Quick Fixes and Energy Management: You Can’t Ignore Either One

Energy Management in Restaurants

We know you have thoughts about how to reduce your restaurant’s or franchise’s energy costs…and that you keep making efforts to do it. We also know you have multiple other demands on your time, including your primary mission of providing customers with the best food, the best service, and the best price.

But sooner or later, most owner-operators or managers start to consider a serious, concerted campaign to reduce energy costs. Probably because they know, from many sources, that savings of up to 25 percent of energy costs are possible.

And that for restaurants operating on a modest profit margin, savings like that can add significantly to the bottom line year after year.

When you do “get serious” about energy costs, there are two ways of tackling the problem. To focus on either one to the exclusion of the other is a mistake.

Right-Now Quick Fixes

One focus is on “quick fixes,” things you can do immediately, with little or no capital investment.

Yes, they are quick fixes, but they should not be ignored. A restaurant can be seen as a kind of complicated energy-consuming machine with dozens of working parts. In fact, here a few measures you can begin taking:

  • Train staff to shut off equipment and lights not in use, reduce the power settings on equipment, and keep clean equipment that otherwise steadily loses energy efficiency.

  • Replace older or less energy-efficient equipment with Energy Star Qualified equipment, especially for “energy hogs” like ovens and refrigerators. This alone can translate in savings of thousands of dollars.

  • Turn down your water heating unit, as long as water for dishwashing meets mandatory minimum standards for food service establishments.

  • Move heat-producing equipment away from refrigeration equipment to make both more efficient.

  • Upgrade the hand dryers in the restrooms to also reduce energy

  • Switch to more efficient lighting with longer-lasting lamps (LED, halogen, and CFL bulbs all use less power).

Long-Term Solutions for Energy Management

Now, the other way to think is long-term, fundamental, and systemic. If you ignore that perspective for a host of quick fixes, you permanently cap your optimizing of energy savings.

The reason is that a complete “tune-up” of your restaurant or franchise system begins by establishing a benchmark—what you’re consuming now, at what cost—and approaches change in terms of energy systems.

In many cases, the recommended changes require the installation of automatic controls:

  • Intelligent, variable speed hood control.

  • Photoelectric smoke or heat detectors to regulate the appropriate amount of ventilation

  • Evaporation fan controllers in cooling areas so cooler fans are running not continuously but when needed at levels needed

  • Install lighting fixtures with automatic dimming controls

  • Smart lighting design in parking lots saves energy, which helps reduce operational costs. When restaurants turn on the parking lights during sunset/daybreak hours, they often hit peak demand (for which utilities charge separately).

These are just a few long-term, systemic changes that result from an energy audit and benchmark-setting followed by implementation of an energy management system.

With more than 20 years of experience in the field, GWT2Energy has found that restaurants with an appropriate energy management system achieve annual energy-bill savings of 25 percent. Also, the life of restaurant equipment is significantly extended and customer experience is markedly enhanced. Which gets us back to why you, as manager or owner-operator of a restaurant, are really there to make happen.

Contact us to tell us about your needs and plans and let us describe our services, our record of working with restaurants, and the solutions we suggest.

The consultation is free, of course.

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