Monday Buzz: Hotels Tackle the Buffet

Turns out those convention buffets create a lot of food waste—something one hotel chain wants to fix. Also: How photo booths are getting social.

One of the biggest causes of food waste could eventually get a major rethink.

It’s all thanks to a partnership between the Hyatt hotel chain and the global design firm Ideo, which are collaborating on solutions to tackle the buffet, according to The New York Times.

After Ideo did a round of research at the Hyatt Regency in Orlando, Florida (a frequent home of the ASAE Great Ideas Conference, by the way), the two companies came to a surprising conclusion: Just half of the food in buffets, whether at the facility’s restaurants or during events, was actually eaten. And worse, just 10 to 15 percent of that unused food could be reused.

For a hotel as big as the Hyatt Regency Orlando, that adds up, big time—as it oversees 5,000 buffets at events each year.

“It was a shock,” Lawrence Eells, the hotel’s executive chef, told the newspaper. “The scope of the problem was an eye-opener beyond belief.”

Currently, Hyatt is using Ideo’s solutions to help rethink some of its dining options—for example, gathering more data on the foods conference-goers might want to eat or putting out finger pastries that can be reused, rather than cakes and pies that can’t.

The biggest challenge, per the Times, is discouraging customers from taking more than they’ll actually eat.

“People don’t want to be preached to as they are going through the breakfast buffet,” Pete Pearson, director of food waste at the World Wildlife Fund, told the Times. “At the same time, we shouldn’t allow people to stack everything on their plates and then just toss it away.”

Social Machines Get Busy

From vending machines to the social media–enabled photo booth, events are starting to get more digitally minded machines onsite.

Over at Event Tech Brief, Michelle Bruno highlights how these kinds of machines are helping to boost interactivity at conferences large and small.

Other Links of Note

Even if your content marketing team is a party of one, you can still score big wins. A recent post from the Sachs Marketing Group explains how.

Are more of your employees looking toward the door? At Inc., writer Kate Rockwood offers suggestions on how to help keep them on board at your company.

“Why is experiential learning superior to every other kind? In a word: feedback.” Meetings designer and facilitator Adrian Segar points out some smart thoughts on learning from consultant Jerry Weinberg.

(sol_studio/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!