After a show, your committee or hospitality chair gets the lovely task of cleaning out the dressing rooms, tossing any uneaten food, and restoring order to the backstage area.  As a former hospitality coordinator, I know that throwing out leftover food is devastating.  Follow these steps to reduce food waste from your shows:

1. Advance your hospitality thoroughly with the tour manager.

Ask for an updated rider to make sure you have the most recent hospitality list.  Specifically ask the tour manager if anything can be eliminated from the list in order to reduce waste.  

2. Offer a meal buyout.  

Instead of providing dinner, pay an agreed upon amount per person for the performers to obtain their own dinner.  You can even propose an entire buyout for all snacks and meals, but keep in mind you should still provide beverages such as water, coffee and assorted soft drinks.  

3. Order from menus.  

Instead of full catering, have plenty of runners available and provide local restaurant menus for artists and crew to order from.  That way you aren’t ordering more food than what is needed.

4. Return unused (packaged) food.  

If it wasn’t opened, you can return it and save the money!

5. Ask the artist to help.  

Place notecards in the dressing room asking the performers to assist you in reducing waste.  Many artists will gladly take the leftover food on their tour buses rather than see it go to waste.  Others will make sure they don’t open bags of snacks unless they plan to eat a good portion of them.

6. Donate any extra food.  

Drop off leftover items at your local food pantry or homeless shelter.  If you have fresh catered food and do not know how to donate it, try apps or organizations like Food Cowboy, Copia, or Rescuing Leftover Cuisine.  Check with your university catering department to see if they already have a local source to which they donate.  

7. Let your hungry committee partake.  

When I was a hospitality coordinator in college, I certainly reaped the benefits when it came to leftover food.  You’d be amazed how many friends you can make with a free tray of untouched taco dip in a bar!

8. Keep food fresh.  

Left out in room temperature air, the USDA suggests that you should throw out food after only 2 hours.  Even sitting over heat, caterers often have to throw out food after 3 hours.  Coolers, refrigerators, and ice can help food last longer.  The tour members can come back to it later, your committee can eat any leftovers, or you can donate the extra food.

Jolene Chevalier

Founder & Talent Buyer | How To Concerts

Jolene has been a middle buyer for over a decade, helping colleges and others with their concerts, comedians, and speakers. (And, yes, she is named after the Dolly Parton song.) She would love to talk with you about helping to book, plan, and prepare for your event.

920.764.1200   |   [email protected]

Jolene Chevalier

Founder & Talent Buyer | How To Concerts

Jolene has been a middle buyer for over a decade, helping colleges and others with their concerts, comedians, and speakers. (And, yes, she is named after the Dolly Parton song.) She would love to talk with you about helping to book, plan, and prepare for your event.

920.764.1200   |   [email protected]