5 Tips to Reduce Your Restaurant's Energy Bill

The Frontier Energy Food Service Technology Center is dedicated to supporting the commercial food service industry though lower utility bills and increased productivity. As the covid-19 crisis starts to impact the industry, we offer these 5 simple tips for restaurant operators to help shave a little more off operating costs:

  1. Protect your refrigerated inventory and keep your operating costs to a minimum by making sure that the thermostats on your refrigerators and freezers are in the safe temperature zone but not set unnecessarily low. Use a thermometer placed in the back of the box to get a more accurate reading. It is surprising how many refrigerators and freezers have temperature setpoints that are too low.
    There are many ways to save energy in a refrigeration system, but properly setting the temperature is the cheapest and easiest. The Food Service Technology Center partnered with the National Restaurant Association to create this short video:
  2. With reduced business, it becomes ever more important to keep the walk-in door shut, which keeps your cost of refrigeration to a minimum. Remember, refrigeration is the act of removing heat from a box so, open doors, bad gaskets, non-functioning door closers, bad hinges and missing strip curtains will all drive up your cost to operate.
    Simple walk-in door maintenance is easy and cost-effective. The Food Service Technology Center partnered with the National Restaurant Association to create this short video:
  3. Shelter-in-place orders are allowing restaurants to stay open while providing take-out service only. This means that there will be a reduced load on the dishmachines for many restaurants. Be strategic with your dishmachine use and make sure you are only sending fully loaded racks through the machine. Also make sure that you are not leaving the dishmachine ON for more hours than is absolutely necessary and turn OFF the corresponding vent fan when you turn the dishmachine OFF.
    Another quick energy saver is to make sure that your water heater is set to the proper temperature. The Food Service Technology Center partnered with the National Restaurant Association to create this short video:
  4. With reduced service comes reduced need for cooking and holding equipment. It’s more important than ever to make sure that you are only operating the cooking and holding equipment that you really need at any moment. Turn equipment ON right before it is needed and turn it OFF as soon as service is over. Most cooking equipment preheats in about 15 minutes. Pay special attention to holding equipment and heat lamps, which are easy to overlook but cost a lot to operate.
    The Food Service Technology Center partnered with the National Restaurant Association to create this short video:
  5. Many restaurants have parking lot and other exterior lights that are controlled with time clocks. The timeclocks are often not set properly – especially right after the Spring-forward daylight savings shift – so, it’s important to check and reset your timeclocks and make sure that your sensors are working. Turn lights ON at dusk and OFF during daylight. This is a very cost effective fix since the outdoor lighting can cost way more to operate than the indoor lighting.
    The Food Service Technology Center partnered with the National Restaurant Association to create this short video:
None of these action items require the restaurant to spend any money beyond the labor required to find-and-fix these common energy-wasting mistakes. It is our sincere hope that our suggestions will help your restaurant weather the storm and be prosperous moving forward.