
• Focusing on production food waste

This study was important because it assessed whether or not food service workers were
compliant to Aramark food waste policies at five different Aramark managed hospital food
service locations across the United States. On the whole, the food service workers were
compliant when receiving, storing, serving and preparing food items. Aramark is dedicated to
moving towards the goal of reducing food waste across all of its locations across the nation.
Doing this will require synchronized efforts from both management, food service workers and
hopefully customers as well. Hopefully, food waste reduction will be a trend that will only gain
importance with time. In the mean time, Aramark will prove to be a leader in this area and can
show others how to implement successful programs.


•100% followed FIFO (first in, first out)
For additional information, please contact:

Site A

How compliant are the foodservice workers at three geographically separate hospital food service
locations to Aramark food waste policies and guidelines?


•71.4% checked temperatures when
receiving freezer items (14.3% n/a)

Simultaneously, the food waste policy aids in decreasing the negative impact on the
environment. Protecting the environment has become an emerging trend within the past couple
years. Consequently, Aramark can demonstrate to potential contracted sites that they care about the
future of the environment and the communities they serve. However, as previously mentioned, there
can be a disconnect between food waste beliefs and the actual behaviors of the foodservice
employees. In order for Aramark’s policy to be effective, the food service worker’s need to be
following through with tracking the food waste daily.



25% did not check food
temperatures during
Not compliant with
recording dry storage
Not compliant with throwing
food in composting bins

Site B

Not compliant with
recording dry storage
Not compliant with
appropriate serving sizes
Not compliant with throwing
food in composting bins

Site C

50% did not label items
with receipt date
Not compliant with throwing
food in composting bins
50% did not check
temperature of food during

Site D

Not compliant with labeling
items with receipt date
Not compliant with throwing
away food in composting

Site E

Not compliant with
checking temperature of
frozen foods
Not compliant with
recording dry storage

Kate Callahan:
Seema Shah:
Mary Solheid:

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