The food as it is presented at many dining establishments, particularly those of an Asian flavor, often have the meat resting on top of a layer of shredded cabbage or lettuce. There is a purpose to this not related to taking up plate area so it appears as if the customer is getting a huge pile of food. The shredded veggies serves to lift the meat up off the plate or serving dish, allowing the oil and grease from the cooking process to drain and remain below the portion.
Typically I do not care for the great amount of waste that accompanies food at the retail or restaurant level. That’s because I’m frugal (not meaning cheap, I want to use what I get). I have a greater problem with the amount of square tonnage of parsley wasted every year. Some eateries however prove to be the exception to the rule. For example this awesome BBQ Teriyaki chicken.
Without the meat being suspended it would float in a pool of rapidly congealing fat. Some people consume the oil-soaked greenery and while incredibly delicious, it is not good for you in the long run. So using shredded vegetables is frugal and sensible even though it usually ends up in the trash. An alternative which would add to overhead costs would be to use a layered plastic mesh or grate of some sort to suspend the meat. This would require cleaning and the mesh or grate would not only resist attempts to be fully sanitized but would degrade over time and bits would be consumed by the patron during the course of the meal.