Waste Lists and Why Bed and Breakfasts Should be Using Them


What is a waste list? A waste list is generally a clipboard of paper, or a log book stored in the kitchen that tracks what food products are thrown away on a daily and weekly basis.

This list should include any food that is returned from a guest’s plate. not just food product overages and expired products, it should include anything noted at all that’s extra on a plate when it’s returned to the kitchen, extra sauce, extra butter, etc.

I know some Bed and Breakfasts who utilize waste lists, but not many that actually carry it one step further and analyse them on a monthly and yearly basis.

Why keep track of what comes back on a guest’s plate? $$$$$$

Yes it’s time consuming, but the time it takes it to track, more than makes back what you save on costs.

A real life example from a B&B:

A five-room B&B has 40% occupancy or (39.45% if you want to nitpick) with 720 out of the 1,825 available room nights they have available booked for the year. 8 single travelers and 52 couples (104) = 112 people on average per month as guests.

A pineapple throughout the year ranges in price seasonally from $2.00-$5.00, so on a yearly average we will call it $3.50 per pineapple. Each pineapple yields an average of 10 slices, coming to .35 per slice

Each plate has a garnish of a slice of pineapple, two strawberries and another piece of assorted fruit in season.

112 people a month

40 of them don’t eat the pineapple

40 X .35 = $14.00 per month = $168 per year

Because we are costing by the slice and not by utilized product we are not going to take into account unusable product (the peel and stem).

$168.00 per year could have been spent on a couple of sets of sheets for guest rooms.

Another real life example from a B&B:

A 10 room Bed and Breakfast has 55% percent occupancy, So 2081 room nights sold out of the 3650 available a year. This B&B is primarily a romantic destination, so 99% of their guests are couples, so 2060 of the rooms have couples (4120 people) and 21 single travelers, primarily male. 4141 guests, appropriately 2100 are males.

The B&B placed on every two top (table for two) a 6 oz. small pitcher of high-grade maple syrup. (As of this past June, the National average price of maple syrup was $37.40 per gallon. In the case of this B&B in CT, maple syrup was about double that. We will take the national average in this case for the example. http://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/New_England_includes/Publications/0605mpl.pdf) 6 oz of maple syrup at .29 cents an ounce = $1.74 per table.

Statistically, women used 2 oz of the maple syrup and the men used the rest of the 4 oz of maple syrup, overpouring on their plates more syrup than needed or used. The B&B started using a waste list and started noting that the vast majority of the men’s plates would be returned to the kitchen with an excess of syrup on them. They switched over from one 6 oz. pitcher per table to 2, 2 oz. pitchers per table, in the course of a year, they only had 2 people ask for additional syrup.

2100 people wasting 2 oz of syrup each previously. 4200 oz at .29 = $1218.00 a year.

These are only a couple of examples, but if you have 15 small things like this that are small amounts and small costs on average, they add up.

Once you start keeping a waste list you’ll start to pay attention to the small things that don’t pop out at you on a daily basis. Pay attention to the plates! And write it down.

The average restaurant has on average over 250 small things they can do to reduce food costs, I’ll put B&Bs on an average of 15.  But even that 15 adds up.

To use the pineapple as a low-end of the spectrum example, $168.00 per year X 15 small things= $2520.00.

To use the high (and I’m going to half the 10 room B&B to a 5 room) Maple syrup,  $609 per year X 15 small things = $9135.00

That’s a lot of bed sheets that could have been bought.


About Chef Forfeng

Innkeeping Tip and Tricks: Please check out some marketing ideas for Inns and B&Bs, Blogging ideas, Facebook Tips and Social Media Tutorials https://chefforfeng.wordpress.com/marketing-for-lodging-resources/
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5 Responses to Waste Lists and Why Bed and Breakfasts Should be Using Them

  1. Hilary Jones says:

    Great article Heather. Definitely food for thought (pun intended!)

  2. Audrey says:

    True we don’t get to get away very often ! haha But that is very interesting.. I have made changes
    too and certainly pays to watch. Good points Chef Forfeng !

  3. Bedsheets haha – how about a *cruise*.

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