Since launching in 2013 we have worked with hundreds of General Managers from all over the world helping them to cut food waste in half while saving them time and resources. They have the incredibly important role of looking after the day-to-day aspects of the hotel's operations. They oversee everything from budgets to staffing, planning events and the food offer.
We had the pleasure to interview Vincent Dujardin, General Manager at Novotel Warsaw Centrum. While filming the hotel’s case study video, Vincent talked to us about the benefits of reducing food waste, his journey with Winnow, and much more.
- Tell me about your restaurant and F&B?
Novotel Warsaw Centrum is a huge hotel. We have more than 700 rooms, 2 restaurants, and a large space for conferences and other corporate meetings. Due to the hotel’s size, we produce a lot of Food & Beverage revenue. Therefore, It’s of high importance for us to reduce food waste and save money as a consequence of that.
- How would you describe Winnow to another GM?
To another General Manager, I would describe Winnow as a very user-friendly tool which is also easy to implement and very precise in terms of providing analytics. At the beginning of the process, we were all a little bit scared of implementing a new piece of technology in the kitchen. But, after we started seeing the positive results we were sure that we had made the right decision, and Winnow is here to stay.
- Did you think you had a food waste problem and have you been surprised at being able to reduce food waste by 55%?
Before Winnow, we were not even aware that we had a food waste problem. So, I was very surprised to find out that we had been able to reduce out food waste by 55%. This reduction has had a major impact in terms of our financial performance. Cutting our food waste by 55% means that we saved approximately €18,000. Also, after only 3 months our food cost was down by 0.5%, which brings more leverage in terms of benefit to the hotel’s margin.
- What would you say to sceptical chefs or managers who don’t think they could benefit from using Winnow?
I can relate to those sceptical professionals. I was also very sceptical when the Winnow system was first installed at the hotel. Food waste was probably an issue that we would prefer not to have in mind. But, reducing food waste comes with great benefits and both chefs and general managers should invest in ways to minimise the issue. Here at Novotel Warsaw Centrum, the effort we put into training the team and engaging them with the project has been worth it. They are not only cutting food waste at the hotel, but they had applied their knowledge at their homes as well.
- How has Winnow made your life easier?
Winnow has affected the entire Novotel Warsaw team. In the beginning, a lot of our staff seemed to be very far from the topic. But, food waste should be handled not only by the management team, but by the entire team. Now, after cutting food waste dramatically, we can only think of progressing further and becoming even more sustainable in the future.
- What changes have you implemented within your operations after using the system?
The main changes we’ve implemented after using Winnow are in our food production process. With our breakfast buffet, for example, after Winnow we made the decision to offer smaller portions and include individual portions of our offer. Both changes have really contributed to reducing our food waste. Also, we now have a weekly team meeting where we analyse the Winnow reports comparing last week’s reports to set new targets and keep on progressing.
- There’s obviously a huge benefit to the environment in reducing waste as well. Tell us about what this means to you.
The benefits that reducing food waste brings to the environment, for me, reflects directly on our footprint. It is our responsibility to reduce our footprint, and it is also one of the main goals of Planet 21 - Accor Hotels’ large sustainability strategy. We are all focused on having a more sustainable operation in the future, and cutting food waste is a major part of that.