Increasing business energy efficiency and conserving water does more than just help the environment; it can also help cut significant costs. When cutting back on costs, many businesses search for how to save money on food. However, electricity and water can severely affect a business’s finances as well, and are easier to cut back on, since methods for how to save money on food sometimes require compromising on quality. Food businesses can benefit greatly being a “green restaurant,” since water and electricity are such integral part of the business, providing cooking methods, storage, and sanitary measures. Food businesses cannot afford to be stingy with their use of water and electricity, but they can apply measures that will allow them to use them wisely. There are obvious solutions that exist for every home and business, such as installing solar panels for clean energy. The investment in the solar panels now can pay off with the reduction in electricity bills, over time. However, for those businesses looking at other strategies to save them money and lower their carbon footprint, there are various other methods for how to run a restaurant efficiently that can easily be put into practice.
Electricity is used to power many aspects of a restaurant, from ambient lighting and music to appliances such as refrigerators, ovens, and dishwashers. In addition, kitchen hours are long, making the amount of energy used much higher than many other types of businesses that operate on a 9-to-5 schedule. If a business does not have the funds or desire to install solar panels, the best alternative way to reduce electricity usage is to ensure that restaurant staff shut off all unnecessary lights and appliances when not in use. Of course the freezers and refrigerators must work around the clock, but ovens, dishwashers, and pantry lights can be turned off when not in use. At closing time, restaurant staff should ensure that all the restaurant lights are switched off. Purchasing energy efficient appliances will minimize the amount of electricity consumed, at all times. Energy efficient appliances do not necessarily cost more than non-energy efficient appliances, and great quality options are available, making purchasing them a smart move in how to run a restaurant. Additionally, fluorescent lightbulbs, which save energy compared to regular bulbs, can be installed in the restaurant kitchen. In the dining room, however, alternatives are often preferred since they provide more pleasant lighting. Becoming a “green restaurant” through raising business energy efficiency is rather simple. However, finding ways to conserve water is more problematic for food businesses.
For a green restaurant, water conservation is trickier than increasing business energy efficiency. If the venue has a restaurant garden, it may want to consider installing a water-recycling system, using gray water for tending to plants. Gray water is water that has been used, but is relatively clean. Water used for washing produce, as well as water from the rinse cycle of the dishwasher, can be reused to care for the plants and to flush toilets. Evaporated water from pasta cookers and double boilers can also add up to lots of wasted water, over time. When such equipment is not being used, the heat should be lowered so that the water temperature drops slightly and less water evaporates. Completely turning off a pasta cooker, however, is inconvenient during service, as food preparation time for pasta dishes will be too long. Water conservation strategies can be difficult for businesses to apply, since gray water recycling systems require installation. However, by doing as much as it can to increase business energy efficiency and conserve water, a food business can save money and boast being a green restaurant.
The public has grown a great appreciation for initiatives that conserve the environment. Sustainable food has become a trend, influencing where some businesses make their purchases. Becoming a “green restaurant” by applying practices that increase business energy efficiency and conserve water can be a great decision in how to run a restaurant, along with adopting some ingredients that are considered sustainable food. Placing a small comment on the menu about the efforts to become a green restaurant can appease environmentally-conscious customers and boost their loyalty to the business, leading to an overall decrease in electricity and water bill and an expansion in the customer base.