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 March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.