Crieff Hydro

27th November 2014

Crieff Hydro took part in a food waste monitoring trial to actively measure and reduce food waste in its main Meikle restaurant. By using a smart meter to measure food waste, the hotel identified the areas to focus on were the breakfast and lunch buffet. Subsequently the hotel reduced food waste through various measures.

Large buffet savings at Crieff Hydro
£50k plus of savings identified
Smart monitoring & making changes
Making improvements across the group

Crieff Hydro Hotel

Reduction in food waste

 

 

 

Summary

Crieff Hydro has taken part in a food waste monitoring trial to actively measure and reduce food waste in its main Meikle restaurant. By using a smart meter to measure food waste, the hotel identified the areas to focus on were the breakfast and lunch buffet. Subsequently the hotel reduced food waste through various measures: 

  • Reduced buffet container sizes;

  • Smart production planning and greater use of small batch preparation; and

  • Greater staff engagement and the setting of weekly food waste reduction targets. 

After 8 weeks in just one restaurant, the work at Crieff Hydro reduced food waste costs by around 43% and by 31% in weight per cover terms. This equates to an annual saving of around 11.5 tonnes of food, with approximately £51,750 of savings.

“This has given us the wakeup call that we needed. It has shown us just how much cash we were effectively putting into the bin on a daily basis. Seeing the level of detail, down to the waste from specific components of a dish, really brings home the need to change practices and increase awareness. The WRAP trial has played a massive part in helping to change perceptions and deliver savings.”

Marcus Kenyon, General Manager

Background 

Crieff Hydro is a four star luxury spa hotel in Perthshire, set in a 900-acre estate with 213 en-suite rooms and over 500 staff. The hotel is one of 8 similar, high quality hotels. Crieff Hydro has five restaurants, cafes and bars serving a wide range of full meals and snacks.

Food waste monitoring system installed

Two smart meters to measure food waste, from Winnow Solutions, were  installed in the main Meikle restaurant. One system tracked prepared not served (buffet) and spoilage waste, and one tracked customer plate waste.  The system linked digital floor scales, for the food waste bin, to a tablet computer. This allowed food waste to be quickly weighed and categorised by selecting icons on the tablet touch screen.  

This weight data was linked to cost information to calculate the ‘true cost of food waste’ for the hotel. Data was transmitted to a remote server and analysis undertaken to produce daily and weekly reports for the hotel. 

Raising awareness and taking action

The trial reports were discussed weekly between the head chef and profit margin analyst to identify actions to reduce food waste from buffet operations. Using this information, kitchen and serving staff took a number of actions:

  • Using smaller containers on the buffet to better match demand rates, combined with more small batch preparation, rather than having everything pre-prepared;
  • Reducing the amount of food on the buffet towards the end of the service, as customer numbers decline, whilst still offering the same choice of dishes; and
  • Directly engaging staff on a regular basis and giving them a clear focus by setting weekly targets. 

The benefit has been a substantial reduction in the quantity and value of food waste. Comparing data for the first week of the trial to the average of the last three weeks:

  • The amount of food waste per cover reduced by 31%; from 169g to 117g. 
  • The cost of wasted food, as a percentage of sales, from 9% to 5%.

Top tips to save money

  • Actively track what food is being thrown away.
  • Check your specifications (e.g. meal element portions and preparation procedures) and make sure these are met consistently. 
  • Prepare and cook in small batches to respond to demand ‘on the go’.  
  • Make the most of meat, fruit and vegetables through careful trimming (e.g. reducing the end waste on carrots).  
  • Where possible use pre-portioned meal elements. 
  • Take particular care over portioning of chips, veg and salad garnish.
  • Maximise use of prepared and not served food in daily ‘specials’ (e.g. soups and curries).
  • Offer ‘lite’ bite versions of main courses.  
  • Ask customers if there are items that they don’t want that are included in a meal, such as tomatoes with breakfast and steaks.
  • Reduce side dish and buffet plate and bowl sizes, but allow top ups.