Restaurant Rescue Week to highlight eateries fighting food waste

Restaurant Rescue Week is all about reducing food waste.

If New York City Restaurant Week is for foodies, this restaurant week is for do-gooders.

From Oct. 9 to 16, the first-ever Restaurant Rescue Week will highlight eateries across the country donating their excess food to soup kitchens and homeless shelters through partnerships with anti-food waste organizations.

“We eat three times a day and if we’re going to be eating out, why not choose a restaurant that’s doing something to fight food waste and help communities at the same time?” said Rescuing Leftover Cuisine CEO Robert Lee, whose Financial District-based nonprofit is organizing the initiative in cities where it coordinates volunteer deliveries of leftovers from restaurants to food pantries. 

“This should be an easy way for consumers to use their spending power to support restaurants that do this and show other restaurants that they can do the same thing.”

Participating restaurants in New York City include major chains like Dig Inn and Pret a Manger; mom-and-pop operations like Upper West Side bakery Mille-Feuille and SoHo’s Baz Bagel and Restaurant; upscale eateries like Vinegar Hill House and new Astoria smokehouse Salt & Bone; and foodie destinations like Black Seed Bagels and Queens Comfort.

They’ll be offering customers five to 10 percent discounts the week of Oct. 9, Lee said.

Diners are invited to sign an online pledge to fight food waste in advance and nudge their favorite restaurant to join in the promotion.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 30 to 40 percent of the nation’s food supply goes to waste. In 2014, the agency categorized roughly 1.4 million New Yorkers as “food insecure,” or lacking access to enough food for a healthy and active life.

Nicole Levy