Strathmore Hotels

27th November 2014

The Salutation Hotel, part of the Strathmore Hotel Group, took part in an eight week trial to actively monitor and reduce food waste. The trial successfully reduced the weight of food waste per cover by 36% and achieved financial savings worth approximately £10,900 per annum. Replicating these savings across all seven hotels in the group could lead to reductions of 29 tonnes of food waste and £76,000  of savings due to reduced food purchasing costs each year.

Strathmore Hotels saves 18% of food costs
Food waste trial saves money
Smart monitoring & making changes
Making improvements across the group

The Salutation Hotel

Reduction in food waste

 

Summary

The Salutation Hotel, part of the Strathmore Hotel Group, took part in an eight week trial to actively monitor and reduce food waste. By using a smart meter to measure food waste, the hotel was able to identify savings and reduce the amount of food being thrown away through:

  • Use of smaller buffet plates to encourage people to take only what they need; 

  • Greater use of small batch preparation rather than having everything pre-prepared;

  • Reductions in the amount of toast given for breakfast; and

  • Greater reuse of trimmings and leftovers. 

The trial at the Salutation Hotel successfully reduced the weight of food waste per cover by 36% and achieved financial savings worth approximately £10,900 per annum. Replicating these savings across all seven hotels in the group could lead to reductions of 29 tonnes of food waste and £76,000  of savings due to reduced food purchasing costs each year.  

Background 

Strathmore Hotels operate a group of seven hotels throughout Scotland and the North of England, specialising in group tours. The Salutation Hotel, located in Perth, has 84 bedrooms, a bar/lounge and a restaurant catering for guests and events.     

“The measuring food waste system has made us very aware of all forms of food wastage, from the preparation stage through to plating up the food. As a result, we were able to identify areas of food waste we could cut back on. Overall the trial has been very beneficial.”  

Gordon Paterson, General Manager 

Background 

Strathmore Hotels operate a group of seven hotels throughout Scotland and the North of England, specialising in group tours. The Salutation Hotel, located in Perth, has 84 bedrooms, a bar/lounge and a restaurant catering for guests and events.

Food waste monitoring system 

A smart meter to measure food waste, from Winnow Solutions, was installed in the hotel’s kitchen to track kitchen waste and 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. The process was simple to use and took just seconds for each transaction. 

This weight data was linked to cost information to calculate the ‘true cost of waste’ for the hotel. Data was transmitted to a remote server and analysis undertaken to produce daily and weekly reports for the hotel. While there were some WiFi connectivity problems, no data was lost as the system stored the data for later transmission. 

Raising awareness and taking action

The trial reports were used in staff meetings and quickly raised awareness of the actual cost of food waste to the business. The reports also helped to identify areas for focus, mainly related to buffet and plate waste from breakfasts, and restaurant and bar main dishes. Using this information, kitchen and serving staff took a number of actions to reduce food waste:  

  • Reduced plate sizes for buffet operations (from 10 inch to 9 inch diameter), with customers able to come back for more if they wanted it; 
  • More on-the-go preparation/cooking (rather than large batches in advance);  
  • Reductions in the quantity of toast ‘automatically’ offered for breakfast (with hot top-ups offered); and
  • Better use of trimmings and unused items, e.g. vegetables in soups etc.  

The overall outcome has been a considerable 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 cost of food waste reduced by 18% from £830 to £680.  
  • The amount of food being wasted reduced by 27% from 244kg to 177kg.
This was all in the context of rising numbers of covers as the summer season got underway. As shown in the figure below, food waste reduced by 36%, from 163g per cover to 105g (averaged over the last three weeks). This is equivalent to a saving of £0.15 per cover.  
 
Based on an average covers per week, this translates to an annual saving of an estimated 4.2 tonnes of prevented food waste, worth approximately £10,900.

Further improvements

Having made good progress and savings at The Salutation Hotel, the next stage is for the company to roll out this good practice to the other six hotels in the group. This is being done through: 

  • Developing new Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and an associated action plan; 
  • Developing a waste procedure that captures food waste prevention initiatives, e.g. use of prepared and not served food, to ensure consistency across the group; and 
  • Regular meetings of Green Team Champions from each hotel to share good practice. 

Based on the results of the trial being replicated across all the hotels in the Strathmore Group, total annual potential savings are in the region of 29 tonnes of food waste and £76,000  of savings.    

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 the use of prepared and not served food in daily ‘specials’.
  • Offer ‘lite’ bite versions of main courses.  
  • Ask customers if there are meal items 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.