Responsible hospitality: 9 tips for running a sustainable hotel kitchen

Posted by Benedetta Cassinelli / 21-Mar-2018

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By becoming more sustainable, businesses can contribute to the environment and reduce costs. Considerate Hoteliers help hospitality business operate more responsibly. They are taking over the Winnow blog to share insights about how hotels can reduce operating costs whilst minimising their environmental impact, by leveraging on data.

Many operators are still not tackling the challenges of food waste and resource use inefficiency within their hospitality businesses, despite increased awareness. Achieving KPI’s such as gross profit, food costs and top-line food and beverage revenue don’t paint the whole picture. Just because you got paid for it, does not mean that it is acceptable to waste it, as it is so often the case in banqueting and breakfast buffets when internal communications or processes are not working well.

The true cost of throwing food away is much more than just the waste management costs: there is the cost of the food itself, the water footprint, fuel used in cooking and labour. This cost has been estimated at £318 million to the UK hotel sector or £4,000 per tonne.

Notably, agriculture consumes more water than any other source and wastes much of that through inefficiencies. Findings in Wrap’s overview of waste in the hospitality and food service sector show that 40% of food that is wasted is carbohydrates, including potato, bread, pasta and rice. Reduced wastage in carbohydrates alone would have a significant impact on the total amount of food being wasted and water being saved. For example, the water footprint of a portion of pasta is 169 litres and 81 litres for one slice of bread. Water footprint measures the volume of freshwater used along the entire food chain from, production to waste disposal.

In a kitchen 40% of the energy consumed goes in the preparation and storage of food, while 33% of the energy cost is spent on heating and hot water. While much value is placed on gross profit by controlling food costs and menu engineering, a lot of chefs and directors have not yet realized the indirect costs of wasting food, energy, and water. The good news is that users of Considerate Hoteliers data management system Con-Serve™ can correlate gas, electricity, water, waste and outsourced laundry metrics to occupied rooms and/or food covers in terms of cost, consumption and carbon emissions.

Download the the essential catering guide to food waste management

Con-Serve™ users are uniquely equipped to identify inefficiencies that can substantially impact the performance of their hospitality businesses both environmentally and commercially. In addition to receiving meaningful bespoke technical reports – with recommendations for improvement from hospitality industry operations and sustainability specialists –  users can benchmark their performance and get access to a comprehensive suite of automated reports.

 Considerate Hoteliers is proud to work with Winnow because it provides intuitive data – on all the key metrics required for those looking to reduce their food waste –  with actionable reports for the long and short term.

These are Considerate Hoteliers’s top 9 tips for running a more sustainable hotel kitchen:

  • Work from real-time occupancy/delegate forecasts and do not over-order or over-prepare breakfast or event buffets.
  • Reduce the preheating time to fifteen minutes before an appliance is needed – this can save up to 60% of the energy used in cooking.
  • Avoid thawing food under running water and avoid using running water to melt ice in sink strainers.
  •  Introduce food waste reduction strategies and invest in technology to help you measure, manage and reduce food waste. 
  • When pans come to the boil, turn hobs down to the minimum to simmer (boiling does not speed up the cooking process).
  • Check that the seals in cold rooms and fridges are intact.
  • Ensure cooling fins are at least 5 cm away from the wall as otherwise, the energy consumption of the appliance rises by 10%.
  • Install fridges/freezers to fully aired spots, never close to heating or an oven - you save up to 5% energy for 1°C of lower temperature of the location.
  • Put data tracking systems such as Con-Serve™ and Winnow in place to gain insights and set targets.

In short, what gets measured gets managed. However, if you really want to bring about change around food waste – or any other aspect of CSR in your hospitality business – not only must you know your numbers but also understand the drivers behind the data, which will enable you to set SMART goals. To succeed, you must get the entire team on board by explaining why you are reducing food waste and resource consumption.

To learn more about Con-Serve™ contact Considerate Hotelier 

Benedetta Cassinelli, Joint Managing Partner at Considerate Hoteliers.pngBenedetta has over 15 years of experience in both online and offline travel markets with an in-depth understanding of hospitality industry as a whole. She believes in a world of balance and sustainability, where taking requires giving back in equal proportion, which obliges us to respect our environment, its people, cultures and traditions.  Benedetta Cassinelli, Joint Managing Partner, Considerate Hoteliers.


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Photo credit: Jay Wennington via Unsplash  

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