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Double Down on Casino Food Waste Reduction with Smart Equipment

May 3, 2019
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How to Double Down on Reducing Casino Food Waste

In recent years, the trend in food waste reduction has gained traction throughout the food service industry, and casinos across the country are taking note. Some of the most well-known casinos, such as the MGM Resorts and Caesar’s Place in Las Vegas, are undergoing major efforts to cut back on food waste. As awareness of the issue grows, casinos continue to seek ways to increase their winnings by minimizing food waste costs.

Considering what they have to gain, it’s understandable that they’re making this a priority. Here are some of the go-to strategies casinos can use to make sure their restaurants have the house advantage.

Bet on smart equipment.
When assessing how to reduce food waste, start in the kitchen. Thanks to innovative technology, smart kitchen equipment ensures staff isn’t throwing away food unnecessarily. Since many of the latest commercial ovens come with precision cooking features, restaurants can avoid waste due to mistakes. Features like programmable recipe settings, and auto-load and unload capabilities minimize the chance of overcooking (and throwing away) food. Customizable settings also give operators the flexibility to cook just the right amount.

Reimagine buffets.
Buffets are the name of the game in casino restaurants. But since “all-you-can-eat” can turn into “all-you-CAN’T-eat,” it’s important for restaurants to re-evaluate their buffet approach. Luckily, there are a lot of small changes that can make a big difference in reducing waste.

For starters, modern buffet equipment such as induction warmers can keep large amounts of food at optimal serving temperatures for longer, which reduces buffet throw-away. Another useful tactic is using smaller serving plates. People tend to fill their plates at buffets, but frequently, their eyes are bigger than their stomachs and they can’t finish. Smaller plates encourage smaller serving sizes, which can mean less waste. Finally, the buffet doesn’t always need to be open; adjusting the hours to match peak meal times can help to ensure food won’t go to waste.

Track usage.
If casinos aren’t watching, they could rack up food waste costs without even realizing it. And even worse, if they’re not tracking inventory and adjusting orders accordingly, they’re losing money on an ongoing basis. If they’re serious about reducing waste, casinos need to ramp up their tracking efforts and get their staff on board. While there will be some waste that isn’t feasible to track, to the extent possible, kitchen staff should document how much of each product is thrown away and why. These comprehensive tracking efforts take additional time, but the investment is worth it. If casinos understand why the waste is happening, they can make effective changes to save on costs.

Donate excess food.
The ultimate goal is to eliminate food waste costs, but the reality is that it’s not a perfect science, and customers won’t eat everything. Casinos want to minimize leftovers, but inevitably they’re going to have some, so it’s worthwhile considering alternatives to throwing them away. Major Las Vegas casinos are leading the charge on this. For example, MGM Resorts has implemented a “food rescue” program, where they’re donating surplus banquet food to charities. While they’re serving the greater good, they’re also focused on reducing kitchen waste as much as possible.

Increase the odds of success.
By using these strategies, casinos can see measurable bottom-line results. In fact, they can reduce their food waste by as much as 40 percent! And not only that, but considering the growing concern of food waste among consumers, these efforts don’t go unnoticed. Not only are they good for profits, they’re good for public perception.

Ready to score a winning hand at food waste reduction? Learn about the Ovention difference today!