Buffets are highly appealing to guests, but they are also one of the top generators of food waste. Food waste is a costly and serious environmental issue. If food waste was a country it would be the third largest generator of greenhouse gases, just behind the U.S. and China.
But, food waste also provides great opportunities for the hotel sector. A research found that for every $1 hotel invested in programs to reduce kitchen food waste, on average they saved $7 in operating costs. With simple changes, hotels can minimize the problem, help the environment and contribute to their margin at the same time.
Winnow develops digital tools to help chefs run a more sustainable, profitable kitchen by cutting food waste in half. Together, chefs and teams using Winnow in 39 countries are saving over 18 million meals and $25,000 per year. From our experience we have learned simple tips to help hotel operators strike a balance between reducing waste and ensuring guest satisfaction:
Estimate the number of daily guests – By using this information, kitchens can forecast production volumes more realistically.
Find out who your guests are – Learn about your guest’s demographics to help you adjust your offering. When there are fewer Asian guests, for example, production of commonly-wasted foods such as rice and congee can be reduced.
Make your buffets look full – Consider reducing the size or depth of your serving dishes, and invest in table decorations rather than displaying more food.
Add live stations to your buffet – Cook dishes with more perishable ingredients, such as omelet and pasta, at live stations during the services.
Encourage guests to waste less – Giving your guests smaller plates sends a subtle message to take less food at one go and to return for seconds if desired.
Invest in technology – Digital tools, such as Winnow, inform where, when and why food waste occurs helping chefs manage their food waste more effectively.
The buffet is here to stay, but we would encourage every hotel operator to look for ways to reduce food waste. It helps the hotels` bottom line and reduces their environmental footprint at the same time. If you’d like to learn more tips to make your kitchen profitable and sustainable, download this free guide with 14 easy and essential steps.