Thursday, 26 June 2014

KFC at closing time. Food waste, HS2 & Scottish Independence.


Last night after a night spent at a function and a day spent barely eating I was starving and decided at 10.45pm to call in at a KFC not too far from where I live. I assumed the Drive-Thru part of this place was closed as there were huge industrial bins blocking the entrance to it. So I pulled onto the nearly empty car park where the only other beings were a middle-aged man in a small white Vauxhall Corsa, who was fidgety as though he had lost something and a couple of teenagers in a shitty Peugeot 106 which sounded like it had a massive hole in the exhaust. Needless to say I took down my satnav (which had tried to take me down a closed road on my way home and then decided to take me on a ten minute detour so was not in my good books) and I headed inside.
On entering the “restaurant” I noticed that there was a small queue consisting of two drunk men, one of them was clearly Scottish and was reading the menu out-loud to himself, the other was from Manchester and was ordering his food while getting confused when the woman serving him was trying to explain that his order would be cheaper as a meal rather than as separate items. Eventually she gave up confusing him and just put his order through. The Scottish bloke was mumbling something about deep fried Mars bars before ordering. The Manc then turned to me “Do you work here?” “No” I replied before a few moments of silence. He then turned to me again “you know they throw all the already cooked stuff away, right? Into those big bins and they’ve got padlocks on so no one can steal it. Why don’t they just give it away for free? Or give it to a homeless shelter?” This drunkard lunatic had a point. I took a second to think and replied, “its stupid isn’t it? There are hungry people worldwide who are crying out for some MSG” (Monosodium glutamate, if you don’t know what it is look it up, its not good). He looked puzzled, he wasn’t sure if I was being sarcastic or not so I decided to jump back in with a less cocky response “Surely it wouldn’t hurt them to give it to homeless people. Wouldn’t cost them anything to do it, would it?” He nodded, realizing we were on the same page.
By this time the Scottish bloke and finally got through to the woman behind the counter, I felt sorry for her as I couldn’t understand much of what he was saying, it was though he was speaking some sort of foreign language with the odd English word chucked in. It was my time to order, which I did more elegantly than the drunks before me, I paid and all that was left for me to do was stand around with these drunks until our orders were complete. It never occurred to me at the time what a Jock (colloquial term for a man from Scotland not a teenage American boy who was into sports) and a Manc were doing in the middle of England on a Wednesday night but looking back it was sort of peculiar, I assume that they were here on some sort of work although in the current climate that in itself also seems a little odd as this area isn’t a hotspot for work.
The Manc who ordered first got his big bag of food and stood away from the till distracting a KFC employee who was trying to mop the floor, still going on about them wasting food while also trying to score freebees. The Scottish bloke then got his slightly smaller bag of food and was just waiting on his Coke, which he repeatedly harassed the woman who took his order about, but she was either ignoring him or didn’t understand a slurred word he was saying. “Ess’cuse me love? Wha aboot mee coke? Missy? Yee’d be a shite drug dealer, I jus want me coke.” My order then came as well as the drink I ordered while the woman then explained to the man that he never ordered a drink in the first place. I exited as he fumbled round in his pocket for some change to buy a coke.
I got in my car, checked my phone and started my engine. I pulled off and as I turned out of the car park I noticed the two men walking towards the town, I remember thinking they must have sprinted out of the store to be ahead of me. I then pulled up at a red light, I could see the two men in my rearview mirror walking along the path in the same direction in which I had just come. They seemed to be wondering the streets with no direction just enjoying what was a mild night while enjoying their genetically modified mutant fried chicken. Carefree full stomached fools of the night.
I drove off and all I could think about was the food waste from that particular KFC that night, damn drunk Manc got in my head. So I decided to look up KFC’s food waste policy and after a quick Google search I found a statement on their own website which read:
We work hard to minimise the volume of food waste our restaurants generate and in 2014, some of our restaurants will pilot a food reuse scheme that safely distributes unused cooked food to local charities. We will work through the operational and health and safety hurdles of the pilot in partnership with Harvest, they have successfully helped us to implement similar schemes with KFC in the US and are also testing with KFC France. We will report progress in the next CSR update.
From January 2014, 80% of all food waste from back of house areas in Scotland will be recycled via Anaerobic Digestion. Our plan is to roll-out back of house food waste recycling to all other restaurants throughout 2014. We will report progress on this scheme in the next CSR update.
Food waste in Scotland
In line with the requirements of the Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012, we will:
  • Minimise food waste and exceed voluntary targets currently requiring that at least 70% is reused, recycled or composted, and none is sent to landfill. Our own target is at least 80%.
  • Provide effective education and publicity about waste and recycling.
One requirement is to provide collection points in our restaurants for customers to dispose of food waste. We are currently trialling ways for customers to recycle rubbish, and the solution we choose will ensure the maximum amount of rubbish is recycled.”

Seems like Scotland have got something right, so if they can do this for some restaurants in England why not all? They are after all doing this in Scotland (80% of at least and I’m guessing there are some bits that aren’t fit for human consumption which I’m guessing is that other 20%).  Then it dawned on me the later part of that statement, The Scottish government have put regulations in place to stop unnecessary waste while the English government are busy planning a railway line from London to Manchester that will only benefit people going to/from London, Birmingham and Leeds. Which believe it or not there are trains that already do that on existing lines (just a little slower than the proposed HS2, and never mind that traveling across the country is a nightmare as the lines that used to run from east midlands to west midlands have been closed since I can remember, which if reopened would surely benefit the country and be cheaper than building a new unnecessary railway).
So props to Scotland in addressing another real life issue as they’ve previously done with university fees rather than the bullshit English government worrying about how fast yuppies can travel the length of the country. Jesus, no wonder they want to be independent.