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Featured Profile

Hilton Milwaukee City Center

Executive Chef Leadership

509 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee WI. 53203
Event Space: 30,000 sq. ft.      |       Rooms: 729

Under the leadership of the Executive Chef, the Hilton Milwaukee City Center piloted a four-month food waste separation and measurement program across the property’s operations. Highlights from the hotel’s participation in the project are described below.


Built in 1927, the Hilton Milwaukee is a historic art deco property and the largest hotel in Milwaukee. Prior to joining the pilot program, the culinary team sought to reduce food prep waste, but the hotel was not actively separating its organics waste. Under the leadership of the Executive Chef, the property quickly ramped up a food waste pilot program. During the first four weeks of the program, the Chef monitored bin contamination (such as work gloves) throughout the day and held on-the-spot conversations with staff when he observed contamination issues or improper separation. By the end of the initial four-week period, all Culinary staff had successfully adopted the waste separation system and understood the importance of tracking wasted food.

The Executive Chef’s diligence in reinforcing key behavioral changes and discussing prevention strategies with staff led to successful reductions in per guest food waste over the course of the pilot project.


Balancing investment in production and labor against investment in waste reduction efforts is a key challenge that must be addressed in any new food waste program in order for the program to achieve long term success. The property also found it challenging to manage varied levels of understanding amongst staff, and to maintain awareness amongst temporary staff, overnight help, and non-Culinary staff, such as the Banquet and Stewarding teams.


The hotel does not currently donate overproduced food, as the property seeks to repurpose all leftover ingredients within the facility. The property does have a food donation program where meals are produced from scratch for donation to local shelters.

Next Steps

The Hilton Milwaukee City Center hopes to further explore opportunities to increase organics diversion, and seeks to establish a more formal and leadership-driven separation and measurement system to continue to make food waste management and prevention a priority.