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The City of Portland, Oregon

Sustainability at Work

Providing free tools and expertise to achieve your goals

Phone: 503-823-7037


Tips from ¿Por Qué No?

Staff making tortillas at ¿Por Qué No?

“From the very beginning, we prioritized sustainability,” said Brighid King, General Manager of ¿Por Qué No? Taqueria, which operates two locations in Portland and a catering business.

“We started with composting shortly after we opened in 2005. As we grew, we focused on preventing food waste.”

Getting consistent employee engagement is key for the taqueria. They seek employee feedback during monthly staff meetings, via paycheck inserts, via email, with voice mail memos and at the end of each shift. All their communication is done in both English and Spanish.

“It was because of this feedback we implemented some important changes that helped us prevent food waste,” said King.

“We invested in an extra freezer so we could save trim and leftovers to use for soup, stocks and sauces. We use visual guides to help staff portion meat and size tortillas. We switched to more expensive cuts of meat that require less trimming before cutting. All these ideas came from frontline employees.”

Staff at the register ask extra questions to ensure customers don’t return food because veggie orders were meant to be vegan. They also keep an eye on portion sizes. Line cooks receive quarterly bonuses if food costs are within that range.

“We pay our employees a livable wage and provide health insurance, we couldn’t do that if we wasted food,” King said.

Learn more

We want to hear from you! Have you found ways to reduce food waste? Email or give us a call at 503-823-7037.