With simple changes and with regular meetings to discuss their progress, the team at Sofitel Kunming, in China, managed to reduce their food waste by 56%. This food waste reduction has led to the hotel saving over ¥133,000. This money is now being re-invested in other areas.
Sofitel Kunming is part of AccorHotels, which has been committed to various sustainability issues for many years. With the Planet 21 program, the group has set ambitious goals for 2020, including its commitment to reduce food waste by 30%. AccorHotels brought Winnow to Sofitel Kunming in August 2017 to help the team manage their food waste.
When analyzing the data from the Winnow reports, the team realized that they were cooking more food than guests were able to eat. Based on this insight, they started communicating with the reception team to learn the number of daily bookings and cook according to demand. As a result of that, now the chefs never forecast too much or too little, cooking only the necessary amount of food.
By cutting food waste, the kitchen team is not only helping the hotel cut costs, but they are also contributing to the environment. The team at Sofitel Kunming avoided 20 tonnes of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere. It is the equivalent of 51 miles driven by an average passenger car.
In addition, the project with Winnow has helped educate the hotel’s staff: “With the Winnow system we are able to get tangible data about our food waste, and based on that, we can make changes to reduce it. Winnow has also helped the team become more aware of the issue of food waste.” Said Mohammad Ali Kunhi, Executive Chef at Sofitel Kunming during an interview to Winnow.
Food waste is a serious and costly issue in China, but there are great opportunities for businesses addressing the issue. Although the Chinese hospitality market continues to grow, operators are facing challenges in the form of severe competition and demanding clients searching for the next big trend. As F&B plays an increasingly important role in a hotel’s value proposition, using technology to reduce food costs by preventing waste is a valuable opportunity.
An estimated 200 billion yuan (US$32 billion) of food is wasted every year in China, with a large proportion of this coming from the hospitality sector. Researchers from China Agricultural University found that edible food thrown away from restaurants is equivalent to nearly 10% of the country’s annual crop production.
Winnow has been working with the hotel and catering sector in China since 2015 and has an office in Shanghai. Working with large brands, such as AccorHotels, we have found that kitchens typically waste between 5% and 15% of all food purchased.
We would encourage all Chinese operators to follow the Sofitel Kunming example to see food waste as an opportunity to significantly cut costs while also contributing to China’s sustainability journey. In a competitive marketplace and with increasingly demanding consumers, there has never been a more important time for kitchens to run with maximum efficiency.