Save Energy, Boost Profits
Today, many customers care about your environmental footprint. But there’s an even better reason to reduce use of water and energy: It will save you money. How low can you go?
for maximum efficiency, keep gas burners and grates free of charred food build-up, And have equipment serviced regularly.
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning take the biggest bite of your energy budget. And for most restaurants, that’s about 28 percent of their total expenses! Efficient, up-to-date equipment makes all the difference here. Consider investing in a programmable thermostat—and making the effort to program it. Make sure vents are not blocked by furniture or other items, and regularly clean both vents and filters. Window shades and adjustable awnings can keep interiors the right temp. Sealing and insulating ductwork costs far less than the savings you’ll see.
Many utility companies offer free assessments to help you identify and track your energy use for each function—and thus target effective improvements. Or, visit the Natural Resources Canada website for a Portfolio Manager tool: www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy/efficiency/buildings/energy-benchmarking/3693.
Most equipment needs only that much time to preheat. Lights, hoods, ranges, computers, signs, fans—all these can simply be shut off, to save money. Speaking of time: Every second a freezer door is open or a burner is on with no purpose is a waste. Employees are your allies here.
In Hot Water?
Cutting your use of heated water saves on two different bills! First, use cold water whenever possible. Ask staff not to use running water to thaw frozen foods, and to turn down valves when appropriate to the task. As for equipment: Start the dishwasher only when full, and consider installing boilerless steamers and combi ovens. Other strategies? Easy and inexpensive: Insulate hot-water pipes, and reuse excess water from steamers or other appliances for secondary cleaning tasks.
With the Flow
It’s OK to ask guests if they want water—the automatic pour is no more. In addition, drips and leaks make a big impact on your water bill. Regularly inspect faucets, and get them repaired right away if there’s a problem. Finally, low-flow, pre-rinse spray valves are designed to be just as effective as standard models. (They also help boost dishwasher efficiency.) The very best valves use as little as 0.64 gallons per minute.
Situating a refrigerator right next to a range makes the fridge work harder. Can you separate your “cool” equipment (including ice machines) from your cooking equipment? Also, it makes sense to group broilers, steamers, etc. under the same vent whenever possible. What’s more, ditching standard fixtures for fluorescents and LEDs can lighten the energy bill. Add strip curtains to walk-in freezers, use closed display cases, replace fridge-door gaskets with magnetic ones. Low-cost enhancements like these decrease energy consumption and increase cost savings.
- Install evaporator fan controllers on refrigerators
- Upgrade to ECMs (electronically commutated motors)
- Swap in variable-speed hood fans