New app to help UAE hotels save $30,000 a year

Winnow founder Zornes said 6 new sites to go live in the UAE, to set up regional HQ in Dubai

Marc Zornes, founder, Winnow.

Marc Zornes, founder, Winnow.

Large hotels in the UAE can save over $30,000 (AED110,100) per annum in food costs, according to the founder of the app Winnow, which operates as a smart meter to monitor and weigh food waste.

At present, the UK-based Winnow is operating in five hotels in Dubai and one in Doha, with six new contracts in the UAE to go live in the coming months.

“We typically deliver three to eight percent food cost savings for the sites we work with.  So in monetary terms for larger hotels, this is usually $30,000 pa (per annum) and higher in food cost savings alone” Marc Zornes, founder of Winniow, told Arabian Business.

“You can typically add 50 percent to these benefits by considering the labour and utility savings,” he added.

The company is already in discussions with a number of hotel groups and contract caterers in the Gulf region, Zornes disclosed, without giving names.

“We are having a number of open conversations with hotels from other countries such as Qatar, Oman, and Saudi Arabia, but our focused is to get 10 to 20 sites live in the UAE before expanding our focus to the rest of the region,” he said.

Last month, the UAE Food Bank project was launched as part of the 'Year of Giving' initiative. The non-profit charitable organisation has been set up to distribute food to those in need and eliminating food waste to make Dubai the first city in the Middle East to achieve zero food waste.

Reports by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) have put the total cost of food wastage at around $1 trillion.

While Winnow started operating “remotely” in the UAE six months ago, the company is working on establishing a regional office in Dubai.

“We are setting up an office in Dubai at the moment. We plan on using Dubai as our hub to support our growth in the GCC and MENA and the Dubai Future Accelerators programme is supporting us in the process," said Zornes.

Explaining the technology, Winnow founder said the app provides visibility of the cost of waste to the staff and analytics to help the chef identify and drive efficiency opportunities.

“The first way we drive change is by showing staff how much food is costing as it is wasted. This heightened awareness of the cost of waste has an impact itself on driving behaviour change,” he added.

Cloud analytics then help the executive chef and his team to identify where they should focus to reduce waste and improve profitability. The process allows the staff to save time by preparing less food and water and energy consumption in the kitchen.

Zornes, however, said most hotels in Dubai normally don’t measure the waste they produce.

“Some operators do measure waste manually on pen and paper, but this is often inadequate. A significant portion of what is wasted in the kitchen is missed and the data is rarely analysed.

“We see the opportunity in deploying our technology to hotels to help them reduce waste. We’re saving our clients three to eight percent of their food costs on implementation,” he added.

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