How hotels are tackling food waste: The Shelbourne Hotel

The Shelbourne HoteFood on a plate being served by a person wearing a suitl in Dublin, a proud member of the global Marriott group, is setting a new standard in how hotels are tackling food waste. Under the leadership of Executive Sous Chef Daniel Taylor, the hotel has embraced the ‘Pledge on Food Waste’ initiative, aiming to significantly reduce food waste through a series of well-coordinated efforts. This article is based on an interview done by The Irish Examiner.

A Holistic Approach

The journey begins with a committed management team that champions a food waste reduction policy. All levels understand the policy, involving employees, associates, and customers, suppliers all unified against food waste.

Detailed Monitoring and Innovative Practices

Training plays a crucial role. Employees are educated on precise portioning techniques, particularly for proteins, to minimize wastage during preparation. A notable success story is their zero-waste dish – a sweet potato and onion soup – crafted by a sous chef. This dish uses the entire vegetable, demonstrating resourcefulness and creativity. The story behind this dish is shared with patrons, enhancing its popularity and customer engagement.

To gain detailed insights, the hotel has installed scales and special bins throughout its premises. Food waste is weighed, photographed, and logged meticulously, providing a comprehensive audit trail. This data-driven approach allows the hotel to pinpoint exact areas of wastage, enabling effective countermeasures.

Inclusive and Engaging Initiatives

Inclusivity and staff engagement are central to the Shelbourne’s strategy. A suggestion box in the canteen encourages associates to contribute ideas. For instance, reducing the daily return of cooked carrots by 50% in banquets was a staff suggestion that led to immediate positive outcomes. Such contributions are incentivised with rewards, fostering a culture of participation and innovation.

Collaborative Solutions

Weekly briefings between front-of-house staff and chefs ensure continuous dialogue about menu items and portion sizes. This collaboration helps identify and rectify any unpopular elements or oversized portions, further reducing waste. The buffet strategy has changed to put out smaller quantities, replenished more frequently, thereby maintaining quality and reducing leftovers.

Impact and Results

The impact of these initiatives has been profound. There is a 21% decrease in food waste and a reduction in the costs of waste. Staff morale is up and everyone is united in addressing an important environmental issue. Customers also appreciate the hotel’s commitment to sustainability.

In conclusion, the Shelbourne Hotel’s comprehensive approach to food waste reduction highlights the power of detailed monitoring, staff engagement, and innovative practices in achieving substantial environmental benefits. This initiative not only aligns with the hotel’s commitment to sustainability but also enhances overall customer satisfaction and operational efficiency.