The opulent Armani hotel in Dubai is using data analytics to tackle leftovers, saving 117,000 meals per year. Rose Dykins reports

Housed within the Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest artificial structure – is the Armani hotel Dubai, with designer furnishings, a dedicated “Lifestyle Manager” for each guest and world-class fine-dining restaurants.

Despite the indulgent vibe you would expect from a luxury hotel in the UAE, the Armani Dubai has been recognised for its commitment to minimising waste – in particular from its kitchens.

Through its partnership with technology firm Winnow, the hotel’s culinary team now automatically measures the amount of food that ends up in the bin, and receives actionable data that helps chefs reduce overproduction in the future.

The result is a 47 per cent drop in their food waste – the equivalent of saving 117,000 meals per year – and an estimated yearly financial saving of AED 148,000 (£31,575).

How does it work?

The Winnow System – essentially a set of digital scales and a tablet – is connected to the cloud. The culinary teams then received daily reports that highlight where waste is occurring, so they can adjust their operations to be more efficient and sustainable.

Ignacio Ramirez, Winnow’s managing director MENA, said: “We are on a mission to connect the commercial kitchen, create a movement of chefs and inspire others to see that food is too valuable to waste.”

Chris Newman, chief operating officer of Emaar Hospitality Group [which Armani Dubai Hotel is part of] said: “Some of the environmental and social challenges faced here have come about from perhaps an abundance of everything here in Dubai and the UAE particularly. The subject of wastage is something that’s gaining more and more importance.”

Since implementing the Winnow System, the Armani hotel has been awarded the Green Globe Certification – cementing its commitment to sustainable practices. The technology is now used in 12 Emaar properties, where the teams have successfully cut food waste by 56 per cent, saving over AED1.5 million annually (£322,748).

In addition, in line with the UAE’s commitment to cutting food waste by 50 per cent by 2030, the Armani hotel Dubai is also composting its waste food and making donations to the UAE Food Bank. 

Which other hotels are fighting food waste?

It’s encouraging to see luxury hotels increasingly taking action to prevent waste. For example, in 2016, Marriott International pledged to reduce the food waste across its global properties by 50 per cent by 2025.

And this month, the Langham London teamed up with food waste app Karma, which lets restaurants advertise their waste food so that consumers can order it via the app and collect it.

The hotel is donating leftover sandwiches, pastries and scones from its famous afternoon tea for half price to those who purchase via Karma, with all proceeds going to The Felix Project, a charity that works with food suppliers and charities to reduce food waste and food poverty. 

Meanwhile, new hotel Salt of Palmar in Mauritius has scrapped the lavish (and highly wasteful) breakfast buffet in favour of a la carte cuisine made from home-grown ingredients.