The kitchen is one of the biggest draws on resources in any hospitality business. However it is also one of the greatest opportunities to implement green standards that can have a positive impact on your business, employees and customers.
That’s exactly why Bidfood Scotland have embarked on a new sustainable initiative, “Source, Serve, Sustain” says Katie Sillars, Supplier Development Manager at Bidfood Scotland.
We recognise the importance of a sustainable approach to food and drink in your business and are encouraging our customers to adopt some really simple approaches.
In the past ‘sustainability’ has been viewed as a buzz word or a nice to have, but increasingly it is becoming essential to a successful hotel or catering business. The impact it has on business is unrivalled, not to mention the environmental benefits.
But what are these benefits, and how can you implement small changes to make a big difference?
Shout about local
As Scotland has such a fantastic larder, being able to source local Scottish products can be a key step to being more sustainable. At Bidfood Scotland we work with over 100 Scottish suppliers, big and small, to ensure this can happen for our customers.
Visit Scotland reported that businesses promoting Scottish produce typically enjoy up to 20% higher sales, as well as finding that visitors will pay up to 15% more for food of Scottish origin. By using local produce you’re not only supporting the Scottish economy and local businesses but you’re also making money for your business.
And don’t forget to tell your customers! If you’re serving Scottish salmon or locally-made jam make it clear on your menu.
Tell the story
We’ve created a series of tools to help our customers that buy Scottish food and drink from us, to tell the story. And these can all be used to help tell the story at your business too.
- Supplier stories – customers want to know who and where their food and drink is coming from, and how it’s being processed. We encourage our suppliers to tell their story, and have a series of supplier pages within our brochure, and with the move to digital, we are starting to build an online resource for our customers to find out about our 112 Scottish suppliers.
- Local Maps – although we class any food and drink from Scotland as local, some of our customers want to know which suppliers are on their door step. With that, we’ve created a series of regional maps which highlight the geography of food and drink categories, for example, a customer in Edinburgh can see which dairy suppliers are within a 50 mile radius to them, or our customers in Inverness can see who the nearest biscuit supplier is to their city.
- Online recipes – by working with our in-house menu development chef, we’ve created a series of short recipe videos using Scottish food and drink. These really help to bring the food to life, and we’ve also paired recipes with Scottish drinks too.
- Accreditation schemes – these do help customers to clearly align their activities, and partner organisations like Visit Scotland with their Taste our Best, whereby 40% of the customers’ menu must include locally sourced ingredients, have really helped customers tell their food and drink story. In addition, our new partner Green Tourism provides an excellent accreditation that goes beyond local sourcing, and really does place sustainability at the forefront of the customers’ business activities.
Reduce, reuse recycle
In the UK alone, the amount of food wasted each year is the equivalent of 1.3 billion meals, with 34% of this coming from excess food on consumer plates. This is draining money from your business.
To avoid this consider your portion size, are they too big? Or could you offer more choice? E.g. a meal doesn’t have to automatically come with chips, let the customer decide. You can also start to cut down any waste with better planning when it comes to ordering, consider frozen fresh ingredients or add a daily specials menu to use all the leftovers you might have. This is also great for the creativity of your kitchen team.
When it comes to packaging, only buy from suppliers who reduce packaging or provide reusable or recyclable options. At Bidfood we work with suppliers who offer fully compostable packaging or reduced packaging as well as offering these products to our customers through Vegware, and in Scotland, we are promoting Vegware’s new ‘Close the Loop’ initiative to our customers.
Customer facing staff are key to communicating sustainability, so they need to be well-informed. Ensure your team are up-to-date on all things to do with the menu – including where the produce is from.
As part of our Source, Serve, Sustain campaign, we are launching a ‘Zero Carbon Workshop’ in the form of a webinar with our partners Green Tourism to provide pragmatic advice on how to switch to a more sustainable way of serving up great food. Training staff is an integral part of the chain, as you’ll need them on board to ensure you are actually being more sustainable.
By following some of these simple tips and techniques, your hotel business can switch to a greener way of working and reap the benefits.
In a bid to increase the green credentials of food producers and catering establishments across Scotland, one of the leading foodservice providers, Bidfood Scotland has launched its new sustainable initiative, “Source, Serve, Sustain”.
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