Tech

This Is What Tech Companies Do With Leftover Free Food

Silicon Valley companies offer their employees an enormous amount of free catered meals. This is what they do to prevent food waste.

1. Google

Google’s offices in Mountain View and Sunnyvale work with a program called Chefs to End Hunger. In Mountain View alone, Google has more than 39 cafes. The food goes to an East Bay nonprofit called Hope for the Heart, which distributes food to soup kitchens and the like. “Most of our food goes to a transitional homeless housing center in Oakland where residents do the finish food prep and participate in meals,” a Google spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. In the next month, a “large number” of Google’s chefs will work at shelters “to further help them understand the importance of what they are doing.” In order to minimize potential waste, Google kitchens around the globe use a tool called LeanPath.

2. Twitter

Twitter donates both catered and boxed food to Food Runners San Francisco, a non-profit that relays more than 5,000 meals a day in the city through a network of volunteers. The program was initiated by Bon Appetit Management Company, an established corporate caterer that manages on-site restaurants for other Bay Area tech offices as well, including PayPal, Oracle, Adobe. Twitter told BuzzFeed News that the program to donate started at its old office on Folsom Street and that it donates from all of its cafes at its Mid-Market headquarters.

3. Dropbox

At its San Francisco headquarters, Dropbox’s in house food programs serves more than 1,000 people everyday. The company does not participate in a regular food-recovery program but a spokesperson said leftovers were “repurposed into other food items” and put into “pizza toppings or soup ingredients.” The spokesperson said Dropbox makes a lot of its food to-order and “definitely very organized of minimizing waste and making sure we find ways of incorporating leftovers.” As for Dropbox’s popular sushi offerings, the spokesperson pointed out that the kitchen uses salmon bellies from fish for other dishes for its sashimi rolls. During the holidays, Dropbox works with San Francisco City Impact, which collects perishables from the company’s Soma headquarters.

4. Uber

Nitasha Tiku / BuzzFeed News

Uber uses catering company in the Bay Area that partners with Food Runners.

5. Airbnb

Airbnb has worked with Food Runners San Francisco for two years. A spokesperson for told BuzzFeed News that for one Friday a month for the past two years, “a team of volunteers bring donated surplus food to Larkin Street Youth Services, where the team heats and serves the food for the people there.” Airbnb partnered with Food Shift, a non-profit focused on reducing food waste for its employee conference called One Airbnb. The short-term rental company also works with Food Shift to educate its employees. The spokesperson also mentioned that Airbnb sponsors interns from CHEFS, a program to help homeless people learn kitchen and culinary skills and has “employed some of the interns afterwards.”

6. LinkedIn

LinkedIn partners with Food Runners to donate unused food its offices in Mountain View, Sunnyvale and San Francisco on a daily basis. A spokesperson told BuzzFeed News: “We’re mindful not to waste food, and make every effort to prepare close to the right amount of food each day, so there is generally not an excessive amount of food donated to this program.”

7. Genentech

Genentech donates excess food from its cafes and “Grab & Gos” kiosks.The company has partnerships with several food banks: Peninsula Food Runners, Chefs to End Hunger, and the Latino Commission, which pick up from its South San Francisco multiple times a week. Genentech also donated money to Food Runners of San Francisco to fund a full-time bike courier for the year. “The bike courier was particularly exciting for us because it enabled food runners to access parts of San Francisco that were previously difficult to access,” a spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. Since 2013, Genentech has provided more than $1.3 million in funding for programs that address hunger in the Bay Area.

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Nitasha Tiku is a senior writer for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco.
Contact Nitasha Tiku at nitasha.tiku@buzzfeed.com.
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