Reducing Food Waste in the Restaurant Industry

WINTER 2016 — I took part in the Accenture Innovation Challenge and the World Wildlife Fund in a team of 3 to conceptualize our vision of using mobile technology to reduce food waste in the restaurant industry.

In order to combat food waste, we developed Bamboo. Bamboo is a mobile platform in which restaurants can notify local customers of leftover and excess prepared food that they are willing to sell at a discounted rate at the end of a business day.

2016 Accenture Innovation Challenge Semi-Finalist.

01 Approach

Problem Statement

World Wildlife Fund supports the USDA and EPA’s Food Waste Reduction Goal, which aims to reduce food waste by 50% by 2030.

Food waste has environmental and humanitarian implications, hurting both the environment and people. Food production is responsible for 1/3 of all greenhouse gas emissions. World needs at least 50% more food by 2050 to feed 9 billion people. 84% of food waste is disposed of. [Source: 2014 BSR paper prepared for the Food Waste Reduction Alliance]

Idea Generation

1. Inbound Logistics
Source locally
Source reduction via improved analytics
Encourage more efficient shipping practices (vacuum-seal)

2. Food Preparation
Avoid over-trimming meats/vegetables
Develop storage system to maximize shelf life

3. Post-Preparation
Smaller portions to reduce waste
Repurpose left-overs (jams, canned goods)
Sell/donate extra prepared food

Out of the 3 potential areas of food production, post-production offers the biggest opportunity for innovation.

02 Bamboo


Bamboo is an app that allows restaurants to alert customers in the area that they have excess food available at a discount at the end of a business day

Business Model

College students have the buying power to sustain Bamboo: We would like to launch Bamboo at selected colleges aimed at reducing Boston’s annual 4 million pounds of food waste.


1. WWF
Receives 2.5% transaction fee
Increases publicity/funding surrounding outreach efforts

2. Restaurants
Recover revenue lost from excess production
Increase business and publicity

3. Customers
Aimed at college students
Have a new option for affordable food

4. Global Community
Reduces food waste Moves towards maximizing food utility

03 Result


I conceptualized the idea for a mobile service to reduce food waste, and designed the mockups and vision for the app.


We pitched the idea to Accenture consultants, and qualified for Round 3, the Semi-Final round, out of 200+ teams. We were invited to interview for an Consulting Analyst internship following the challenge.


Kevin Shum, Ellie Klose & Xiaoxi Wang

We also collaborated with various Accenture consultants who offered advice and guidance throughout the challenge.


Case Study
Market Research