a table with a large bar

Five Ways to Avoid
Food Waste

Many hotels and resorts are taking innovative approaches to minimizing food waste, from tracking and weighing leftovers and trash to engineering their menus to modify or eliminate low performers. With the hospitality industry a big contributor to the more than a billion tons of food waste that winds up in the trash every year (that’s according to two university studies) – here are a few more tips to control what ends up in the trash.

Hotels Magazine: January/February 2020

Food waste is a major global issue, and recent research has identified the tourism and hospitality industry as one of the largest contributors. About 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or goes to waste annually, according to studies from the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Southern California researchers. That’s equivalent to one-third of all food intended for human consumption.

That’s why chefs, restaurant GMs and F&B teams were challenged to get more creative in planning their menus. Instead of tossing what would typically be viewed as garbage, chefs were tasked with finding new uses for it. That could include creating oils, syrups, powders or salts for dishes, or creating menu items that cross-utilize ingredients.

Sometimes menu items aren’t as popular as initially thought. Jennifer West, corporate director of operations for South Carolina based Charlestowne Hotels, points to a cheesecake served in one of the management company’s hotels that wasn’t a big seller, so half a cake was thrown away a week.

“That caused us to look for ways to revamp it by maybe making a smaller cheesecake or individually portioned servings,” she says.

Many hotels and resorts are taking innovative approaches to minimizing food waste, from tracking and weighing leftovers and trash to engineering their menus to modify or eliminate low performers. With the hospitality industry a big contributor to the more than a billion tons of food waste that winds up in the trash every year (that’s according to two university studies) – here are a few more tips to control what ends up in the trash.

1. Stay in season: Planning menus around what’s in season means these foods are easily available and more likely to be in higher demand with guests, says jW Foster, executive chef at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel.

2. Don’t over-order: “The more food coming into the restaurant, the more waste there is going to be,” says Jay Minckler, executive chef of The Colgate Inn. Check your logs. If you’re throwing away too many clams, perhaps you’re ordering more than you need.

3. Serve up the leftovers: Instead of throwing away what you didn’t use today, reheat and serve to your team in a “family meal” style before each lunch and dinner service, says Minckler. Not only does it prevent waste, but it also leads to team bonding.

4. Monitor and forecast: Look to your reservations on the books and adjust based on hourly monitoring of food production, says Executive Chef Matthew Brennan, The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club.

5. Create specials: Consider a soup of the day made from ingredients you might not otherwise have an application for, says Minckler. This can be changed out daily based on your kitchen’s needs.