The Ridiculous Form That Shows How Much Food McDonald's Wastes

It's no doubt that food insecurity is a major problem in the United States — and with the high amount of food being wasted on the regular, it's not getting any better. As much as 40% of America's food is thrown away each year, totaling 119 billion pounds and a monetary loss of $408 billion. As you may have expected, this is a sizable issue in the restaurant industry; according to a 2023 study, 40% of all food waste comes from the restaurant, grocery store, and food service industries. In the restaurant business alone, $162 billion is spent per year on food waste-related costs.

McDonald's isn't exempt from the matter. On Reddit, a user revealed one of the things McDonald's employees wish you knew: The fast food chain wastes so much food that a lengthy "waste sheet" form must be completed multiple times a day to track how much money the company is losing. A few of the included costs were cheeseburgers at $0.45, Big Macs at $0.87, and bacon double quarter pounders at $2.19. Though this large amount of waste can likely be attributed to corporate standards, employees of the burger joint aren't happy with the losses.

Customers feel McDonald's should be donating food

Both employees and customers of McDonald's expressed on Reddit their discontent with the amount of food thrown away. "I can't believe that a company as large as McDonald's doesn't donate extra food to the homeless or domestic violence shelters in areas close to their stores," one customer said. This practice could lend a hand in feeding the 34 million Americans who go hungry each year. On the other hand, one employee felt it was unfair that food had to be thrown out rather than given to workers at the end of the night. "So waste is better than [a] minimum wage [worker] taking home garbage food?" they asked.

Apparently, many restaurants fear a potential lawsuit associated with donating food. The concern is that if leftover food makes anyone sick, they could file a claim against the fast food brand. However, as of 2016, this has never occurred, and even if it did, the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act waves restaurants of liability in the event of an issue related to donated food. McDonald's isn't completely in the wrong, however. At the height of the pandemic, McDonald's partnered with Food Donation Connection to donate nine million pounds of food that the company said, somewhat ironically, "otherwise might've gone to waste."