Running a restaurant means more than just getting good food out to your patrons and serving drinks. It also means managing every aspect of the restaurant both internally and externally, while reducing costs and eliminating waste wherever possible. With the cost of energy rising consistently across the country, managing and reducing this expense in every possible way is more important than ever. The whole idea of “green” or “energy efficient” appliances and ideals is to yes help the environment, but even more so to reduce costs. Here we’ll look at some of the best ways you can reduce your energy costs and consumption and increase the profitability of your restaurant in a way that has little or nothing to do with the food you serve.
Why Use Less Energy?
There are a number of different benefits to going green for all businesses, let alone restaurants which tend to use more electricity than your typical brick and mortar business. Reducing your energy use lowers your carbon footprint, your local pollution, and also will reduce your daily/monthly/yearly energy costs. Many appliances are certified Energy Star today and that means they use 30% less energy than other leading appliances of the same variety. So, even though you cannot control the specific cost of energy at any location, you can control how much of that energy you use to certain degrees. Lighting, heating/air conditioning, refrigerating, stove/oven usage, coffee machines, soda machines, and so on, all consume energy and by going green you can reduce the costs to these restaurant staples.
Consider also the marketing advantages. Informing your patrons and the local marketplace that you’re striving to use less energy to improve air quality or help reduce your carbon footprint, can get you good publicity and acknowledgment from the public and your patrons. Customers favor Eco-friendly businesses and restaurants, so be sure to take advantage of public opinion in this while reducing your monthly bills.
Best Ways To Reduce Energy Costs:
1. Energy Efficient (Energy Star) Equipment & Appliances
Nowadays, technology is more efficient and upgrading an outdated appliance like refrigerator to a modern energy efficient Energy Star qualified machine is a great way to reduce costs. These business expenses are both tax write-offs and also reduce your bills, it’s essentially a win win. Not to mention more modern appliances will be better suited for today’s needs.
2. Lighting Efficiency
Using energy efficient lighting is another great way to reduce energy consumption. Be sure to switch to LED, CFL, or halogen light bulbs which use less energy than traditional bulbs. But also consider this, utilizing lighting planning as well. A well placed and directed bulb will light a larger area than simply having vertical lights, so be sure to plan your lighting directions as well.
3. Maintain Equipment & Appliances
Keeping things well maintained and clean will also make a difference. Think of a highly used refrigerator that over the years has become energy inefficient simply because it has not been properly cleaned and maintained. It’s like keeping your car oil changes regular, the car will run more efficiently and last longer, the same goes for many kitchen appliances.
4. Use Less Heat/AC
You may not be able to completely shut the heat off if you’re based in a colder climate, but you can control the temperature of dish washing water. Most standards are roughly 140-150 degrees Fahrenheit. Use the mandatory minimum, and improve the layout of the dish washing stations so that there is less water waste. Look to use fans and windows as opposed to high air conditioning all day, depending on your location. Wood fires or stand alone gas heating lamps are also a great way to spot increase temperature without having to heat all square footage of an area.
5. Use Less Water
Water is also an energy cost, and having efficient cleaning in place to reduce water consumption in cleaning and dish washing is important.
6. Bathroom Efficiency
Bathrooms also use a lot of water and energy. You can install no flush or low flush toilets, automatic sink faucets so no water can be left on accidentally, and energy efficient hand dryers. These will reduce energy consumption as well.
7. Teach and Train Staff
Make sure everyone both in the front and the back of the house understand the importance of energy efficiency. Not only for the profitability of the restaurant which is important to everyone if they want to keep their job, but also for the local and global environment. Things like making sure lights and appliances that can be are shut off. Doors and windows are properly closed, the correct energy efficient lights are used and purchased, are all ways to do this. Shutting off idle equipment is another one. If service is over for example coffee service, then the machines can be cleaned and turned off.
8. Computer/Printers/Point of Sale/Touch Screens
Here is another area that restaurants can reduce their energy consumption. Not all screens, computers, and technology machines are as energy efficient as others. More modern equipment will typically use less energy, so be sure you’re screens and TV’s are Energy Star or energy efficient certified. Consider for a sports bar with over 10 television screens the cost reduction with energy efficient as opposed to wasteful TV’s.
9. Make Realistic Energy Reduction Goals
By contacting your utility company directly you can get a better idea of your daily, weekly, and monthly energy consumption and the make small and implementable goals over time on how to reduce that. By keeping track of your consumption you can see where there were spikes and figure out why. You can also see how updated or new equipment does actually use less energy. Basically, the more you know the better you can adjust your consumption and usage.
These are not overly complicated or shocking ways in which you can easily and immediately start to reduce your restaurants energy usage. In todays world where people are more aware of global environmental concerns and waste, showing how you’re trying to do your part to make a difference can help make your patrons life long customers.
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