Reduction of food waste generation in the hospitality industry

Sanaa I. Pirani, Hassan A. Arafat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

201 Scopus citations


In this study, we examined the current status of food waste management in the hospitality sector, taking the United Arab Emirates, in general, and Abu Dhabi, in particular, as examples. We specifically studied the for-profit subdivision of the hospitality sector, comprising primarily of hotels and restaurants. First, we surveyed the management staff of 45 hotels/restaurants, in order to understand how much food waste is generated and how food service operations can impact food waste production within these establishments. Then, we carried out materials flow analyses to investigate how the amounts of food waste generated varied at the different steps of the food service chain, and what factors contributed most significantly to these amounts. Water and carbon footprints of the disposed food waste at some of the events monitored were also calculated for benchmarking. We found that the factors contributing most significantly to food waste generation include serving style and timing, type of food served, and the prediction accuracy of the number of expected customers. To account for the interplay of these various parameters, a performance indicator, named the FRESH number, was introduced to rate the sustainability of food service within the hospitality sector. Finally, based on our findings, we recommended a number of minimization strategies for food waste in the hospitality sector. Simple but effective strategies, which involve the cooperation of the hotel/restaurant staff and the guests, can lead to a drastic decrease in global food waste generation.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)129-145
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2016


  • Carbon footprint
  • Food waste
  • Hospitality sector
  • Materials flow analysis
  • Sustainability
  • United Arab Emirates


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