This blog post will provide tips on lowering your energy consumption, saving money, and even becoming more sustainable, while maintaining the excellent quality of your services and keeping your customers happy.
Energy usage has always been high in the food and catering industries. Studies show commercial kitchens can consume up to ten times as much energy as traditional commercial buildings.
However, many kitchens waste massive amounts of energy every day, and increasing energy efficiency is rapidly becoming a priority for an increasing number of restaurants across the globe.
While some of our tips may require technology investments from your revenue, some of them are just basivally good housekeeping practices, involving both your team of staff and customers.
The value of energy efficiency
Making improvements to become more energy efficient can give a lot of additional benefits to restaurants, and reduce your carbon footprint.
To begin with, adopting simple improvements to increase energy efficiency can result in considerable cash savings. It is estimated that 23 cents are spent on energy for each meal prepared in a traditional restaurant, with this value rising to 33 cents per meal in high-end restaurants and 45 cents per meal in hotel restaurants. While these figures may appear insignificant, they can quickly add up. Restaurants could save up to 20% by making minor efficiency changes.
Food and beverage business owners are becoming increasingly concerned about energy efficiency in all parts of their lives, with one in ten citing it as the most critical topic on which restaurants should concentrate their efforts.
In addition to saving money on energy, increasing efficiency can help improve a restaurant's reputation, increasing customer numbers and, ultimately, profitability.
Approximately three-quarters of the energy consumed in catering is utilized in food storage, preparation, and cooking. A considerable percentage of this is squandered due to inefficient working techniques and bad habits.
Making your kitchen more energy efficient will also improve the overall efficiency of your business, which can provide a whole new set of benefits.
1. Perform an energy audit
Retrieve your old energy bills or use an energy tracking tool to determine how much energy you are currently using, how much it costs, and where it is being wasted.
Carbon statements report weekly energy usage and consumption expenses and highlight areas of energy waste and associated expenditures. These reports produce recommendations for cost-cutting and energy-saving measures.
2. Maintain and clean your equipment
Is your machinery working harder than it should? Cleaning and servicing your equipment regularly will help you save energy.
Begin by inspecting your refrigerator — dust might accumulate on the condenser coils, preventing heat from being emitted. As a result, your refrigerator must work extra hard to maintain food-safe temperatures.
Also, a regularly serviced boiler, for example, can save you up to 10% on your annual electricity bills.
3. Make use of energy-efficient devices
If you clean and service your equipment but still consume a lot of energy, it's time to upgrade to more energy-efficient equipment. While there is an initial investment, it will save you money in the long run — using an energy-efficient dishwasher can save you €1,500 each year on average!
4. Reduce the temperature in your business
Heating can account for up to 60% of a restaurant's overall energy costs and is a significant source of energy waste. Reducing the temperature in a restaurant by 1 °C can save nearly 10% on overall energy costs and is unlikely to be noticed by consumers.
As a food and beverage business owner, you can install thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) in the kitchen to improve temperature management. TRVs detect air temperature, and automatically lower heat output as the kitchen fills with heat from personnel and food preparation.
5. Turn off all appliances
A kitchen extractor left on overnight can squander up to ten tons of CO2! You can save (literally) tons of electricity by making a simple swap!
You can also save money by turning off equipment and adjusting your heating during slow periods of the day (between lunch and dinner service).
6. Use energy-efficient lighting
Lighting is another area where many businesses waste energy and money, accounting for up to 25% of overall electricity expenses.
LED bulbs consume 75-80% less energy than standard light bulbs, and as an additional benefit, they outlast them in terms of lifetime. So, the next time you change your bulbs, go LED. It will not only help you save money, but it will also benefit the environment by lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
Installing occupancy sensors that ensure lights only turn on when someone enters a room is another approach to cut energy usage by up to 30% in stockrooms, bathrooms, and other areas that are not continually inhabited.
7. Modify the arrangement of your kitchen
The layout of your kitchen might have an impact on the efficiency of your equipment. For example, if your refrigerator is near an oven, it will have to work harder to remove hot air and cool down.
8. Improve your insulation
Heat loss through poor insulation is a significant energy concern in restaurants, just as in homes. Replacing ordinary windows with double glazing and properly insulating your walls and roof will reduce heat loss, improving energy efficiency even more.
9. Recognize storage temperature codes
Refrigerators at restaurants must be regularly turned on to guarantee food is stored safely. However, this can consume a substantial quantity of energy, which comes at a high cost. Restaurants can begin to operate their refrigerators more efficiently, lowering energy usage and saving money, by understanding the standards for safe food storage.
10. Form teams
The preceding stages cannot be completed unless your teams agree to them. Explain the significance of energy-saving methods, teach teams how to implement them, and hold team members accountable.
Employees must be involved to fully succeed in improving energy efficiency. It is possible to save up to 15% simply by practising good housekeeping.
Ensure that personnel turn off lights and equipment when not in use and that heating and hot water are adequately maintained.
Individuals may be assigned specific jobs in some organizations, with the obligation of ensuring that specific targets are met.