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A study commissioned to approximately quantify the amount of food actually consumed vis-à-vis what is disposed as waste in buffet services reveals several shocking truths. One is that the entire guests manage to eat only fifty per cent of the total food items served. Second, a more unfortunate fact, is that only 10% of the leftovers could qualify for donation or reuse in consideration of safety and health regulations. Thus, the 90%, or almost half of the contents of the buffet tables go down the drain, not to mention the whopping contribution of coffee, juices and other liquids, that usually end up half-finished, to this extravagance.

Image source: nytimes.com

A 2016 report by ReFED, a US-based non-profit organization of businesses, placed the value of food wastage in the country alone in the amount of $218 billion annually, a resource that could have fed an entire small developing nation within that same period. Of this enormous figure, the group extrapolated that about 40% is being contributed by companies involved in food service, major players of which are those from the hospitality industry.

Thus, hotels are the most appropriate locales to promote consciousness of the folly of reckless eating norms and to influence changes on these undesirable demeanors towards more judicious, responsible food consumption. The challenge to the industry, therefore, is how to restrain careless feasting without compromising the guest’s satisfaction, especially as hotels wouldn’t want to disappoint their clients.

This obsession for customer satisfaction is largely responsible for the excesses in food served during buffets. The fear that the table would run empty and disconcert patrons drives hotel management to bloat expected head counts to allay any crisis. On the consumers’ side, meanwhile, guests tend to fill their plates to the brim, anxious that the dishes would be cleaned out before they come back for seconds.

Some hotels have practiced conservation such as presenting only sample plates of meats and cheese while guests can just order them from the servers, decreasing portion sizes, or serving finger pastries instead of whole cakes and pies. Another good strategy is to secure a thorough dietary preferences of guests that would guide chefs and buffet planners in producing accurate portions of dishes to serve.

Image source: lifestyleasia.com

The hospitality industry has to address this problem of food wastage without compromising their high level of service quality.

John Jefferis’ career started with an internship at the Savory Hotel in London. The things he had learned there fueled his interest in the field of hotel and resort management, resulting in successful resorts today such as the Coco Reef Resort. For more updates on the hospitality industry, visit this Facebook page.