Energy Saving Tips for Restaurants

A bar scene captured up close, featuring multiple light bulbs emitting energy-efficient illumination, promoting energy-saving tips for restaurants.
Ayseli İzmen
Ayseli İzmen
February 24, 2023

Saving energy is becoming increasingly important in today's world. More and more businesses are looking for ways to reduce their energy consumption, operating costs, and environmental impact. According to the National Restaurant Association, the average restaurant spends 4% to 6% of its total operating costs on energy. It is possible to reduce these expenses, which can have a significant impact on a restaurant's bottom line, by implementing energy-efficient practices and equipment. Many of the upgrades that require a larger initial investment can pay for themselves quickly and, with careful planning, can even improve the ambiance, appearance, and comfort of your facility.

Here are some tips to increase energy savings in restaurants

1. Material Selection

First of all, it is good to choose energy-efficient kitchen appliances:

Energy Star-rated refrigerators: These meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Energy Star refrigerators typically use 15% less energy than non-approved models, which adds up to big energy savings over time. In addition, these refrigerators often include energy-saving components such as adjustable thermostats, automatic defrost and compressors that use less electricity. These features can reduce energy consumption even further.

High-efficiency dishwashers: High-efficiency dishwashers use 50% less water and 41% less electricity than conventional models. They also often include energy-saving features such as multiple rinse settings, delayed start, and efficient heating components. These features can reduce energy consumption even further. With features like stronger wash arms and effective filters that can effectively remove food particles and bacteria, they also have better cleaning performance.

Energy-efficient fryers: Energy-efficient fryers help reduce energy consumption and maintain a constant temperature during the frying process. They are also often more durable, with features such as stainless steel construction and oil filtration technologies that extend the life of the fryer.

Low-energy hoods and exhaust systems: Low-energy hoods and exhaust systems are more durable because they're made of stainless steel and have effective filters that extend their life. With features like stronger suction, filtration, and noise reduction, they work better and can effectively remove smoke, steam, and odors. Thanks to the heat recovery function, restaurants can also avoid an overheated kitchen.

2. Maintaining Kitchen Equipment

The maintenance of the equipment is as important as the choice of high-efficiency kitchen appliances. Here are some ways to increase the maintenance of kitchen equipment:

Schedule regular maintenance: Daily, weekly, and monthly equipment inspections should be part of your routine maintenance program. This way, potential problems can be found before they develop into serious problems.

Train staff on equipment use and maintenance: All restaurant employees should be familiar with the operation and maintenance of equipment in order to prevent unwanted damage and extend the life of the equipment.

Keep equipment clean: Regular cleaning of equipment can help prevent the accumulation of dirt that can eventually lead to equipment damage. Using the proper cleaning methods and detergents for each type of equipment can extend the life of the equipment.

3. Water Consumption

Fix leaks: Significant water waste and higher water costs can result from leaks. Restaurants can use less water and spend less money on water bills if they locate and fix leaks. Therefore, it is important to regularly check for leaks in the plumbing system and repair them.

Collect and reuse greywater: Restaurants can use less water and spend less money on water bills by collecting and reusing greywater. Greywater is the relatively clean water used in sinks, dishwashers, and other kitchen appliances. It can be used for irrigation, toilet flushing, and other non-potable uses, minimizing the amount of water that needs to be treated.

Use a pre-rinse spray valve: The main advantage of a pre-rinse spray valve is that it quickly and effectively removes food debris and dirt from dishes and utensils before rinsing. This can greatly increase the efficiency of the rinsing process and reduce the need for manual scrubbing, saving time and labor.

4. Heat Usage

Use a programmable thermostat: With a programmable thermostat, restaurants can set different temperature schedules for changing weather. Lowering the temperature during non-operating hours is also a great way to save energy. To save even more energy, the thermostat can also be programmed to adjust automatically to the restaurant's occupancy rate.

Use natural light: Natural light is useful for saving energy as it reduces the need for artificial lighting in restaurants during daylight hours. Therefore, restaurants can develop solutions to increase daylight, such as by keeping blinds open and using softer whitewash.

Use renewable energy: In restaurants, using renewable energy such as solar or wind power can assist lower energy costs and increase energy independence.

5. Organizational Issues

Apart from that, there are organizational issues to increase energy saving:

Train employees: Training employees on energy-saving practices increases motivation to implement and maintain these practices.

Plan the kitchen layout: Planning the kitchen in such a way that staff have to walk as little as possible between the kitchen and the dining area is an effective way of reducing the time that lights and appliances are left on.

Use a separate area for dishwashing and refrigerator: Using a separate area for dishwashing, preferably with its own entrance, can minimize the amount of heat and moisture entering the main dining area, as can using a separate area for the refrigerator to reduce the energy required to cool the main dining area.

Make Intelligent Choices with FineDine

It's essential to remember that a restaurant can cut energy expenses by reducing food waste. With FineDine’s digital menu and order & pay solutions, restaurants can keep an eye on their clients' orders. Thanks to restaurant analytics, restaurant executives can logically arrange their inventory in this way to prevent food waste.