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Operating the Energy-Efficient Restaurant 10 Tips to Help Your Customers Cut Costs and Become More Profitable By Rich ar d Youn g, Sen ior En gin eer an d Dir ector of Education , PG&E Food Ser vice Tech n ology Cen ter (FSTC) r youn g@ fish n ick.com he last few years have been a challenge for the foodservice world and even though things are looking better, tight margins, rising food costs and lower customer counts mean that a successful restaurateur cannot be sloppy with operations. Even so, many operators still waste thousands of dollars by not catching the many water-wasters and "energy leaks" in their facilities. Here's a short list of must-do best practices that will help your customers cut utility costs and become more profitable. Some of these action items are obvious but often-ignored, while others are not-so-obvious inside tips discovered by the Food Service Technology Center (www.fishnick.com) over our 25 years of working with operators. The challenge is that water conservation and energy efficiency, in general, are often treated as something special or optional, like flossing, instead of something that is just accepted everyday practice, like brushing your teeth. By sharing these tips with your customers, you can help to move efficiency from "best practice" to "standard practice" and help your customers boost the bottom line. T Track Your Energy and Water Costs. Most operators know exactly what they are paying for food, labor, linen, paper goods, chemicals, etc., but they do not know what they are paying for electricity, gas, water and sewer, nor do they compare costs from month to month.A simple spreadsheet is an easy way to track costs and spot energy and water waste. Fix Water Leaks. The combined cost of water and sewer have been rising faster than the rate of inflation for at least a decade. Water is an increasingly expensive commodity that you cannot 26 FEDA New s & View s Recognize Any of These Energy Offenses in Your Customers' Kitchens? According to FSTC's Richard Young, many operators waste thousands of dollars by looking the other way when it comes to simple fixes like replacing missing knobs on appliances and addressing water leaks. The good news is many of these are relatively easy and inexpensive to fix, says Young. Help your customers develop a no-nonsense approach to waste. afford to throw away. Water leaks at sinks, dish machines, mop stations, toilets and on irrigation systems are a 24hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week waste of money. All those drips can add up to thousands of dollars of lost profit a year. The good news is that most leaks are easy to fix. Clean Refrigeration Coils. Refrigeration is the process of removing heat from inside a box.That heat is absorbed by the "evaporator" coils inside the box and released by the "condenser" coils outside the box. If the coils are dirty, the heat doesn't move through the system like it is supposed to and the refrigerator has to use more energy to get the same job done. Really dirty coils can dou- ble the cost of operation and strain the compressor. Cleaning once or twice a year is NOT enough. Quarterly is typically the minimum and if you have a more grease-intensive operation, like a burger restaurant, monthly is more likely the ideal schedule. Inside tip: pay special attention to the evaporator coils in walkin boxes, where you will often find plastic bags sucked up by the fans. Clean coils save money on energy and cut the chances of an expensive service call. Replace Missing Knobs on Appliances. Cooking appliances are energy-intensive. You do not want to leave them on when you don't have to. An appliance that is running but not cooking food is not making you any money—it is draining profits. But how can the staff turn off those range burners,or the broiler,or sections of the griddle if all the knobs are missing? Using a pair of pliers to operate your equipment is not an elegant way to manage energy costs. Replace those missing knobs and continued on page 28

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