The job of a restaurant consultant is to steward the business to success and profitability. Veterans of the hospitality industry come in and offer plans, advice, training and support for improving all aspects of the operation, from the menu to staffing to ambiance to marketing. The word is, the first thing these guys do when they walk into the kitchen is look into the garbage. All of your money is in the trashcan, they say. Whatever ingredients and parts and refuse you throw out could be the start of the next great innovation or income stream for your restaurant.
DIRTY WORK — Turning one company's trash into another one's treasure
The restaurant business alone is a perfect case study of this premise. Scores of new companies are spinning significant profits out of food waste by creating new products, secondary markets and entirely new industries. There’s even a digital marketplace where retailers can post a list of their products about to be thrown out, giving users a menu to peruse. Who knew the trash can would become a platform for commerce? The best part is, your organization doesn’t have to sell perishable goods to learn something from this phenomenon. Because every business has their version of food waste. Every company has some kind of surplus, be it intellectual, energetic or creative. And if they want to keep doing innovative work, then they might try taking a second look at the kinds of things the team throws in the trash.
Dirty work resonates with me deeply, as my entire career came from looking into a trashcan full of nametags and deciding to keep mine on. This is precisely where innovation lives. Inside of the things that most people leave behind. Every trashcan is a collection of ideas that people gave up on or said no to. Ideas that nobody took a second look at and wondered what else they might become.
The word trash comes from the term tros, which translates to, fallen leaves and twigs. Which are the two most flammable pieces of tinder the forest has to offer. What if you turned your trash into somebody else’s treasure?
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