Impact of a no food waste law on hotel operations

          “During this months P&L presentation, attended by the hotel owner and all department heads, Executive Chef Bobby is proud to report a 25% reduction in food waste, month on month. He adds that with this reduction the Hotel Lionstone (fictive hotel name) has almost reached compliance to the new food waste law, which will take effect in Bangkok next month. This will save the hotel money and exposure to reputation risk.”

          Of course there is not such law coming up in Bangkok anytime soon.

          Unlike in New York City, where Mayor Bloomberg, pictured below, is proposing such a new law. Mainly because 30% of the daily New York city waste of 20’000 tons is food/organic waste. See article: http://www.environmentalleader.com/2013/09/19/nyc-mulls-food-waste-ban/

          Visionary Champion

          Visionary Champion

          Hotels continue to throw away food on a daily basis. Knowingly or unknowingly. In my last posting as a General Manager it took us quite some time to get accurate readings of our daily food waste. We settled in around 50 – 75 kg per day, if my memory serves me right. The definition of food waste is all organic matter that is used to prepare food, abattis (trimmings-for the non culinary trained), staff & guest left overs, spoilage aso.

          How does one reduce food waste and can it be reduced to zero?

          Reduction opportunities exist many and require Knowledge and Leadership as usual ! In addition a natural dosage of planning, training cooperation and respect of what we eat. Every Executive Chef can handle the previous mentioned requirements easily as long as there is someone to pay attention and perhaps to give some encouragement and acknowledgement. That covers “leadership”.

          How about knowledge? The Chief Stewards reports to the Executive Chef hence it is an easy task to start measuring how much food waste goes out of the hotel on a daily basis, where it is generated (staff canteen, individual F&B Outlets, Preparation kitchen stations aso.) This data then will be analyzed by the Executive Chef. A brain storm session of the Kitchen team, based on Chef’s analysis will give a list of actions how to reduce food waste.

          Of course a hotel can never have zero food waste. The food preparation process, like any process, has input and output. It takes an outside the box approach to absorb and transform hotel food waste. The where is more of a challenge then the how.

          The handling of e.g 2 tons of food waste per month requires, physically, quite a bit of space, man hours and time. Intellectually, it simply requires a paradigm shift in the business vision – a shift from a linear process to a closed loop approach.

          How, where, who and why, these are all questions Daniel Koeppel Associates Co. Ltd. is at the ready to answer together with any visionary & interested hotel manager !

          P.S. since we are talking about laws – please find the link here about how the current legal regulation (in the US) of food dating is confusing. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2013/09/18/forty-percent-of-food-in-the-us-never-gets-eaten/

          Another, very detailed explanatory website you can find here  (www.sustainable table.org.au)

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          Daniel Koeppel

          Daniel is an environmental sustainability specialist with a hospitality background. He is passionate in supporting visionary hotel companies wishing to increase their environmental sustainability know how and solutions. Contact us now for a non-committing assessment!

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