A number of restaurants and hotels throughout Qatar are attempting to reduce the amount of waste food they produce by engaging in new methods of cooking or even by participating in schemes to reuse their waste.
With the global financial crisis and international food security issues facing the world, the question of unnecessary wastage of food has been raised by a number of visitors to some of the luxurious dining facilities, where large amounts of leftover food are often produced.
With many restaurants offering buffet services, and most of the hotels in Qatar laying on extensive brunch spreads at the weekends, there is obviously a surplus of food provided to ensure that guests have the choice of food to which they have now become accustomed.
Gulf Times spoke to representatives of a number of hotels and restaurants to ask about the amount of waste they are producing, and how they have attempted to reduce their output of wasted food.
A representative from Ponderosa restaurant explained that the buffet-based facility ends up wasting an average of QR6,000 worth of food per month, but with constraints on health, safety and hygiene, they are forced to discard this amount of waste.
The Caravan restaurant has a similar problem, but they have countered this by keeping tighter controls on how many dishes the chef prepares for the buffet, meaning that on average they only have to discard between a half to a full portion of each dish per evening.
The supervisor at the restaurant also explained that they allow the employees to help themselves to whatever they wish at the end of the evening shift.
This seems to be a popular trend throughout the restaurants, as they allow their members of staff to take home the left over food after service, both helping their employees and also reducing the amount of food that will simply be discarded.
A representative of the Ramada Plaza explained that this is also the case with the buffet offerings at the hotel, as health and safety laws in Qatar dictate that food must be discarded after leaving the kitchen.
He said general waste is not too high, as private functions are catered for on a numbered basis, and most of the restaurants have a la carte menus.
After the buffets have been served, employees are allowed to help themselves before any leftovers are discarded, he said, explaining that an actually figure of how much waste is produced was not available.
However, he added that private function often result in the hosts requesting the hotel to provide their leftovers to their home to feed their staff for example, and this is something he claimed can be arranged.
Gulf Times also spoke to a representative of the Ritz Carlton, who explained that the hotel will be implementing a programme in conjunction with Unesco to provide their waste food to local livestock on the numerous farms here.
The hotel is also postponing its daily buffet offerings, changing to an a la carte menu during the summer months but still maintaining its weekly Friday brunch service.
“These are aimed at reducing the amount of waste, and also salvaging some of the unfortunate waste we produce,” said the representative, who claimed that the programme is scheduled to be implemented in the coming months.
In general, restaurant staff and managers claimed that customers have become more aware of the amount they order, and seem to have become less likely to order ridiculous amounts of food, simply to walk off and leave after a few cursory bites.
But this does still occur, and staff encouraged their customers to be sensible with their orders whilst pointing out that in most instances, it is possible to ask for a ‘doggy bag’ in which to take any leftovers home and reduce waste.
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