Photo courtesy of https://www.regiomanager.de/
International Hospitality Chain
Van der Valk
Van der Valk might very well be the most well-known restaurant-hotel chain in the Netherlands. When travelling in the Netherlands by car, you will undoubtedly pass by one of their toucans, shining on the rooftop of one of their venues. With almost hundred hotels worldwide, it’s a very successful family business that surely became a famous name. It’s also particularly famous for their value for money, high and stable quality level and extensive number of meal choices that are suitable for large groups of friends, colleagues and families. Van der Valk is concerned about and highly focused on their guests, which is why they are always open to further improve the health and sustainable character of their dishes.
Van der Valk’s guests are increasingly interested in healthy and sustainable dishes, but expect the same quality they are used to at Van der Valk locations. Van der Valk took up the challenge to adjust the offer on their buffets with the aim of reducing the environmental impact and food waste. The biggest challenge is to adapt the buffet so that the guests continue to enjoy their meal and experience the ‘Van der Valk experience’ as they are used to.
With these adjustments to the buffet, Greendish has shown that vegetable consumption can be increased by 90% and meat consumption can be reduced by 10%. The fact that guest satisfaction increased with the new adjustments was the confirmation Van der Valk needed to implement the greenifying of buffets on a large scale. This study is a follow-up of the research with a la carte dishes, showing the success of greenified dishes in a buffet setting for guests, profit and planet.
In collaboration with Greendish, Wageningen University and Research and Louis Bolk Institute, an innovative study was carried out at the Hoorn location of Van der Valk restaurants. During the research, the range of vegetarian dishes was increased, the range of meat dishes reduced and the salad bar at the buffet was made more attractive. This is one of the first studies dealing with optimizing vegetable choices in a buffet setting that takes into account waste and guest satisfaction. Since guests are free to boast what they want in a buffet setting, it is not possible to check portion sizes, as opposed to an a-la-carte situation. Therefore, the main challenge here is to encourage and tempt guests to choose more vegetables and less meat from the buffet.
Food intake of 1312 guests was measured at baseline and intervention, of which 542 guests also completed a survey. Attention has been paid to consumption, waste and guest satisfaction. We used our Sustainable Menu Engineering service to green the buffet. After the adjustment, more vegetarian dishes and fewer meat dishes were served. Also, the salad bar included more varied vegetables of higher quality.
Because of the greenified buffet, guests ate much more vegetables and slightly less meat than they would at the regular buffet. In addition, guests were more satisfied with the buffet presentation, with a slight increase in the satisfaction in taste and variety of the offered salads and warm vegetables that were served. In addition, the amount of food waste remained the same in comparison with the total consumption.