- 20 September 2019
Food waste across the globe is a major issue, with one-third of food produced globally being wasted. One local Goulburn business is tackling the issue head on and actively making changes to reduce their food waste and save on costs.
In June, the Best Western Plus Goulburn signed up to Your Business is Food (YBIF) program, run by Regional Development Australia Southern Inland (RDA Southern Inland), in partnership with the Southern Region Business Enterprise Centre (SRBEC). The YBIF program is part of the Environment Protection Authority’s (EPA) state-wide YBIF program helping food businesses to reduce their food waste, by focusing on three key areas; plate waste, preparation waste and spoilage. Food businesses are asked to measure their food waste over a number of days, after which businesses will receive a customised implementation plan with 2-3 practical actions to tackle their food waste.
Vicki Rabjohns, owner of the Best Western Plus Goulburn, signed up the YBIF program and has led the food waste review. She noticed some particular food items like pizza slices, garlic bread, burger buns and chips, have been left on customer’s plates consistently and ended up in the bin.
“The staff do a lot of hard work and put out a lovely product, to see half of it go into the garbage bin is a bit disheartening,” said Vicki.
Customers agree too. The Love Food Hate Waste 2015 consumer’s social research found that half of NSW residents (49%) agree large portions of food are off-putting.
Immediately, the hotel reduced the size of their pizza bases by 10%, reduced the size of their sourdough burger bun and garlic bread and started to portion chips into a mesh basket rather than free handing them onto plates.
Vicki noted that their meals presented better to customers.
“It reinforces you don’t need a big ladle of mash potato when an elegant spoonful is more appealing.”
For their breakfast service, staff now provide guests with more choice as to how much food they receive, including the number of eggs or muffins they receive with their egg benedict.
Garnishes, like orange slices or lemon wedges that were regularly left uneaten by guests, were also reduced or completely removed.
“One of the big things from this program we learnt was that guests perceive wasted food as something they have paid for … they think there should have been less on my plate.”
Whilst plate waste was their main focus, Vicki also regularly monitors spoilage and preparation waste. Any major issues are always discussed with staff.
For other food businesses wanting to join the program or look at their food waste, Vicki has the following advice.
“Indulge yourself and get on board. You can only learn from it, it’s a little bit of time but it’s actually a great team building exercise. It increases pride in their work, pride in their presentation and it creates a bit of a competition to get those serving sizes just right.”
“You don’t want to put your profit into the bin,” said Vicki.
Businesses in the Southern Inland region interested in signing up to the program can Click Here or call 4822 6397.
Regional Development Australia Southern Inland's Your Business is Food program is supported by the NSW Government under the NSW EPA’s Love Food Hate Waste program which is part of Waste Less Recycle More, funded from the waste levy.