The EU-28’s food service sector generates excessive amounts of food waste. This notwithstanding, no comparative, cross-national research has ever been undertaken to understand how food waste is managed in restaurants across the EU-28. This study contributes to knowledge by presenting a first attempt to conduct a comparative analysis of restaurant food waste management practices in the UK and the Netherlands. It finds that although restaurateurs in both countries use demand forecasting as a prime approach to prevent food waste, forecasting does not always work. When this happens, food waste management programmes such as repurposing excess foodstuffs, redistribution of surplus food and consumer choice architecture are mostly considered commercially unviable. To improve the effectiveness of food waste management in the food service sectors of the UK and the Netherlands it is necessary to ensure that food waste mitigation becomes a corporate target for restaurateurs and the progress towards its achievement is regularly monitored by top management. This corporate commitment should be facilitated by national policy-makers, but also by EU regulators, by raising consumer awareness of food waste, incentivising surplus food redistribution and enabling food waste recycling.