When running a hotel kitchen, there’s always room for improvement – whether it’s through reducing workplace injuries, meeting sustainability requirements, or simply cutting costs to increase your bottom line. In the quest for a smarter hotel kitchen, the following strategies will help you create a safer, more sustainable, and more profitable kitchen.
One of the biggest hazards in a hotel kitchen is cooking oil. The incidents involving cooking oil not only include burns but also slips, falls, and back strains. Manually handling the oil is often the culprit, especially when employees have to empty and dispose of fryer oil. Employees must frequently carry heavy, oil-laden stockpots and maneuver from the fryer through a crowded kitchen, out the back door, and across an alleyway or parking lot where they can finally dispose of oil, sometimes still at temperatures as high as 300 degrees Fahrenheit. During this hazardous journey, the potential for accidents and injuries is sky high.
An effective way to drastically reduce these incidents is to use a closed-loop oil management system. The system works by storing fresh oil and used oil in closed containers directly connected to a kitchen’s fryers by hoses. Companies providing closed-loop oil management systems pick up used oil and deliver fresh oil on an as-needed basis. This type of system eliminates the need for kitchen employees to handle or transport oil, immediately creating a safer work environment.
Increasingly, a hotel’s level of commitment to the environment and sustainability is a determining factor when guests choose where to stay and dine. There are several ways a hotel kitchen can reduce their environmental footprint, including the following strategies:
Invest in energy-efficient appliances. If your kitchen has been using the same refrigerators, freezers, ovens, and cooktops for the last several years, it’s time for an upgrade. Energy-efficient appliances can save commercial kitchens as much as $4,800 a year in energy costs, according to EPA’s ENERGY STAR program.
Stay on top of regular maintenance. A small leak or drip here and there might not seem like a big deal, until you realize those minor maintenance issues could cost hundreds of dollars per year. A leak of only two-tenths of a gallon per minute can waste 100,000 gallons of water a year.
Participate in a cooking oil recycling program. These programs take used cooking oil and recycle it into biodiesel. Participating in an oil recycling program not only reduces environmental contamination caused by discarded oil, but also eliminates cardboard and plastic packaging that would otherwise end up in a landfill. Hotel kitchens can easily institute an oil recycling program simply by installing a closed-loop oil management system. The used oil is automatically taken for recycling upon pickup.
Efficiency equals profitability. A great place to start is with an audit of your standard operating procedures. As mentioned above, a kitchen’s use of cooking oil is a major area that can be streamlined. Increase efficiency by gathering data about your kitchen’s oil use with data management tools. When used in conjunction with a closed-loop system, these tools can tell you how much oil is being used while reducing the cost of repair and maintenance for oil filtration equipment, as well as the cost of oil disposal.
Safety, sustainability, and efficiency all add up to a smarter hotel kitchen. What’s more, they result in better food quality and flavor, which improve your hotel restaurant’s reputation and business and, ultimately, your bottom line.
About the Author
Jeff Kiesel is the Chief Executive Officer of Restaurant Technologies.