Food for Thought: Food Waste Reduction
By Rauni Kew Public Relations & Green Program Manager, Inn by the Sea | August 02, 2015
The growing counterculture to food waste is so wide spread the Association's annual What's Hot List placed food waste reduction right behind hyper-local sourcing in their Top Twenty Trends.
Food waste is a global problem, but 40% of the food produced right here in the US goes uneaten according to a 2012 National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) report. Waste has been on a steady rise since 1970 when the US wasted about 50% less food. So why did so many restaurant chefs choose to draw attention to food waste now?
Chefs have always focused on using up product. Running an efficient kitchen just makes economic sense, and since food is the second largest cost after labor, wasting food greatly impacts restaurants' bottom lines. However, the 2015 Chef trends recognized this moment in time where locavores rule, trash fish dinners and root to stalk menus are the new chic, and where diners are as acutely interested in taste as they are with their health and the health of the planet. Couple timing with growing foodie tourism and consumer interest in novel culinary experiences, with the important economic and emotional role food service plays in hotels, Chefs now see value in finding creative solutions around reducing food waste.
Lasting Impressions Through Hotel F&B
Captivating hotel cuisine can be just that - captivating your guests with a positive perception of the hotel and creating a favorable and lasting impression through great F&B operations. F&B can be a properties' most powerful marketing tool. Resorts, boutique and luxury hotels in particular can tailor menus and ambiance to capture a sense of place, add substance to PR and marketing platforms, and sustain and grow a brand narrative. Hotel menus can easily adapt to culinary trends, seasonality and keep pace with changing guest expectations without requiring huge capital expenditure. Restaurants are profit centers, with F&B being the second largest revenue source after room sales for full service hotels. As the cost of sales for rooms escalates due to marketing and OTA charges, F&B operations have become even more important as profit centers.
This ability for a hotel's F&B to easily adapt and keep up with travel and consumer trends may be one of a hotel's strongest marketing tools. But should F&B be concerned with food waste issues? Surveys show hotel guests overwhelmingly feel properties should take care of the environment. In the Conde Nast Traveler 2011 survey 93% stated travel companies should be responsible for protecting the environment, while 90% of travelers surveyed by TravelZoo in 2010 would choose a "green' or environmentally conscious hotel if price and amenities were comparable to a non green hotel.
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