There are many reasons for a restaurant to maximize their energy efficiency. Those in the foodservice industry can benefit from cutting back on energy with a boost to the consciousness, as this lessens the company’s impact on the environment, and a boost to the business. Customers appreciate when a company becomes part of an energy-saving initiative. Lower energy use may win the vote of customers that are strongly invested in environmental issues.

Guests at a bright restaurant

Beyond being a great marketing tactic to bring in more customers, saving on energy can also help your business in many other ways. One of the main reasons that people try to save energy is to benefit from the cost savings. If you crack down on the amount of energy your kitchen equipment is using up, you can save a lot of money.

Overall, energy efficiency can bring you more customers, more money, and is better for the equipment as well. Less energy in the kitchen means equipment doesn’t get overused, so life of equipment may be extended and major repairs avoided.

From taking measures to use the kitchen in a more energy-saving way on a daily basis to upgrading equipment to more energy efficient models, there are many steps you can take towards greater energy efficiency in your restaurant.

Saving Energy Through Smart Equipment Use

Saving energy is something that you can do on a daily basis. Simple things like lowering water temperatures and making sure to always close fridge and freezer doors can do a whole lot for energy savings. Small changes in the way equipment is used make a big difference, as long as all members of staff are properly trained on how to maximize efficiency and save energy.

One energy-saving procedure is as simple as turning things off when they’re not being used. This one may seem like common sense to many people, but equipment in a kitchen is often left on past when it’s needed. While this may help to prevent cooling things down when another dish is already on the way, it’s better to shut things off or at least put them in energy-saving mode when business is slower. You might even consider setting a schedule so that energy is always saved during the times of day that it’s not needed. Of course, everything should always be turned off with closing. Make sure that your end-of-day shut down strategy is optimal for energy savings.

Cooking chef

With a few small changes, you can make sure you’re saving on all the most important equipment in your kitchen everyday.

Oven and Stove

Make sure to get full use out of the oven and the energy it uses by filling it as much as possible. Whenever a full load is possible, it will be the most efficient use of the oven. While something’s cooking inside, doors should stay shut as much as possible. Opening the oven doors allows heat to escape, which wastes energy.

When using the stove, maximize its efficiency with smart pot and pan choices. Use the smallest size possible because larger size will require more time and energy to heat the food. You should also always use lids to keep heat in. Dishes can cook faster with a lid, so less energy is used.

Don’t unnecessarily waste energy when this equipment is no longer being used. Reduce oven temperature during slow times and turn it off when it’s closing time. Turn burners off as well whenever they aren’t being used.

Ice machine

Ice machines are often left open for easy access to fresh ice. However, an open lid on an ice machine means cold air is escaping and energy is being wasted. Always close the ice machine door after use.

Energy may also be wasted by the ice machine if the equipment is not functioning at its best. An ill-maintained machine has to use more energy just to produce the same amount. Keep your ice machine running its best and using less energy by routinely having it cleaned and the water filters in it replaced.

Refrigeration

The commercial refrigeration system is a big contributor to energy use in the kitchen. Ensure yours isn’t using up more than its fair share. One reason a refrigerator may use too much energy is if it’s located in the wrong spot. Refrigerators need proper air circulation for their coils to work efficiently. If yours is in too small of a space, it may be having to work harder than it should.

An efficient refrigerator or freezer should also stay sealed up tight to keep its cold air in. Try not to leave the doors open too long. Close refrigerators and freezers once you’re done using one.

Maintenance is beneficial to keep the refrigeration system running efficiently. Make sure there is sufficient refrigerant so less energy is needed for cooling. It can also be important to do a cleaning on the coils and condenser.

Busy restaurant kitchen

Maintain your Equipment

Maintenance is, of course, important for keeping equipment running its best, which will allow for the least amount of wasted energy. Clogged burner ports, old water filters, and work out refrigeration seals are all energy-wasting issues that maintenance service can fix. Along with repairing obvious problems, a maintenance technician can also help you find additional solutions for the energy efficiency of equipment.

Find a service technician that you trust to perform consistent, planned maintenance and you will have a great return through the energy savings.

Upgrade your Equipment

The best way to make your kitchen more energy efficient is to upgrade equipment to energy efficient models. It may take an investment of a bit more money to start with, but it will be worth it for the energy cost savings it brings. New equipment can actually even benefit your restaurant with smoother operations by allowing for faster cooking times and more consistent results.

The right equipment can make your kitchen more efficient and save you money on the energy bill. That’s certainly worth the time and money to upgrade.

Chef at work
photo credit: Jaume Escofet / Flickr

A More Energy Efficient Restaurant

Energy efficiency is a great thing for any restaurant to strive for, as it’s what’s best for the kitchen and also for business profits. It doesn’t take much to make steps towards this goal in your restaurant’s kitchen. Take careful measures in the use of kitchen equipment, keep up with maintenance, and consider the investment of energy efficient equipment. These things may cost a bit more money or require a bit more effort at first, but the boost to your business that energy efficiency provides makes it worth it.