The Business Case for Reducing Food Waste

By Pete Pearson Director of Food Waste, World Wildlife Fund | April 01, 2018

For hotels, saving money can also help save the environment while enriching the guest experience. Take water, for example. By encouraging guests to reuse towels and linens, hotels reduced their laundry expenses and saved water. They also helped raise their guests' awareness of water conservation, generating good will for the hotels and spurring positive behavior change at home.

Now, in collaboration with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA), hotels across the country have a platform to save money by saving another critical resource: food.

Following a year-long research and demonstration project program, WWF and AHLA have rolled out a set of tools on  to provide hotels with a step-by-step guide to reduce waste, cut costs, and enhance relationships with their staff, guests, and community.

Why is Food Waste Important?

Food is our most vital human connection to the planet. It is essential to sustain life and deeply embedded in our cultures. Yet it also takes a huge toll on the planet, more than any other human activity.

Food production accounts for 70 percent of the water that people use, 40 percent of the frost-free land we occupy, and between 25 to 30 percent of the greenhouse gases we emit. It drives loss of habitats from the Amazon rainforest to the grasslands of the United States, and it's responsible for a significant decline in wildlife population. Yet despite the amount of time and resources it takes to grow, process, manufacture, and transport food, we seem to value it less and less.

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Coming up in January 2019...

Mobile Technology: The Future is Now

Mobile Technology continues to advance at a relentless pace and the hotel industry continues to adapt. Hotel guests have shown a strong preference for mobile self-service - from checking-in/out at a hotel kiosk, to ordering room service, making dinner reservations, booking spa treatments, and managing laundry/dry cleaning services. And they also enjoy the convenience of paying for these services with smart phone mobile payments. In addition, some hotels have adopted a “concierge in your pocket” concept. Through a proprietary hotel app, guests can access useful information such as local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, event calendars, and medical facilities and services. In-room entertainment continues to be a key factor, as guests insist on the capacity to plug in their own mobile devices to customize their entertainment choices. Mobile technology also allows for greater marketing opportunities. For example, many hotels have adopted the use of “push notifications” - sending promotions, discounts and special event messages to guests based on their property location, purchase history, profiles, etc. Near field communication (NFC) technology is also being utilized to support applications such as opening room doors, earning loyalty points, renting a bike, accessing a rental car, and more. Finally, some hotels have adopted more futuristic technology. Robots are in use that have the ability to move between floors to deliver room service requests for all kinds of items - food, beverages, towels, toothbrushes, chargers and snacks. And infrared scanners are being used by housekeeping staff that can detect body heat within a room, alerting staff that the room is occupied and they should come back at a later time. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in this exciting mobile technology space.