Out of the frying pan into the garbage can? “Food Waste” in foodservice
“Food Waste” is all food that spoils or is discarded on its way from production to consumption. This way, more than one third of all food worldwide is thrown away. There are numerous options to counteract this at least on a private level. Nevertheless, you certainly know the situation: however mindful you are, now and then you have to throw away some food. If avoiding food waste is not easy for us, you can image how challenging it can be for restaurants. In spite of this, many restaurateurs do their best to avoid producing food waste. Let us give you some insights into what they do – and how you recognize these restaurants and hotel kitchens.
Flexible meal plans
In a restaurant kitchen, just like at home, good planning and calculation is of particular importance. Of course, it is impossible to give a precise prediction of the daily orders, but at least it is possible to influence them a little. Day meals and personal recommendations make it easier to choose from the menu and can be an indication that fresh, seasonal ingredients are being used. The food that is still left over can be integrated into the meal plan for the next day. In the past, this was sneeringly labeled as the recycling of leftovers. Now, many people regard it as a quality feature: if this kind of further processing meets high standards, it is proof of responsibility, creativity and good planning. Terms such as “winter salad” or “seasonal vegetables” leave sufficient scope for utilizing the surplus.
We all know the situation: due to an oversized portion a great part of the delicious food is left over. In order to react to the fact that not all guests share the same hunger, more and more restaurants offer different serving sizes. In general, restaurants benefit from considering their guests’ wishes. For, the happier a guest is with his meal, the more likely he is to finish it. In order to combine those two measures, the Indian hotel group CGH Earth employs live cooking stations. Here, you can chose the ingredients and the size of your portion according to your preferences and apart from that enjoy the show.
A deliberate choice instead of “All you can eat”
The majority of food waste is produced at the buffet. However, CGH Earth has found a solution for this problem, too: They include the number of the attending guests into their calculation for the buffet. Besides smaller plates for the guests, small serving tureens that are regularly refilled have proved to be successful. For, not only the leftovers on the guests’ plates are discarded, but also all the food that has once been on the buffet. That is why the hotels run by CGH Earth – among others Spice Village, Coconut Lagoon und Marari Beach – try as far as possible to provide their guests with the options of live cooking stations and à la carte menus. This prevents preparing too much food in the first place.
Transparent and clear communication
An over-abundantly filled buffet and XXL portions are widely considered normal and a lot of guests still expect them. Thus it is important to clearly communicate the respective philosophy of sustainability. At the Hubertus Alpin Lodge & Spa the hotel’s journal does not only include excursion tips but also information on food waste and how the hotel management deals with it: “In order to make an important contribution to environmental protection, we decided to reduce our portions and accordingly minimize the mountains of food that our throwaway society produces. We also ask you to fill your plates consciously on buffet evenings. Of course, you will get a supplement if the served amount of food is not sufficient. We thank you for your understanding and your cooperation!”
Of crooked vegetables and regional products
Too big potatoes, too crooked carrots: buying industrial rejects prevents valuable food from being discarded and saves costs. Using regional products prevents wastage as well. For, due to shorter transport routes they keep fresh for a longer time and suffer less damage. The Inkaterra hotels do not only use regional or even homegrown products, but also help guests to get a feel for their food. During guided tours of the surrounding area you get information on cultivation conditions and local products. Thanks to the “Earth to table”-concept of Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba you even have the opportunity to participate in the harvest on the 10-acre organic farm – using traditional hand tools and oxen. After this physical effort in the field, you will certainly appreciate your potatoes in a different way during your next meal.