Although Ramadan is known as a time of moderation, there is an increasing concern about the amount of food waste. Dubai wastes 2.7 kg of food per individual, every day. The amount of food waste per individual goes up to 4.5 kg during Ramadan.
Food waste is a major and costly problem to the UAE. It costs the country an average of $4 billion dollars every year. But, there are great opportunities for the industry in prioritizing the issue. Reducing food waste can deliver significant cost savings and it contributes to the environment at the same time. It`s a win-win for businesses.
We have been helping the UAE address the issue of food waste. We are currently working with some of Dubai's most prestigious hotels. The Pullman Dubai Creek City Centre & Residences was one of the first hotels in the region that adopted our technology, and it has reduce food waste in 40%. Also, we have recently signed an agreement with the Government of Dubai to deploy food waste reduction across the country’s hospitality industry.
Based on our experience over the years, we’ve come up with some recommendation to help the hospitality sector reduce food waste. Here are the 5 tips to reduce food waste during Ramadan:
- What gets measured gets managed: There’s clearly a strong business case for making food waste prevention a priority: measuring and monitoring waste can deliver significant cost savings and it is also a win for the environment.
- Analyze your food waste: Many people think once the dish has already been sold, it does not matter if it gets wasted. By analysing plate waste and finding the optimal portion size, guests will still feel they got value for their money while the kitchen can cut down the waste at the same time. Staff can save more of their time and focus on other components, such as quality or other areas of importance. Both time and resources are going to generate more profit for the same items that have already been sold.
- Be smart about putting the right amount of food out with buffets: The appearance of a full canteen is a requirement in a large proportion of businesses. A big challenge that mainly restaurants and hospitality businesses face is finding the right quantity of displayed food whilst ensuring waste targets are met. You can still maintain a full offer by putting high value items in certain positions or in different bowl sizes and refilling those items more. In this way you can achieve significant reduction of wasted food.
- Focus on what you can control: Avoidable food waste comes from things such as overproduction and even preparation control: counter waste, plate waste, cooking error or spoilage. Find out from what areas the avoidable food waste comes from. Managing this by inventory control, stock rotation and adjusting production will help you understand what is happening and how you can change that.
- Consider food waste reduction a group effort: Food waste is not something to hide but to address openly. When food waste reduction initiatives are led by senior management, results can be achieved more efficiently.
Reducing food waste comes with enormous savings potential for the industry. But, It’s relevant to note that raising awareness on food waste is not only about hospitality industries. All those engaged in the food sector has a role to play as food waste occur throughout the supply chain and takes different forms.
Have you ever attempted to record food waste in your restaurant? Have you identified a festive period when the waste usually goes up? Share your experience with us in the comments below: