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Four star hotel makes four star savings

Worrying about waste might seem like a luxury when you’re a luxury hotel but Crieff Hydro shows you can cut food waste and costs without compromising on quality

Providing four-star luxury doesn't need to produce an abundance of waste. That was the key finding of a food waste monitoring trial that took place at Crieff Hydro hotel in Perthshire. In a bid to reduce waste being sent to landfill, the hotel agreed to take part in a WRAP-organised eight-week food waste monitoring trial of its main restaurant, the Meikle.

This four-star luxury spa hotel in Perthshire, set in a 900-acre estate, boasts 213 en-suite rooms and over 500 staff. With five restaurants, cafes and bars serving a wide range of full meals and snacks, food waste is an important issue. By focusing on one part of its business, important lessons could be learned and rolled out across the rest of the hotel’s activities.

A WRAP advisor quickly identified the breakfast and lunch buffets as prime candidates for generating food waste. Two smart meters were then installed to measure food waste and identify hot spots for preventive action. The smart meters, created by Winnows Solutions, measured prepared food waste and spoilage, as well as customer plate waste.

Food waste was weighed on digital floor scales, which were linked to a tablet. The type of food was then recorded, using easy desktop icons, and this information was used to analyse the cost of the food waste. Subsequent analysis prompted the head chef, kitchen and serving staff to implement a number of measures. These included:

  • cutting back on portion sizes of foods such as chips, salad and garnishing
  • preparing smaller batches of food at a time, instead of pre-preparing, and
  • providing smaller buffet containers for certain items

Reducing the amount of food prepared as the buffet service neared its end and customer numbers were declining also helped reduce spoilage as well as waste.  

These clever ideas cost nothing, yet made a huge impact on waste reduction. They’re actions that can be easily replicated by any restaurant or cafe.

“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. The trial has played a massive part in helping to change perceptions and deliver savings,” says Marcus Kenyon, general manager of Crieff Hydro

The efforts of staff were crucial to the trial’s success. The reduction in waste could not have been achieved without the hotel’s staff making it happen. They know the business, know the clients and are aware of wasteful practices. Given the opportunity, they can be the most valuable asset for driving down waste and promoting sustainability.

In the eight-week trial, Crieff Hydro saw a 43 per cent reduction in food waste, equating to a 31 per cent reduction in food waste weight per cover. In a year, this could add up to 11.5 tonnes of food waste, diverted from landfill. Or, in money terms, a saving of £51,750.

With savings like that, it’s no wonder that the hotel chain that owns Crieff Hydro is planning to roll out the food waste monitoring and waste reduction practices.

Find out how your hospitality or food and drink business can make significant savings too

Call 01786 433 930 or email food.drink@zerowastescotland.org.uk and ask about our free food and drink opportunity assessments.

Our support to reduce your business costs through food waste prevention and reduction are funded by the Scottish Government and by the European Regional Development Fund through the £73 million Resource Efficiency Circular Economy Accelerator Programme.

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