Casual Dining Group (CDG), the operator of the Bella Italia, Café Rouge, Las Iguanas and La Tasca restaurant businesses, has reduced its annual energy use by 17% over the past four years, it has revealed.
The reduction, which has been delivered by identifying and targeting energy waste across its 300-strong restaurant portfolio using iC analytics from Carbon Statement, means the group is now one of the most efficient operators in the sector – as measured by the Hospitality Sector Carbon Reduction Forum (HSCRF) energy benchmark.
The HSCRF has hailed the result, especially given the complexities of delivering such savings in the hospitality sector.
Despite energy usage representing one of highest controllable costs, it is an issue that the restaurant sector as a whole has historically wrestled with, given the challenges involved in identifying energy waste across many different sites, compounded by variable trading patterns and weather effects.
While many companies in the sector use analytics to control labour and stock, few operators are embracing this technology to control energy use, it said.
Following a successful pilot in 2011, CDG rolled out iC Analytics across its restaurant business and is now achieving the piloted results, across the group.
The iC analytics tool uses hospitality-specific metrics to identify where energy waste is occurring and provides restaurant teams with actionable information to reduce energy waste through engaging reports.
An ongoing co-ordinated operational programme also includes regular communication, training, auditing and team incentives to maintain the focus.
Tim Doubleday, CDG’s CFO, said: “We’re delighted with these results. Working with Carbon Statement has enabled us to eliminate unnecessary energy use across the group. As well as minimising our environmental impact, this work clearly has a significant commercial impact, which is very meaningful across a national business comprising almost 300 restaurants.”
He added: “As a result of engaging our restaurant teams through iC analytics, energy management processes and awareness are now part of our everyday business operations. We now have much better control of a major cost line and engaged teams that know how to optimise their energy use.”
The Casual Dining Group operates primarily under the Bella Italia, Café Rouge, Las Iguanas and La Tasca formats in the UK, although also operates restaurants that trade under the brands of Belgo, La Salle, Huxley and Oriel. It also has restaurants in the Asia and the Middle East, which operate under franchise.