Energy saving tips for your restaurant and cafe

Providing a fine dining experience is as important as dishing up fantastic food. A lot can go into creating a great atmosphere for your restaurant on top of ensuring the kitchen is well equipped and well powered. 

To help you ensure you are running your restaurant efficiently, we have provided some tips below on how to save energy for your restaurant or cafe. 

Tips for saving energy in the kitchen

Cut back on water usage and heating

Over 50 per cent of water used in restaurants is in the kitchen. Considering that hot water together with heating in general makes up nearly 40 per cent of an average restaurant’s energy spend, a lot of money can be spent in these areas.

In addition to cutting down on water consumption, you can save on energy and money by boiling only the water you need. Boiling excess water requires more power, takes more time, and wastes money. 

Use ovens and hobs wisely

Kitchens can be fairly hectic places to work. Most if not all kitchen appliances will be running at once to fulfil the orders of hungry diners. Ovens, hobs, and microwaves are certainly in action during peak times. 

To save energy and money, though, try to be efficient with your appliances. Do not preheat ovens too early or unnecessarily, as this of course is wasting energy. Try to also avoid opening the oven doors when cooking. 

Each time you open the oven door, the temperature inside the oven can drop by as much as 120 degrees Celsius. This then requires the oven to work harder to return to the desired temperature. If you need to check on the cooking progress of the food inside, make use of the oven’s lamps or rely on timers. 

You can save energy by the way you use the hob, too. For example, use saucepans whose sizes are just right for what you need to cook. It takes more energy to heat up a bigger-than-necessary saucepan. 

Energy efficient fridges and freezers

Because you will have certain appliances running 24 hours per day, it is worthwhile to invest in and upkeep newer, energy-efficient models. 

Electricity guzzling appliances like refrigerators and freezers should have an energy efficiency rating of at least B. Long-term savings are your reward for making the investment into newer refrigeration models. 

Set room and freezer temperatures to comfortable levels

Now that you have your new and efficient refrigerator and freezer appliances, you can make further savings by setting the cooling and freezing temperatures to moderate levels — cool enough to keep your foods well preserved and fresh.

The same tip applies to the kitchen and dining settings, too. Overworking your heating and cooling systems strains them and your wallet. 

You’ll save money by chilling your rooms comfortably and, if at all possible, naturally. It can get heated in kitchens with all the ovens, stoves, boiling water, and head chefs with Gordon Ramsey-like temperaments running at once. However, this does not mean you need to cool your rooms to temperatures suitable for a meat locker. Take the time to assess your building and rooms to discover how you can most effectively keep your establishment comfortably cool. 

Ways to cut energy costs in the dining areas

Keep diners comfy, not well done

It is important to keep customers in your eatery comfortable as they dine. Setting the right temperature in the dining areas is very important in achieving this. You may think the easiest way to do this is to overcompensate on the heating or cooling during the appropriate seasons. However, this not only creates higher energy bills for you to pay each month, it also can disrupt the dining experience of your customers.

A study found that when diners are, for example, uncomfortably warm because of the heating in the dining area, their sense of taste or smell are affected negatively. Since their bodies sense a “mistake” in the climate of the room, the diners may perceive other “mistakes”, whether rightly or wrongly, in their food or drink. 

To avoid ill-perceived issues with your dishes and spending too much on energy bills in one go, be sure to set your thermostats to the recommended temperatures (20-22 Celsius) for restaurants. Be mindful if some dining areas are near the kitchen, from where extra heat is likely to spill over. In cases like this, consider adding ceiling fans to move cool air around the restaurant. 

Replace all lightbulbs with efficient ones

Lighting can account for as much as 35 per cent of your energy bill, so it is important to have efficient light fixtures. Look to replace standard light bulbs with LEDs or CFLs. While the latter do cost more initially, they last longer and consume about three quarters of energy less than standard ones. 

Take advantage of light dimming fixtures if you can get them. Keeping the lights dim helps bulbs last longer and saves you energy. As an added bonus, diners are more likely to eat slower and enjoy the experience more overall, a study found. 

Improve insulation across the establishment

All the heating and cooling improvements you made would be all for naught if your insulation is shabby. Fix the draughts and seal doors and windows to make sure that you are not losing heated or cooled air to the outside.  

Regular upkeep of your HVAC system

For both your kitchen, staff areas, and dining areas, it is important to keep your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems maintained regularly as it helps tremendously towards reducing your energy bills. HVAC inspections also identify any major problems in these systems that could be expensive to address, not to mention that these problems may pose a danger to you and others in your business. 

Leftovers: extra energy saving tips

Get everyone involved

Imparting energy efficiency tips on your staff is another great way to help your restaurant save money on power bills. 

A great way to motivate employees to be conscious of saving energy is to incentivise them with giveaways, competitions, or campaigns. These are fun and engaging ways to encourage everyone to adopt energy-saving initiatives. For example, you can encourage employees to bring their own lunch from home to save on power consumption in the kitchen. Invite them to cycle to work, wear recyclable clothing, or reduce plastic use through competitions. 

Switch energy providers

Cutting down on energy consumption through the above energy-saving initiatives are even better when you also have market-best energy tariffs. Bar and restaurant customers such as 808 Bar & Kitchen, La Rum Bar, and The Howard Arms are just a few examples of how switching to a new and better energy contract — and utilising Northern Gas and Power’s energy management and consultancy services — can save you money in the long run. 

You can switch to a new contract in minutes through BusinessEnergyQuotes.com. Our smart grid-connected energy supplier price comparison tool lets you see dozens of great rates in seconds. Within minutes of entering basic company details and current supply information, you will have a new business energy contract.

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