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Restaurants and hotels can learn from each other on sustainability, says SRA

By Peter Ruddick , 27-Feb-2012

Related topics: Business, Venues, Events & Awards, People, Restaurants, Hotels, Pubs & Bars

Restaurants and hotels can learn from what both sectors already do well on sustainability and responsibility for the industry to progress on environmental issues, according to Mark Linehan of the Sustainable Restaurant Association who was speaking at Hotelympia 2012.

Restaurants still have more to do to catch up with hotels on sustainability, according to the Sustainable Restaurant Association speaking at an event at Hotelympia 2012

Restaurants still have more to do to catch up with hotels on sustainability, according to the Sustainable Restaurant Association speaking at an event at Hotelympia 2012

Linehan made the point during an event at The Stage on the first day of the hospitality industry gathering at the ExCel centre in London during an event entitled ‘Creating a Responsibly Hospitality Business’, which also saw Rebecca Hawkins of the Hospitality Responsibility Partnership and John Firrell of the Considerate Hoteliers Association giving their views on the subject.

Hotel catch-up

Responding to a question about whether the industry could afford to be sustainable in the current economic climate, Linehan said that hospitality businesses as a whole had to ask if they could afford not to.

He said that on food sourcing many restaurants, including those that have received the sought-after three stars from the SRA, could teach hotels the best way to proceed. In the same way, on energy saving, hotels had, in some aspects, led the way and restaurants could pick up tips from them.

Speaking to BigHospitality after the event, Linehan said that in certain aspects it had been easier for hotels to make the move into some forms of sustainability than restaurants as people spent more time in hotels and there was a different customer expectation relationship than in restaurants.

“I think there is also an issue to do with the amount of money that hotels spend on things like energy and water and waste and it just being something that for longer they have been aware of and being aware of the savings they can get,” he said.

One area where hotels had led the way, Linehan said, was in cutting water waste from washing by encouraging guest to show which towels they had used. Another area that restaurants were leading the way, Linehan added, was on the responsible sourcing of fish.

Rebecca Hawkins

Before the group took to the stage, Hawkins spoke to BigHospitality at the Waste Works stand of the Hotelympia exhibitors section and said in many ways hospitality businesses had more of the journey to make on sustainability than had already been made.

“My top three tips – the first one would be making sure you keep measuring and managing energy waste water. My second tip would be certainly keeping an eye on what the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) are trying to do because they are looking at developing a waste agreement with the industry and that has potential for quite significant waste savings. And my third tip would be don’t forget to communicate well with customers,” she said.

Hospitality businesses are being encouraged to sign a pledge to commit to cutting their energy usage at the Waste Works stand at Hotelympia or online . A calculator has been developed to show businesses the potential savings that could be made by agreeing to a pledge – for example by swapping to low energy LED alternatives from halogen lamps.

Other points made at the event included:

  • Customer expectations would lead the debate – many might be surprised to know restaurants are not compelled to recycle
  • Kitchen porters often understand food waste, in particular surplus food, more than head chefs
  • Supporting local businesses and cutting food miles did not always lead to purchasing food that had wasted less energy

Elsewhere on Day 1 of Hotelympia 2012:

  • Simon Hulstone and Team England were just pipped to the post in the WACS Global Chefs Challenge at the Live Competition section of the Salon Culinaire. Hulstone picked up the first runner-up in the competition’s semi-final, while team Norway took the top prize. Norway will now head to the final in South Korea in May.
  • The junior version of the challenge, The Hans Bueschkens Trophy was won by Sweden.
  • Sophie Wright and Sudha Saha were among chefs showing off their ability at The Skillery.
  • The London 2012 Olympics and TripAdvisor were also discussed on The Stage.

You can view exclusive videos from Rebecca Hawkins and Mark Linehan as well as photos of the Simon Hulstone entry and other exclusive content from the BigHospitality team at Hotelympia 2012 via our page on Facebook , keep up to date with the latest by following us on Twitter and discuss the points that have been made in our LinkedIn group .

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