Quick wins to save money #2: How to engage your hotel staff in the fight against waste

  Posted in Hotel Management

By Clare Riley, Content and Editorial Manager, SiteMinder

With stats showing that hoteliers spend on average £2,000 sending waste to landfill every year, it’s clear there are savings to be made in your kitchen and around your hotel.

And while you understand the urgency and need to implement changes across parts of your hotel operation, your staff members might take some convincing.

In its ongoing series of helpful guides, The British Hospitality Association (BHA), has joined forces with waste experts SWR and Winnow, to offer advice for hotels looking to reduce waste and save extra money.

The second ‘Waste Not, Want Not’ report encourages hoteliers to think about the different ways to prepare a team of staff for the changes, and how to secure their buy-in to help reduce waste.

The guide recommends taking a meaningful approach and to start by talking to your team members about why recycling is so important to you and your hotel business.

Here are three communication ideas the guide offers for preparing your team:

  1. Create competitions or in-house leagues
  2. Use posters to demonstrate waste streams, plus inclusions and exclusions to recycling
  3. Share the good news of your success with the team when you hit your goals

The four As of staff engagement

The guide also offers advice from Ashna Tanna, an operations executive from waste experts Winnow, who has worked with more than 150 kitchens helping them to find cost savings. Ashna talks about the four As of staff engagement – awareness, accountability, action and award -explaining this approach can help hoteliers.

She says the best approach to building awareness is finding out what interests and inspires your staff because everyone has different takes on what’s important to them – whether it be environmental or social.

“Talk about the issue from an individual perspective, it helps a lot to convince them to see the broader picture. Pointing out that throwing away food means wasting their time and labour that went into making it helps raise a sense of ownership for the food that is going to waste,” explains Ashna.

To drive change efficiently in your hotel, you’ll need to create an authentic sense of accountability and that includes nominating a group of ‘waste champions’, from both your kitchen and front of house teams, who can ensure the food waste projects are always front of mind.

Accountability, according to the guide, also includes getting your team to agree on targets to reduce food waste. Ashna advises that your hotel staff will likely be more on-board if they’re trying to meet their own set of targets.

Once your goals are set, the expert from Winnow suggests arranging a brainstorm session to think about the action your hotel should be taking. She says you should “…possible food waste reduction techniques such as batch preparation, effective peeling, using smaller cooking pots and freezing prepared items with your team.”

With your team’s buy-in, your hotel is well on its way to making a difference and saving costs through food waste. All that’s left to do is give back and award staff with a celebration or treat.

“The best way to gain the attention of the staff is positive reinforcement. Staff need to know that their hard work has resulted in something tangible so share your success with your team. Consider posting positive results on the team notice board, make food waste a daily talking point in your team meetings, or celebrate with a small treat. This way staff can feel that the project is not only achievable but fun as well,” writes Ashna in the BHA guide.

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