Food waste is a huge concern for hotels across the world, not just in the UK. Specialist environmental groups such as the Green Hotelier and WRAP are coming together to produce guides for hotels on dealing with their waste. It’s thought that around 1.3 billion tonnes of food waste is wasted every year, which combined, is the world’s third-largest emitter of CO2. What’s worse is that rotting food creates methane, which has 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.
In the UK as a whole, we waste around 79,000 tonnes of food each year; only 43% of all hotel food waste is recycled.
Reducing food waste
A certain amount of food waste is inevitable and includes hard stalks, coffee grounds, tea leaves etc. A lot of food is also wasted because it is past its sell-by date. There is also a significant amount of food that’s spoilt in the preparation process, and food that customers don’t eat – a third of waste food in hotels is down to plate waste.
Sometimes reducing waste can be extremely simple, e.g. leaving the skin on chips and roast potatoes, making soup from leftovers, or providing diners with doggy bags which would not only reduce the amount of food wasted but also reduce your own costs of disposing of all that waste.
The best way to work out how much food your hotel is wasting and to work out where this is happening is to do an audit. Measure your food waste for a trial period, using three bins to show what was wasted in preparation, spoilage and plate waste. It will have the added bonus of enabling you to work out how much money you’re wasting through unnecessary wastage, as well as calculate how much each kind of waste is costing.
Turn waste reduction into profits
If you discover that it’s one type of food that tends to be left on the plate, you could eliminate waste by either reducing the amount your chefs put on the plate, or not serving it at all, thus saving money.
And if diners are leaving a lot on their plates, it’s time to reduce portion sizes. You could even turn the smaller portion sizes into an upselling opportunity, with larger sized dishes available for an extra cost.
If you are concerned about any aspect of waste from your hotel, contact us to discuss the options available.