PETALING JAYA: After years of getting a bad name for wasting food at buffets, Malaysians have finally begun to practise moderation.
Based on feedback from its members, Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) chief executive officer Reginald T. Pereira said there had been an increase in the number of cleared plates by diners.
Although Pereira was unable to give any figures, he attributed the improved trend to more moderate food intake among Malaysians after numerous awareness programmes.
Hotels too have been playing their part to decrease food wastage.
Pereira said hotels nowadays would prepare their buffets according to the number of reservations.
Restaurants and coffee houses that offered all-day dining have mostly adopted the open kitchen concept where food that is offered as part of the buffet is prepared in front of guests and as per the portion requested.
“There are also hotels that have invested in equipment where wet items can be processed into fertiliser.
“This is more for resorts that have a large landscape to maintain,” said Pereira.
Eastin Hotel Petaling Jaya executive chef Alex Leong esimated that about 70% of diners would take a reasonable amount of food as they were health-conscious.
Any extra food from the buffet would be sent to the staff cafeteria but great care had to be taken to ensure it was safe for consumption, he said.
Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa group director of marketing Farizal Jaafar found that customers were getting more conscious about food wastage and were now taking less food from the buffet line.
As for unsold food such as bread, Farizal said the hotel was a participant of the Roti 1Malaysia programme where leftover bread would be sent to the homes and shelters in the Klang Valley.
Malaysian Indian Restaurant Owners Association president Datuk R. Ramalingam Pillai said any leftover food would be given to the staff.
“We can usually gauge the number of patrons we get, so we will cook accordingly.
“For example, we usually get more diners at the end or beginning of the month after payday so we will cook more,” he said.
Ramalingam, who is the owner of the Lotus chain of restaurants, said his staff would serve an appropriate amount of food to patrons.
They will only serve additional servings if there are requests.
“It is wrong to waste or throw away food. We should appreciate what we have,” he said.