You can browse any website of most major hotel (management) companies, you won’t fail to find a statement about a commitment to environmental sustainability. Today there is one new reality in business: don’t neglect the environment. And this is for Apple as important as for the next small hotel.
But how serious is it to the hospitality companies?
The issue here is, that most hotels and restaurants don’t serve as a great enemy stereotype for environmental protection groups. These companies are not traded and supported by big hedge fond banks, they don’t usually accrue billions of dollars cash and so on.
And at this point, they are still quite a (domestic) big job provider.
But for me it is particularly despicable, to claim to care for environment, but at the end, “you” just don’t!
There are few examples, but not one is s glaring (at least in Dubai) than the Friday brunch.
So what is it about?
Friday brunch is the Middle-East approximation of Sunday brunch. On the guest side, it is all about gluttonous indulgences. Eat and drink as much as you want for a more or less reasonable package price.
For the hotel it is already quite puzzling: due to the extreme competition, the hotels have to bring their A game. That means lobster, tenderloin, rib steaks, foie gras and sushi. The real issue is here: there is very little profitability. You might ask, why are the hotels doing it?
My answer is: I really don’t really know. There might be some misconceptions, that people who are visiting the hotel for brunch, are coming back – and that brunch is a great marketing vehicle. But if you have a glimpse of critical thinking, this is quickly debunked. Yes – maybe some guests are coming back, but those will hardly balance the expenses. Moreover due to the excessive competition in hospitality, people can choose very carefully, where to go. And brunch would be one of their least consideration.
But the real casualty is the environment. See – the original brunch was pretty good, for the environment, as chefs used the preparations/“leftovers” from the week and sold it all on the weekend – hence they didn’t needed to waste food. But nowadays it is exactly the opposite: Chefs are preparing a huge amount of food solely for brunch. And after brunch a lot of great food goes into the garbage bin.
Food waste is pretty bad in several ways: it fills (unnecessarily) landfills around the world. It also increases the food production, basically for nothing – which uses up more resources (water, soil, use of more fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides etc). And especially in Dubai it is increases additionally massively the carbon footprint (as most produce has to be imported from long distance production areas).
In my eyes it looks like that: only because owners and senior management teams think that there is a hidden benefit of offering brunch, each hotel wasting using tons of carbon dioxide emissions, hundred thousand of liters of water, thousand of liters of fossil fuels and thousands of tons of waste (which is also often not even recycled or separated)!
I do understand, how difficult it is sometimes to act environmentally responsible; and often the resistance to change and the inconvenience can be so big, that it is a tough sell, to do something serious for more sustainability. However in this case, hotels going through great lengths and effort to offer “a promotion” which actively makes a lot of things worse (at least for the environment).
The frustrating part is, that there is an alternative, which might be more profitable, more sustainable and might become even more popular: offering an a la carte brunch (or late breakfast). Let people decide, what they would like to eat, and for good value for money prices charge, what they are ordering. As everything is made to order, there is far less wastage, the guest might even spend less money – it might be not as lavish and gluttonous, but it is more sustainable, better for the environment and especially better for the health of the guests.