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Wonder how much your restaurant spends on electricity? Prepare for sticker…shock. Most restaurants spend about 3 to 5 percent of their operating costs on energy. If you’re in the dark about reducing restaurant electricity bill costs, try these 12 enlightening tips.

Reducing Restaurant Electricity Bill Payments: The First Steps

1. Perform an Energy Audit

Before you can start reducing restaurant electricity bill costs, first determine how much energy you’re actually using. It’s easier than it sounds. Just gather electricity bills from the last few year, and track usage in a spreadsheet.

If you pay your electric bills online, many suppliers include usage charts for the past year – and even weekly or daily snapshots.

You could also use an online energy tracking tool to help you pinpoint differences in usage.

Once you know your energy usage, you can better track your progress as you take steps for reducing restaurant energy bill payments.

2. Control Energy Consumption

Just like controlling food portions, you have ways to control energy usage. The most obvious is the simple act of turning things off when they’re not in use.

Keep lights off in your inventory closet, office, or banquet rooms when they’re not in use. If you have multiple (electric) stovetops, turn off a couple and operate with just one during slower shifts.

BONUS TIP! Beware of “Energy Vampires”

Sounds creepy, and it is. Hitting the “off” button may not fully turn off an appliance or device. Many still suck energy slowly. If you’re serious about reducing restaurant electricity bill payments, grab some garlic and hunt for these 30 most common electrical leakers.

3. Cool Down with Fresh Air

Set the controls for your air conditioning at a cool but not-too-cold temperature. You can even open up your windows and let in some fresh air on nicer days. It helps with reducing restaurant electricity bill payments and allows your guests to enjoy a refreshing, cool breeze.

4. Give Appliances and Equipment a Tune Up

Reducing restaurant electricity bill payments doesn’t always mean you need to buy the latest energy-efficient equipment. But everything should be in tip-top condition. Machines running at optimum efficiency require less electricity to operate, and regular maintenance can save you from high energy bills.

You can clear the grease trap from your stove, keep lightbulbs clean, change AC and heat filters regularly, and even get your HVAC vents cleaned annually.

More Ideas for Reducing Restaurant Energy Bill Costs

Now that you’ve started saving energy, it’s time to take things up a notch. Here are some additional tips for reducing restaurant electricity bill payments that require a little more effort.

5. Consolidate Inventory Deliveries

If you’re receiving inventory deliveries throughout the week, that could be draining more than just time – especially if inventory arrives during off-hours.

Not only are you paying for your staff to come in earlier or stay later to stock the new deliveries, you’re paying for the additional hours of light, heating, and HVAC usage. Plus, to bring in deliveries, the door often gets propped open – which makes your HVAC system work harder.

Reach out to your vendors: see if it’s possible to combine deliveries as a way to help with reducing restaurant electricity bill costs.

6. Tackle Your Menu

When it comes to lowering menu costs, most restaurant owners only look at ingredients. However, the way you cook food could be a key factor in reducing restaurant electricity bill costs.

According to Energy Star, ovens tend to be more energy efficient than a rotisserie, and griddles conserve more energy than broilers. Partner with your chef to evaluate your current cooking strategies and equipment. Together, strategize methods for reducing restaurant electricity bill payments.

7. Invest in Energy Efficient Equipment…and Lightbulbs

If you need to replace an item, opt for an energy efficient equipment. It may cost a little more upfront, but you can make your money back by reducing restaurant electricity bill payments over time. Look for the Energy Star label to ensure you’re getting a product proven for its energy efficiency.

One of the best ways for reducing restaurant electricity bill costs? Upgrade your lightbulbs. The average 60 watt LED bulb lasts 10,000 to 25,000 hours. Traditional incandescent bulbs may be dirt cheap, but last for just 1,000 to 2,000 hours.

Other options include CFL bulbs (compact fluorescent lights) which are next-generation bulbs that last for about 5,000 hours and use about a quarter of the power that incandescent bulbs use.

8. Take Advantage of Local Energy Saving Programs

Reducing restaurant energy bill costs is just one perk of opting for energy efficient equipment. It’s also a huge plus for the environment. That’s why most governments – from state to federal, county to municipal – offer incentives and rebates for energy-saving business owners.

Use the Small Business Association’s list of local and state energy efficiency programs. These programs may not help with reducing restaurant electricity bill costs directly. However, most programs offer rebates or rewards for reaching energy efficiency milestones. Other programs provide financial assistance to become more energy efficient.

Reducing Restaurant Electricity Bill Costs with Your Team

Don’t tackle reducing restaurant electricity bill costs alone. You have an entire staff and community to help you out.

9. Get Your Staff on Board

Hold a staff meeting. Announce your plans for reducing restaurant electricity bill costs. Be upfront. Let them know how much you’re currently spending on energy – and announce the new goal.

Stress that it’s not just about saving costs, but also about helping the environment. Ask for their ideas on ways to go about reducing restaurant electricity bill costs.

10. Monitor Staff Energy Consumption

If you see anyone reverting to energy-wasting habits, take the employee aside and gently remind them of the end goal: reducing restaurant electricity bill costs together as a team.

11. Reward All Star Energy Savers

Consider rewarding your staff for helping you with reducing restaurant electricity bill payments. If you hit an energy-saving goal or even see minor improvements on usage, use one of these 13 ways to reward restaurant staff.

12. Promote Your Efforts on Social Media

There’s power in numbers, so get the community involved. You don’t have to explicitly say you’re on a “reducing restaurant electricity bill costs” mission. Emphasize that you want to be a more responsible business owner for the good of the environment.

Customers (especially millennials) tend to be more loyal towards businesses that get behind non-profit causes. Use social media to share ways your team is saving on energy.

Reducing restaurant electricity bill costs doesn’t have to be a shock to your system (sorry, we couldn’t resist). Just a few small adjustments could make a big difference in your monthly bill.
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