WIT Press

The South African quick service restaurant industry and the wasteful company it keeps


Free (open access)


Volume 15 (2020), Issue 1



Page Range

57 - 68

Paper DOI



WIT Press


Nadene Marx-Pienaar, Gerrie Du Rand, Hennie Fisher & Annemarie Viljoen


Despite a tough South African (SA) economic climate, consumers are demanding broader menus, wider selections and faster food. With the sudden surge in the SA quick service industry, efficient supply chain management is pivotal for a sustainable food system. recent estimates suggest that between one third to half of all food produced never reach the human stomach. In SA alone, annual food waste is estimated at R61.5 billion (current exchange rate R14.39 = $1). With an average of 11 million people (almost a quarter of the population) going to bed hungry every night, addressing food wastage in SA has become a matter of great urgency. unfortunately, information pertaining to food waste in SA tends to be limited. This study aimed at alleviating the knowledge deficit regarding food waste in the quick service restaurant (QSR) industry, focussing specifically on identifying critical areas of concern with possible mitigating strategies. The methodology involved two phases: Phase one entailed a material flow analysis that entailed a waste audit of a key QSR supply chain that documented practices and managerial protocols, which could contribute towards unnecessary wastage. Phase two involved interviewing QSR  managers, which allowed identifying possible mitigating strategies. results  revealed that production, distribution and packaging (and secondary packaging in particular) warrants attention. however, in terms of human resources, findings also accentuated consumers’, managers’, and employ- ees’ general awareness of food waste as worrisome.


Consumer behaviour, developing economy, emerging context, fast foods, food waste, quick service restaurant (QSR), South Africa, supply chain.