Is hotel serving party leftovers?
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Is hotel serving party leftovers?

SERVING STALE food fresh seems to be part of a smart waste management specialty with majority of city hotels and restaurants.

india Updated: Feb 02, 2006 00:36 IST

SERVING STALE food fresh seems to be part of a smart waste management specialty with majority of city hotels and restaurants.

Leftover food from banquets and hotel marriages is served within two days as fresh as cooked just a while ago, a food and beverage manager of a prominent city hotel told HT Live on condition of anonymity.

“The rising cost of raw inventory be it meat, vegetables, masalas or other cooking ingredients such as permitted colours for food and artificial flavours have made many hoteliers and restaurant owners preserve leftover food from banquets in large frozen containers or what is known as hot warmers for at least two days,” he says and adds prepared dishes are so well preserved that they retain their taste and colour.

Barring certain food items made from chicken which are preserved for longer periods, there is virtually no cooked food left beyond two days for customers, he said.

President of Uttar Pradesh Hotel & Restaurant Association (UPHRA) B K Gupta disagrees and says: “There is no scope of any food getting wasted in hotels. We are in the food business. How can one expect us to leave any scope for leftover food in hotel business?” he said.

Many hoteliers in Baroda in Gujarat follow a system of giving away party leftovers to NGOs who distribute them to the poor. In the United States, a large number of hotels also give away leftover food to NGO for consumption by the poor in various US cities.

So how do smart hoteliers preserve the leftover food?

They keep the food in hot warmers maintained at a certain temperature round-the–clock. These hot warmers contain electrical heating systems which keep water boiling below the containers kept a few inches higher from the boiling water, the manager added. But, are not party leftovers consumed by the hotel staff? No. The majority of staff members actually do not consume the food served to customers!

A separate menu is designed for the hotel staff which has simple dal, sabzi and roti. Almost all hoteliers and restaurant owners have a very smartly controlled inventory management system which is based on precise calculations. If there is a booking for a banquet in a hotel or restaurant for 100 persons, the chefs know how much of food would be required and how much would have to be preserved as leftover.

In preparing every banquet food all calculations are based on the amount of snacks and beverages booked by the clients to be served before lunch or dinner.

“The staff of small hotels and restaurants should be trained in waste management even if no food is getting wasted in any hotel,” Secretary General of Lucknow Hotel and Restaurant Association Rajeshwar Agarwal says.

First Published: Feb 02, 2006 00:36 IST