5 Ways to Help Your Restaurant Run More Efficiently

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If you happen to own or manage a restaurant, you’re no stranger to problem solving. While dealing with the myriad of issues that come up during operating hours, you may not have had time to tackle the three W’s — why, where and what – of your electricity consumption. Here, we’ll explain why restaurants typically use more energy compared to other small businesses on a daily basis, where that energy is most likely being used and what you can do to protect your bottom line.

It’s plain and simple…energy efficiency makes sense not only for the environment but also for the profitability of your small business. What isn’t as easy to determine is what you need to do on a daily basis to decrease your electricity consumption and how you can train your employees to use these tactics moving forward?

Restaurants Use More Energy
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), most restaurants use almost 2.5 times more energy per square foot than other commercial buildings. You might be surprised to find out how much of that electricity your restaurant appliances are actually using. For example, did you know that your electric deep fryer can use more than 11,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) and cost you upwards of $1,000 in electricity every year?

Breaking Down The Costs
In the average full-service restaurant, the majority of energy is used during food preparation (35%). Your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system (28%), sanitation (18%), lighting (13%) and refrigeration (6%) make up the rest.

Tips To Save
ENERGY STAR® is a great resource in the energy efficiency movement and they compiled a thorough list of conservation tips and tricks in their ENERGY STAR® Guide for Restaurants. We’ve chosen five key tips that can help you and your fellow restaurateurs conserve electricity and save money:

  1. Purchase energy-efficient appliances. These highly-efficient appliances may cost more up front, but with low life-cycle costs and lower electricity bills (up to $2100 per appliance), you should be able to make up the difference.
  2. Cut idle time. Many restaurants leave their equipment on constantly, but this can cost your small business up to an extra $600 per appliance. Try to implement an easy-to-follow process that will encourage employees to start up equipment as they need it, and shut down equipment not in use.
  3. Maintain and repair. You might not realize that procrastinating on your equipment maintenance ‘to do’ list is actually costing you money. Everyday wear and tear on your appliances makes them operate less efficiently which can negatively impact your electricity usage.
  4. Cook wisely. Take a look at your menu and cooking methods. You may not need to fire up that oven if a rotisserie could do the trick.
  5. Recalibrate. Check the thermostats on all of your appliances and equipment regularly, and reset them as needed.

There are several appliances found in the average restaurant that can put a large drain on your electricity usage. Find out which appliances they are and get tips to prevent it in the Energy Star Guide for Restaurants.  For more tips to help your business save, visit BrightenSM Energy Saving Solutions, an online resource full of energy savings solutions from TXU Energy.

View the Saving Energy For Your Business testimonial.

Do you own a restaurant and have tips or resources to share? Post them below.