Critical First Steps to Reduce Hotel Food Waste
By Pete Pearson Director of Food Waste, World Wildlife Fund | June 10, 2018
Hotels are on the forefront of a movement to save food-and money.
Every year, about 1.3 billion tons of food are lost or wasted around the world-a third of all the food produced. To the average American family of four, that can add up to thousands of dollars a year. What might food loss and waste cost a hotel that serves thousands of people?
In countries like the United States, food is wasted most often in grocery stores, food service industries and in homes. We all share a responsibility and have an obligation to take a bite out of this problem, including hotels and the hospitality sector. But where to start?
Fortunately, in collaboration with World Wildlife Fund and the American Hotel and Lodging Association, dozens of hotels have been experimenting with food waste strategies. And their lessons have informed a free, open platform on the web called HotelKitchen.org. This platform provides hotel managers and staff with a simple, step-by-step guide to develop and implement a food waste strategy.
Step 1: Build a Food Waste Management Task Force
Before you can even develop a strategy, you need a cross-functional team that includes people from different departments across your hotel. It should include departments that receive, store, prep, serve, and dispose of food as well as the catering and event sales department. The team should be able to monitor how food is received, prepared, offered to guests, thrown away, what roles different employees need to play to reduce waste, how the hotel communicates food waste reduction to its guests, and what impact the effort has on the hotel's finances.