In this award-winning column, Foodservice Equipment & Supplies looks at best practices, case studies and more on how to take the best ideas in green building and operations and apply it to your foodservice operation.
Remodeling any existing foodservice facility comes with trials and tribulations, especially around determining which pieces stay and which get replaced. Making this determination represents a challenge for operators and any member of a project team but poses an even more unique task in college and university settings, with their high volumes and frequent menu changes, not to mention budgetary and other constraints.
After launching a multifaceted corporate responsibility initiative and new energy-saving steps four years ago, Arby’s saved more than $20 million and achieved its goal to reduce energy consumption by 15 percent by 2015. The sandwich chain has also achieved an 8.6 percent reduction in water consumption in its company-owned restaurants.
We all get busy. For restaurants and other foodservice operators, it’s especially easy to forget to clean, maintain and check equipment on a daily basis. And many don’t keep logs or concrete schedules in place to guide these important tasks. But when you’ve invested extra dollars to buy top-of-the-line, energy- and/or water-efficient models, maintenance becomes even more important if you want to realize those benefits and cost savings over time.
Producing 20,000 to 34,000 meals a day requires a lot of firepower, energy and labor. That’s the reality Gate Gourmet faces on a daily basis. And thanks to its participation in an ongoing test program, the producer of airline catering and other provisioning services has been able to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent at its Southern California location.
While many of us were celebrating the holidays this past season, the U.S Department of Energy (DOE) was hard at work finalizing a variety of new appliance standards, including those for simple water-saving tools like low-flow aerators and prerinse spray valves.
Last July, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a series of new rules prohibiting certain refrigerants because of their high global warming potential (GWP). The announcements, however, started a flurry of rumors, worries and myths in the foodservice community because of the confusion about which refrigerants would be banned and how that might affect existing equipment and future selections.
Sometimes it seems there’s a plan for everything. A plan for the day. A plan for the weekend, when you might meet up with friends or go on a family outing. A plan for the kitchen, so you know what needs to go where. A plan for the project, with goals, actions and assessments.
In our August issue, FE&S published "Comprehensive Commercial Kitchen Equipment Retrofit," the first article in a series about the cookline project taking place at Werewolf Bar & Grill in San Diego and at other foodservice operations on the West Coast. Earlier this year, the PG&E Food Service Technology Center (FSTC) in San Ramon, Calif., teamed up with SoCalGas and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) for a grant project awarded by the California Energy Commission to study kitchen system optimization in commercial foodservice and the use of high-efficiency commercial cooking equipment in various foodservice operations.
Rebates for energy-saving commercial foodservice equipment can be an incredible resource. This becomes especially relevant when the cost of this equipment teeters on the high range and operators continue to look for ways to prove ROI. Offered by the EPA’s Energy Star program as well as utility companies around the country, rebates can save foodservice operators up to thousands of dollars on equipment. For some operators, a $500 rebate can mean the difference between buying or not buying a specific piece of foodservice equipment.
The kitchen of the future has long been a topic of discussion for David Zabrowski of PG&E’s Food Service Technology Center (FSTC) and Don Fisher of Fisher Consulting. This modern day cookline, they say, would feature all energy- and water-saving appliances as well as optimal design, enhanced operator education and maintenance that could get us closer to the unthinkable in our industry: net zero energy.