While in New York, I noticed a sign within the UK sandwich and coffee chain Pret A Manger donates its leftover food at the end of the day to those less fortunate at the end of the day. What a great idea!
According to a recent study, up to 40% of the food produced in the US is wasted each year; a 2012 Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) report cites the USDA’s statistic that 19% of the total US retail-level food supply was lost in 2008. Imagine what could be done with this 86 billion pounds of prepared food – quite a lot, when you think about it.
- What kind of incentives could be offered to create a habit of social consciousness where other restaurants follow suit instead of having Pret A Manger as one outstanding example?
- What – since there would be some – risks involved?
- Who would sponsor or support such an effort to offer incentives to restaurants – or would this defeat in creating a infrastructure to sponsor these types of efforts?
Pret A Manger seems to have a different philosophy about how they treat their customers and how they motivate employees – as this 2011 New York Times article describes. More than selling sandwiches, Pret A Manger seems to be disseminating a different message than most fast food or coffee chains: they have heart and, since they can put in the extra effort to give back to lessen waste while helping others, why not?
But is it in their corporate culture, or do they do it because of the positive reverberations back to their company? It seems that the positive press, highly motivating atmosphere and generous values has a way of paying back much more than the initial effort Pret A Manger invested. Whatever the motivation, their food donation benefits the company and the common good. Pret A Manger should be applauded in their efforts which show that charity and generosity do pay off.
Now, how could social marketing use this example to influence other for-profit restaurants to follow suit?