The Everglades Hotel is part of Hastings Hotel Group, the largest independent hotel group in Northern Ireland. Through participation in a food waste reduction project, together with its sister hotel Ballygally Castle, early in 2018, the resultant reduction measures led to a 4% increase in food profitability. This is encouraging the five other hotels in the collection to adopt the same process.
– Understanding the type of food being wasted was crucial to enable a change in practices.The tracking tools available at Guardians Of Grub allowed the hotel to identify a trend of what food was not consumed on a daily basis.
– Before their involvement in the project, significant wastage was noticeable at all meal times. Large amounts of bread and eggs were being wasted at breakfast while salads, crisps and potatoes were readily thrown away at lunchtime and vegetables and potatoes during evening meals.
– Since the introduction of the food waste measurement project, the hotel has trained front-of-house staff to ask customers about portion preferences and have adapted their portions, resulting in a noticeable reduction in customer plate.
– Before the food waste measurement project, food waste was almost considered a ‘necessary evil’. Wastefulness was common across all meal times, but the hotel did not really know how to go about instilling change in practices.
– The tracking tools were beneficial in translating food waste data into a financial cost, illustrating the root causes of the problem to kitchen and serving staff.
“The tracking tools have really opened our eyes to the scale of the plate waste problem at meal times. In particular, the tools have helped focus our attention on the dishes that were wasted day in, day out, so that we could address portion control and unnecessary wasteful practices. This together with sustained engagement from staff has helped us make a real difference. We now hope to roll out these practices across the rest of the hotel group.”
General Manager, Everglades Hotel
– The Everglades Hotel provide a wide range of services attracting customers from all over the world, so catering for food expectations is difficult. Food is wasted across a number mealtimes as well as galas, tours, rooms service and buffets. After the first week of measurement, the hotel provided a total of 831 covers, each generating on average of 231g of food waste, translating to a cost of 41p per cover, which was unacceptable for hotel management.
– Initially, it was hard encouraging 80+ staff to measure the food waste across all meal times, particularly breakfast time, placing different food wastes in different containers. But as soon as it became normal practice, there was little reticence from kitchen or serving staff. Explaining the environmental and financial benefits of reducing food waste were the primary drivers for instilling change.
– Armed with the information as to the origin of food waste, portion sizes have been adjusted and there is now reduced provision of salads, garnishes, potatoes, vegetables and breads at breakfast. Staff now ask customers about their preferences for side dishes, and are now really bought into the project.
– Staff engagement has been extremely positive without any noticeable impact on the quality of service or the culinary experience provided to customers.
– Seeing the difference small food waste reduction measures can make over a longer period really helps to visualise impact.
– Savings are in the region of 2-4% on food profitability in the weeks following the project.
WHAT WE’RE DOING NEXT
We are confident we are making positive progress in addressing plate waste. We will continue to measure food waste and our next step is looking at reducing wastage at the food preparation stage. We are now implanting this practice across our other five hotels in the group. Simply put, it makes good business sense!