Faced with too much food in a restaurant, diners will normally do one of three things: eat more than they should, take a bag home with them, or waste perfectly good nourishment. About 40% of all food in the U.S. is wasted.
The idea behind Halfsies is that participating restaurant-goers are only served a dish that is half the size of the normal menu items, and that the remaining value in the dish is put to a better purpose. What restaurants don’t put on the table, they donate as cash to groups working on food insecurity, homelessness, and hunger.
Set up by four friends from Austin, Texas, Halfies is currently signing up restaurants, starting with their home town. It is building software that restaurants can integrate into their POS systems for easy ordering. And it aims to launch in the Spring, before moving on to New York later in the year.
Halfies still needs to work out the exact details of the split with the restaurants, and how different types of meals will be treated. But spokesperson Linsey McNew says about 60% of proceeds will go to local charities, 30% to international groups, and 5% to 10% to run the organization. The aim is to highlight food-related problems, like over-eating and obesity, food waste, the cost of waste disposal, and global hunger.
McNew insists that the program is not itself a comment on restaurant portioning, and the restaurants will lose nothing by offering the option on their menu. The important thing is that Halfsies is a choice.
“If restaurants are being generous, there are people who want to take advantage of that generosity,” she says. “But there will be other people who won’t, and will want to have an alternative so they can give back, while also enjoying their meals.”