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Salutation Hotel reduces wasted food by 30% per cover

Catering to large parties can often lead to excess waste but Perth's Salutation Hotel is bucking the trend with some low-cost tweaks that yield big savings

Overview of results 

  • Food waste reduced through monitoring and better planning
  • Reduced food waste by as much as 36% per cover
  • Potential savings of £76,000 identified across the seven-hotel chain in a single year


When you’re catering for large groups of people, it might seem impossible to avoid waste. A monitoring trial at Perth's Salutation Hotel highlighted key actions that would help minimise wasted food on these occasions – for example, reducing buffet plate size and preparing food in smaller batches.

The trial was one of several across the UK set up by WRAP to identify where and how food, and money, was going to waste. With 84-bedrooms, a restaurant and bar/lounge – and one of a group of seven in Scotland and the North of England owned by the Strathmore Group – the Salutation was an ideal candidate.

Using a Winnows Solutions smart meter and digital scales, the hotel began to weigh plate and preparation waste as it was produced. The data was then collected on computer and analysed. This identified the buffet service, bar and main meals as the prime areas of food waste.

Armed with this information, the Salutation Hotel took steps to implement a number of simple and effective strategies to reduce food waste, which any hotel or restaurant can benefit from. This included:

  • Reducing buffet plate size from 10 to 9 inches. This encourages guests to take only what they will actually eat, knowing they can always go back for more.
  • Small-batch preparation. This is generally less wasteful than cooking large batches beforehand.
  • Matching delivery to customer numbers – reducing the food service towards the end of the buffet time when customer numbers decline is a big waste saver

The hotel’s chefs increased use of meat and vegetable trimmings in other dishes, such as soups and stocks, to reduce raw material waste. Regular menu reviews would to weed out slow-moving dishes, and create options with common ingredients.

Such innovations go unnoticed by guests, but realise substantial savings. Over a period of eight weeks, the hotel noted a 36 per cent reduction in food waste per cover. This may only be pennies per plate but it translates into a total saving of £10,900 per year.

“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,” says Gordon Paterson, general manager of the Salutation. “As a result, we were able to identify areas of food waste we could cut back on. Overall the trial has been very beneficial.”

The Strathmore Group was encouraged to build on this initial success by appointing a Green Champions Team to monitor and progress change, and roll out the ideas across the wider company.

To this latter end, WRAP supported the group to formulate new Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), an Action Plan, and a corporate waste procedure. Regular reviews would keep progress on track and encourage further innovations and savings.

Further food-conscious ideas include offering light bite versions of menu items, saving food and money while meeting an often-overlooked consumer demand. Simple portion control was exercised on items such as garnish, salad and chips.

Thanks to this intervention, the Strathmore group has identified a potential reduction in food waste of 29 tonnes per annum across all seven hotels. This would save them a soaring £76,000 per annum in food purchasing costs.


Free support to help reduce energy as well as food and drink waste

For energy efficiency support please email Zero Waste Scotland's Energy Efficiency Business Support Service.

For help to prevent food and drink waste, please email the Food and Drink team. 

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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