For your staff and for your energy bills, kitchens are intense and exhausting places. The storage and cooking of food, especially for a large number of people, requires huge amounts of energy – from the gas required to power the stoves to the electricity for fridges.
A lot of the energy used in kitchens often goes to waste. This sounds like a problem, but what it means in practise is that there are several opportunities go cut down your energy usage, while reducing your carbon footprint.
Restaurants naturally have a high energy usage. On top of food production in kitchens, they also require high amounts of energy to heat and light the dining room, where guests need to feel comfortable to have a pleasant dining experience.
The amount of energy your restaurant uses will depend massively on its size, however. Smaller restaurants will have a lower energy consumption than larger ones with multiple dining rooms.
A typical small restaurant is likely to use around 15,000 to 25,000 kwh of energy a year, whereas a medium to large one can use around 50,000 to 60,000 kwh.
Clearly, this sort of annual energy consumption is expensive, and bills can easily eat into your profits. Being on the best business energy deal for your restaurant can help with the basic cost, but there are a number of practical changes you can make to cut down on your annual bills too.
Making sure that your kitchen is as efficient as possible, through changing behaviours such as turning off lights when not in use, and using appliances with better energy efficiency ratings can help you save hundreds of pounds over the years, which can be used on other parts of your business to help it grow.
One of the easiest ways to make sure that your kitchen is wasting as little energy as possible is upgrading to the most energy efficient appliances possible.
The actual process of cooking accounts for most of your kitchen’s energy usage. However only 40% of the energy used to power the cookers and ovens is actually used to make the food, with the rest being wasted.
Grills are notoriously large wasters of energy, and switching to an induction model, which is only powered when there are pans on the hobs, will drastically cut down on your energy consumption.
So too will upgrading your oven. Modern day combi ovens are now the standard in restaurants, which use a combination of steam, convection, and heat to cook your food. These not only use less energy than traditional ovens, but also help to make your food juicier and more evenly cooked.
After cooking, refrigeration is the kitchen appliance which uses the most energy. Your fridge will be on all the time, so it helps to make sure yours are as efficient as possible. You can find out how efficient your fridges are by looking at their energy rating. Look out for Energy STAR models when shopping for new ones
Traditional electric hobs are far less efficient and more expensive to run than gas stoves. Electricity costs far more per unit than gas in the UK, and old electric hobs take longer to heat up and cool down than gas hobs. This also applies to ceramic glass hobs, which take a long time to heat up and cool, meaning more energy wasted, as well as being more difficult to control the temperature.
However, newer induction hobs use infrared technology, and remain on ‘standby’ mode when they are not being used. These turn on automatically when there are pans on the hob, so do not waste energy when they are not being used.
Changing the design layout of your kitchen can not only help your staff, but also waste less energy and help you save on energy tariffs for restaurants. Making sure that there is a proper ventilation system in place means that temperature control will be improved.
It is important to check your heating system as well. Kitchens naturally get hot, so make sure the heating is not turned on unnecessarily, as well as being distanced from refrigeration areas, which will have to use more energy to stay cool if surrounded by more heat.