Hello RFMA members,
Today's post is more about sustainability, or what we used to call it in the old days, energy management. We had a great Peer to Partner call last week on sustainability covering several initiatives Chipotle, Red Lobster, and others are currently doing in their restaurants in the areas of energy, water, and waste. This topic is gaining traction throughout the restaurant industry in the US and will only grow larger in the future. This article will cover basic energy management items that can be implemented to save utility dollars and go hand in hand with sustainability.
Most chains have energy policies in place but for smaller operations or companies without programs, the first "low hanging fruit" to look at are programmable thermostats. These are cheap and easily installed. They can be programmed for proper temps throughout the day and have night setback to save utility dollars at night when the restaurant is closed. Most have override capability so managers can adjust the temp up or down a few degrees for a set amount of time. Occupied temp settings should be between 74-76 degrees for cooling. Remember the old rule of thumb..."if the employees are comfortable, the customers are cold". Winter setting should be 71-74 degrees.
Another easily and cheap item is installing LED lights in existing Exit signs. No need to replace the entire sign, just the bulb. There are light adapter kits available that will replace the incandescent bulb with LED, saving energy along with bulb replacement costs. LED's can also be used for exterior signage, menu boards, and general lighting.
Other items to consider are as follows:
- Refrigeration gaskets. Ensure they are clean and not worn out.
- Exterior door sweeps.
- Strip curtains on the walk-in cooler and/or freezer.
- Properly adjusted door closers.
- Air curtain device on the back delivery door.
- Use Energy Star rated equipment
- Ensure PM's are done timely
Common sense plays a huge roll in energy management. Simple start-up time stickers can be manufactured and placed on the individual cooking equipment. If you were cooking at home, would you turn your grill on 3 hours before it's needed? Probably not. I've witnessed operations personnel turning on all the grills, fryers, ovens, and exhaust fans early in the AM without needing to use them for several hours. They are ensuring the equipment will be ready to use but it makes no sense.
There are many other energy saving programs and devices available. Feel free to call me anytime (972-805-0905, x-3) to discuss further or reach out to our RFMA vendors who deal in energy management. They can save your stores money. Would like to hear about your success stories. Please provide so we all can save the planet!!
Remember the old saying, "If you don't need it, turn it off".
Dover and out.