Young and Hungry

Fast Food: Haste Makes Waste

Chain burger joints in dense Adams Morgan are hopping all day long, and often well into the night.

So what happens to all those burgers and fries and crispy apple pies after the doors close?

"We just waste it," says Troy Bright, the manager of the McDonald's at Columbia Road and 18th Street NW.

Well, what about feeding the homeless? "I can't give it out. It's a strict corporate policy," says Bright. The franchise does try to slow down its cooking in the late hours, but it often ends up with a fair amount of leftovers, which it drops into a Dumpster in an alcove out back.

The Burger King outlet just around the corner—well, it has the same policy about midnight freebies: "We have to throw it away because sometimes the food goes bad and we can't make someone sick," says manager Noemi Benetez.

But credit BK with a taking something of a cue from, well, a normal, good restaurant. "After 10 pm we cook to order, which minimizes the waste—plus people get good food," says Benetez.

Reporting by Ted Scheinman

...