If you are a restaurant owner, you understand the critical importance of keeping costs under control. Especially now when energy costs are experiencing monthly increases and represent a greater portion of your budget. With this in mind, we offer our restaurant energy-saving tips to help your restaurant lower costs and be more energy efficient.
Not every suggestion will apply to your specific business but each tip does offer the potential to lower your energy bill quickly. While some recommendations require modest investments, many cost virtually nothing to implement and are generally feasible for most business types.
To reduce restaurant energy costs, there are a variety of different factors you should consider. Above all, you need to assess the needs of your employees and customers when it comes to making a plan that helps you cut energy costs where you need it the most.
Let’s discuss the restaurant energy-saving tips that will help you lower costs and increase energy efficiency.
Restaurant Energy-Saving Tips Overview
Restaurants are heavy energy users as small businesses. Specifically, restaurant energy use is five to seven times more per square foot than other commercial businesses. So, high energy usage can be a problem.
Restaurant energy-saving tips come from the perspective of the way you currently operate your business. In other words, what you and your employees do on a day-to-day basis has a great influence on business energy efficiency.
Restaurant owners need to ask themselves when they look to be more energy efficient, specifically what they are currently spending on energy. In short, if you’re not aware of how you are spending on energy, then you need to re-examine exactly how to track your business energy use.
Furthermore, if you and your employees constantly waste energy in your restaurant, you add unnecessary costs to your budget, place demands on the environment, and have a serious negative impact on the way it functions.
We have classified our restaurant energy-saving tips into five main categories: equipment, water usage, heat control, lighting, HVAC, and management. So, let’s move forward and discuss this in detail.
Restaurant Energy-Saving Tips - Food Preparation
The highest component of energy consumption in a full-service restaurant is Food Preparation at 35%. So let’s begin here.
Commercial kitchen equipment consumes great deal of energy. What’s more, inefficient equipment can lead to your food service business wasting up to 80% of the energy they consume. Accordingly, purchasing newer, more energy-efficient equipment models certified by ENERGY STAR, is especially effective at reducing energy waste.
Energy-efficient fryers (whether gas or electric) will save on energy costs, increase productivity due to shorter cooking times, and save on cooking oil due to less scorching.
Upgrading convection ovens (gas) and griddles to ENERGY-STAR certified are up to 50% more energy-efficient, while electric versions idle at lower rates.
Similarly, upgrading to an energy-efficient dish machine will save on energy costs and increase productivity due to shorter wash cycle times.
Your equipment needs to be cleaned and serviced regularly to keep it energy-efficient and extend its operating life.
The refrigerator condenser coils become clogged with dust over time, preventing them from expelling heat. Consequently, the unit needs to use more energy (less energy-efficient) to maintain food-save temperatures. Therefore, keep them clean.
Your water-filtration system prevents calcification and mineral deposits in any equipment connected to your water system. So replace your water filters as scheduled to maintain efficiency and extend operating life.
Energy-Saving Tips - Water Usage
Restaurants require large amounts of water (in front and back) to sustain operations. Basically, there are some simple ways to reduce water consumption in your restaurant and lower your water bill.
Upgrade your pre-rinse spray valves in the kitchen (don’t forget the bathrooms) with newer models that have lower GPM (gallons per minute) ratings. Also, these low-flow spray valves are easy to replace and use much less water than older spray valves
Your hand-washing sinks don’t need to have a high GPM flow rating. So use low-flow aerators or flow regulators that limit the amount of water flowing out of the faucet and lower the GPM to save you money.
Over time dripping water leaks from faucets and toilets add up and increase your water bill. Repair them with new components to reduce wasting water and money. Also, avoid the need to call a plumber by using the new cartridge design feature so you can swap them out quickly. Finally, remind your employees to close faucets when finished.
Restaurant Energy-Saving Tips - Lighting
About 13 percent of a restaurant’s energy consumption goes to lighting in the front and kitchen areas. Simply put, there are convenient ways to reduce energy consumption in your restaurant and lower your energy bill.
Front Of House Signage
Restaurant signage is an optimal place to substitute fluorescent lighting for an LED alternative. In brief, LEDs offer longer lifespans, lower energy consumption, and higher quality light than older bulb models.
T8 fluorescent lighting is a simple way to reduce energy consumption since it can be substituted for older, less efficient fluorescent bulbs. They are up to 25% more efficient and can be swapped out in a matter of minutes. Plus, they can be used in any location including overhead lighting in the dining room, kitchen, and back-of-the-house storage areas.
Turn Off When Not In Use
Establish a power schedule for your kitchen units for startup and shutdown. When there is downtime between kitchen activities, turn off the fryer, oven, etc., and then begin preheating when production resumes.
Use intelligent timers for your interior and exterior lighting and consider solar-power outdoor lighting.
Energy-Saving Tips - Heat Control
About 6% of a restaurant’s energy usage is dedicated to refrigeration. While it is a small component, there are simple ways to not waste energy.
Control The Temperature
Controlling the room temperature is crucial to saving on your energy bill. For example, a 1-degree increase in setting will use 15% more energy. While every 1-degree decrease will use 10% more energy. Moreover, there’s no need for areas rarely used, such as storage, cleaning rooms, etc.
Consequently, invest in a Smart Thermostat that can be programmed remotely and is tamper-resistant to prevent unauthorized adjustments.
Review and adjust the hot water temperature setting for your kitchen dish machine to local health guidelines. If you are using water hotter than it needs to be, you’re simply wasting energy and increasing your energy bill.
Use unheated hand dryers for staff and customers since they are more energy-efficient, saving 80% less energy than a standard hand dryer.
Energy Use Alignment
Your restaurant kitchen is filled with a variety of equipment that all consume energy and produce heat. However, when they are not intelligently located, this equipment can work at cross purposes and be less energy-efficient.
For example, you should separate heating versus cooling equipment since they are at cross purposes. Accordingly, your ice machine and refrigeration units should not be located near your fryer, oven, or grill.
Similarly, your refrigeration equipment needs ventilation space to expel hot air as part of the cooling process. Otherwise, it uses more energy to stay cool, increasing your energy bill.
Energy-Saving Tips - HVAC System
Your Heating, Ventilation, And Cooling (HVAC) system is the second largest component of energy consumption at 28%. Simply put, you and your staff need to manage this well or pay additional energy costs.
An HVAC system will decline in performance without regular maintenance. Specifically, schedule “pre-season” tune-ups before each cooling and heating season. As a result, your business will save energy and money, and extend the lifetime of the HVAC system with minimal investment in maintenance.
Just like an auto, regularly clean or change the HVAC filters every month during peak cooling or heating seasons. When used, more air and particles are being run through your HVAC system. As a result, dirty HVAC filters cost more to use (lower energy efficiency), overwork the equipment (shorten the life-cycle), and result in lower indoor air quality.
Help Mother Nature
Installing top and side awnings (think tree shading) near your entrance or a vestibule will protect your restaurant from the sun’s rays. As a result, there is less demand for your HVAC cooling system, producing a more comfortable climate for your customers and lowering energy costs.
Restaurant Energy-Saving Tips - Management
Restaurant owners know that it takes a lot to run a successful business. Besides your investments in reducing your energy costs, education, training, information, and advice will also help to improve your bottom line.
Education & Reminders
You are responsible for the design of your restaurant and the daily protocols of how your staff operates. So to be successful in your energy-efficiency plans, your staff needs to understand and execute them. Consequently, they need an employee handbook with the energy-efficiency protocols, training, and visual reminders posted throughout their work areas to follow them.
Do an energy audit of your restaurant to ensure that you are using energy efficiently. For example, utility companies often offer this type of program to help identify areas to reduce energy usage.
Restaurant Energy-Saving Tips Conclusion
However you choose to implement these restaurant energy-saving tips, you will be able to see immediate savings in your energy bill. What is more, people often underestimate the little things they do at the restaurant, so energy awareness and conservation are very important for long-term success.
Not only will you be reducing your energy costs each month, but you will also be promoting a healthy work environment for your employees and customers. In other words, your restaurant benefits from many different aspects the longer it can sustain energy efficiency.