A charity initiative is calling on London restaurants and hotels to donate leftover food to the capital's needy.
The scheme, entitled Plan Zheroes, uses an online map to match restaurants and hotels as well as supermarkets and grocers offering surplus food with charities able to distribute it. It was launched by Lotti Henley of the London Sustainable Development Commission at City Hall last week and has funding from the RSA.
So far 50 charities have signed up, while operators who have expressed an interest in getting involved include the Dorchester and Millennium Hotels as well as bakery chain Paul and healthy fast food group Eat.
Plan Zheroes project director Chris Wilkie told CatererandHotelkeeper.com he hoped that more companies would get involved. "Lots of catering companies, restaurants and hotels have surplus food at the end of the day and managers aren't aware that there is a solution," he said.
When asked whether there were any health and safety issues operators had to be aware of, Wilkie said: "There's a huge misconception that it's illegal to give away leftover food but this is a complete non-issue. The charity picking up the food signs an agreement and takes full responsibility for it once it has been handed over and usually it is eaten within a few hours."
The Dorchester hotel's executive chef Henry Brosi said he hoped to be able to work with Plan Zheroes and give something back to the community.
"Catering for the right numbers is an art at the Dorchester so we have only a fractional amount of waste; however in our busiest banqueting season, we might be able to provide food for 20 people in one week. We hope to support this worthwhile initiative with this contribution," he said.
Operators hoping to get involved in the scheme can register on the interactive map on the Plan Zheroes website, stating the kind of food they are able to offer and how often. One of the local charities will then get in touch about distributing the food.
By Kerstin Kühn
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