Hotel Food Waste is Your Business

By Pete Pearson Director of Food Waste, World Wildlife Fund | September 16, 2018

Co-authored by Samantha Kenny, Program Officer, World Wildlife Fund

When hotels adopted Energy Star technologies and implemented 'Hang Your Towel' water stewardship campaigns, they saw benefits beyond achieving environmental targets. These efforts yielded a return on investment by improving efficiency. Today, hotels are presented with a new opportunity for efficiency – food efficiency – with the potential for financial, social, and environmental benefits that far outweigh implementation costs.

It's estimated that one-third of food grown globally is thrown away.  Beyond financial losses, this is a waste of 66 trillion gallons of water, 5.4 million square miles of land, and 4.4 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions. The impact of these wasted resources is compounded by staggering rates of global hunger and food insecurity.

Reducing food waste depends on shifting the way people value food. Creating this sustainable change in a hotel requires staff of varied functions to come together and think critically about the tasks they undertake every day.

Hotels have a unique opportunity to influence both public perception and a large portion of food service professionals, gaining significant business value in the process. This value is added in the form of:

  • Increased staff morale
  • Progress against a brand or property's environmental or social goals
  • Improved service to guests and clients
  • An enriched relationship with community groups
  • Better understanding of property operations
  • Reductions in operational costs
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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.