Dunkin's 'wasteful' food policy sends TikTok into an uproar: 'This hurt me'

Morgan Greenwald
·3 min read

Have you ever wondered what happens to all the unsold and unconsumed food at Dunkin’ at the end of the day?

Sadly, the company doesn’t donate the food or even give it away to customers. Rather, according to one employee, it actually instructs its workers to throw everything away.

Dunkin’ employee Bryan Johnston uses his TikTok platform to showcase a day in the life of a Dunkin’ worker. Some of the 16-year-old’s most viral videos involve him throwing away more than 300 donuts right before closing, even though they’re still perfectly edible.

“We throw out so much food at the end of the day,” Johnston said in one video. “I do get to bring some [donuts] home if I want to, but this is just the routine I have to follow.”

Naturally, Johnston’s closing routine has TikTok users shocked and appalled.

“Give them to the homeless. This is a waste,” one person said.

“There [are] people suffering give it to them,” another reiterated.

“This hurt me for many reasons,” a third added.

Johnston has seen all of the comments on his videos. They have motivated him to try and do everything he can to donate the food rather than waste it, though company policy makes this easier said than done.

“What I have been told about the policy from my manager is that we (the workers) are allowed to take the donuts before we trash them, but we would have to take them in a discreet bag or box that doesn’t have the company’s logo on it,” Johnston explained to In The Know. “That way if we decide to give them out or to the homeless, the company cannot get sued.”

“However, that was a while ago … and [the rules] seem to change a lot,” he continued. “Even though I technically could take the donuts to the homeless, I legally can’t give [them] to shelters unless the company allows it (which they don’t).”

Many restaurants refuse to donate leftover food because they’re afraid of getting sued. However, according to the Huffington Post, the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act protects restaurants from civil and criminal liability in the case of illness related to donated food. The only time a restaurant is culpable is because of gross negligence or intentional misconduct.

Though one 16-year-old employee likely won’t be able to change an entire company’s policy on donating food, Johnston still plans on doing everything he can to make a small difference.

“I still find myself distraught by how much waste [there is] and I’m willing to break the rules every once in a while,” he said. “I definitely see myself giving [the food] away more! My next plan is to give it to health care workers.”

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