Posted by Patrick Maness
The grill, your refrigerators and the oven, oh my. The tools your kitchen uses every day to create the entrees on your menu are all essential. They’re also expensive, especially when it comes to energy use. With utility bills increasing by as much as 6–8 percent per year, the efforts you make to reduce your businesses’ energy usage translate directly to your bottom line. This blog is designed to help you do just that.
Below we’ve outlined five ways you can reduce your business’s energy usage without sacrificing the flavor of your food or the guest experience. Follow these tips and those essential pieces of kitchen equipment won’t seem so essentially expensive anymore.
* Start with the right equipment. When it’s time to replace a piece of kitchen equipment, look for a model that is ENERGY STAR certified. Research shows that you can save up to $15,000 per year by outfitting your business with ENERGY STAR appliances, so contact your equipment and supplies distributor today to see what ENERGY STAR options exist to match your needs.
* Maintain your existing equipment. If a new piece of equipment isn’t in the budget right now, you can reduce your energy expenses by maintaining your existing model. Leaky gaskets, refrigerator or freezer doors that don’t close completely, even missing knobs on your appliances — all of these can add up to wasted energy over the month or year. Take time to repair these items or have them professionally serviced. The upfront expense will be worth it once you account for future savings.
* Keep working time to cooking time. If your cooking equipment is running and it isn’t cooking anything, you’re wasting energy. Direct your kitchen staff to turn equipment on as close to opening time as possible — 20 minutes is generally long enough for most equipment pieces to reach optimum performance. This ensures you’re not wasting any more energy than you have to. And for lights, hoods or fans, wait until that first guest walks through the door before you flick the switch.
* Cook smart. In many cases, multiple pieces of kitchen equipment can handle the same job, meaning it’s up to you and your staff to use the most efficient one. Opt for the oven over the roaster or the griddle over the broiler. As you conceptualize new items to add to your menu, look for options that allow you to prepare them in an energy-efficient way.
* Adjust your kitchen layout. Setting a cooler next to the grill or fryer makes sense from a workstation perspective but it’s not doing your energy-conservation efforts any favors. Open yourself to the idea of laying out your kitchen with energy efficiency in mind and consider contacting an experienced designer to help you find new layout solutions. You just may find a solution that cuts your energy usage without sacrificing productivity.
Read other articles in this series:
Simple Steps to Decide What Size Refrigeration System You Need
The Top Commercial Refrigeration Equipment You Need for Your Restaurant
Keep Your Systems Running with These 4 Commercial Refrigeration Tips