Since launching in 2013 we have worked with hundreds of General Managers from all over the world helping them cut food waste in half while saving them time and resources. They have an 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.
The Armani Hotel Dubai has been working with us since March 2018. We had the pleasure to interview Mark Kirby, the General Manager of the hotel. He talked to us about the role of technology in reducing food waste, his journey with Winnow, and much more.
What is unique about working in this local area?
Dubai is very innovative. We can see just how fast-paced the city is by looking at the rate at which buildings come up. It is quite exciting.
In this fast-paced world how do you innovate & stay relevant?
The hospitality industry is innovating and growing at a rapid pace. At the same time, it is becoming extremely competitive. We are focusing on driving revenues to sustain the levels of profitability that we want to achieve. Smart kitchens are the next evolution of ensuring that we have the technology in place to revolutionize the way we look at the amount we spend in the Food & Beverage department.
When did you discover the opportunity to increase efficiency & save resources
Here at Armani Hotel Dubai, we have always been at the forefront of initiatives that are doing the right thing for the environment. We saw working with Winnow as the next step of us managing food wastage in the kitchens and looking at how we can reduce it. Through this we are able to gain savings and do the right thing by not wasting food.
What was your experience with implementing Winnow?
Winnow was with us as partners throughout the whole journey. There has never been a time where they said we would like you to install the system and that’s it. Both parties see this as a long-term partnership.
As it is with chefs, you have to get them to on-board with the project first. As you can see through the results - the chefs really worked with it. Consistently every week we see 100% of the food waste being categorized. People tend to be worried about utilizing technology in a very artistic space like a kitchen. But the fact is, the chefs have taken it on board and they are very comfortable utilizing it. It has allowed us to have a system that is very simple and accurate in place that enables us to get credible results.
When did you see the impact?
In about two months. Month one was about installation and getting used to the system. Throughout we had the backup and the support from the Winnow team - initially with meetings in the hotel once a week and then more online meetings. Looking at the reports with them on a weekly basis was helpful.
Did you think you had a food waste problem and have you been surprised at being able to reduce food waste by 47%?
We are pretty conscientious as a hotel. But, Winnow opened our eyes to be able to look further at the re-engineering of our menus. We put out dishes that we think our guests will like. Then we see that food coming back uneaten. What the Winnow system does is, it enables us to relook at our menu. So it is an educational process on multiple levels.
How much did you manage to save?
We started in March 2018 and year to date we've done AED 150,000 worth of savings which is a substantial amount. By the end of the year, we are forecasted to do about AED 200,000. It is great for our operations. When we look at our cost lines in detail to see where we can increase profitability in the competitive market we are in right now, that AED 200,000 makes a massive difference.
How would you describe Winnow to another GM?
Winnow is great. With the use of very easy to use technology, it enables us to be able to measure the food waste we put into the bin and get a figure that makes sense. No other waste management system allows us to be so detailed and accurate.
Why is new technology so exciting? How do you see the future of your industry evolving?
The use of technology in this industry is only going to grow in the future. Using AI as we move forward will enable us to perform manual tasks faster and quicker while reducing manpower requirements. Giving us the time to come back to our customers on the floor.