SUMMIT SPONSOR: Living Out Chick-fil-A's Commitment to Stewardship Through Food Waste Diversion


SUMMIT SPONSOR: Living Out Chick-fil-A's Commitment to Stewardship Through Food Waste Diversion

by: Dawn Rhodes

May 22, 2024

This is part of our Summit Sponsor Series, which features articles written by sponsors of the ReFED Food Waste Solutions Summit about the food waste work they are doing. All views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of ReFED.

Growing up in a thrifty family, I learned early on the importance of not wasting anything, especially food. To prevent waste at home, cooking creatively with leftover ingredients was a frequent household practice, and I also learned at a young age how to manage our family's compost pile. Today, I encourage these practices with my own children—and I still love my backyard compost system and watching the process of turning food scraps into "black gold."

In my current role on the sustainability team at Chick-fil-A, Inc., I know the tremendous opportunity the restaurant industry has to reduce and divert food waste at scale, including donating surplus food to provide meals to those in need and composting kitchen scraps. My job is to help empower local Chick-fil-A® Owner-Operators spanning more than 3,000 restaurants across the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Canada to reduce their food waste and have a positive impact in their local communities. Our company has a collective 2025 corporate social responsibility goal to divert more than 25 million pounds of food waste from landfills, and I'm deeply encouraged by the support from senior company leaders, as well as the enthusiasm and creativity shown by local Owner-Operators and Team Members, to be part of the food waste solution.

Some examples of this commitment in action are through the Chick-fil-A Shared Table® food donation program, which bridges the gap between restaurants with surplus food and local nonprofits, like shelters and soup kitchens. Chick-fil-A Shared Table helps local Chick-fil-A Owner-Operators ensure that their surplus chicken, eggs, biscuits, and other food items can be used to help feed those in need. The community partners turn their surplus food donations into creative meals, like "Sweet & Sour Nuggets" and "Nashville Hot Chicken." In fact, we even published a cookbook, "Extra Helpings," to share some of the creative recipes and amazing stories from community organizations that partner with Chick-fil-A restaurants. To date, we've been able to help generate more than 25 million meals for the community through this program.

Additionally, across the chain, momentum continues for developing and increasing composting infrastructure. Compost from our restaurants is sometimes used to beautify the garden beds that surround our properties. And in areas that don't yet have the infrastructure, we are often able to divert food waste from landfill in other resourceful ways. For example, some Chick-fil-A restaurants utilize an aerobic digester while a restaurant in Puerto Rico donates lettuce scraps to a local manatee conservation center.

Food waste is a global issue, but thoughtful hyperlocal solutions can have remarkable community impact. Chick-fil-A's Corporate Purpose encourages us to exercise good stewardship while also having a positive impact, and helping others understand this local community aspect has been one of the key lessons I've learned along my food waste journey. People care more deeply when they personally understand the issue and engage in the solution. Local Owner-Operators and Team Members become more motivated when they have the opportunity to tour their Chick-fil-A Shared Table partner's facility or visit the local compost operation to see the scope and scale of the impact it has on their community. Educating others on the local impact is key in fighting food waste, and I am inspired by the opportunity Chick-fil-A has to help drive change.

To learn more about Chick-fil-A's efforts to divert food waste from landfills and other corporate social responsibility initiatives, visit

ReFED is a national nonprofit working to end food loss and waste across the food system by advancing data-driven solutions to the problem. ReFED leverages data and insights to highlight supply chain inefficiencies and economic opportunities; mobilizes and connects people to take targeted action; and catalyzes capital to spur innovation and scale high-impact initiatives. ReFED’s goal is a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive food system that optimizes environmental resources, minimizes climate impacts, and makes the best use of the food we grow.

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