The Operator of the Year for Energy Efficiency & Sustainability award, sponsored by Meiko, recognises that with pressure on businesses to act as responsibly as possible when it comes to sustainability, not to mention the rising cost of energy bills, the focus on energy efficiency in commercial kitchens has never been greater.
This accolade pays tribute to the operators that are working hard to make their kitchens greener through the right practices, equipment and standards.
We are delighted to announce that the 2018 shortlist includes the following operators:
As one of the UK’s largest catering operators, BaxterStorey has recognised the need to be as environmentally considerate as possible and it has a dedicated sustainability team to support its objectives. It has developed specific projects to drive awareness among staff, including energy and water efficiency training, while its food waste minimisation and reporting scheme is adopted by 900 sites. Last year it saved 2,500 tonnes of food waste and 25,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions. The company was one of the first caterers to utilise the CaterOps energy management tool and this has resulted in it gaining a clear understanding of kitchen energy usage and catering equipment efficiency in certain sites.
Nando’s has been working with contractors and external experts to create sustainable kitchen practices that can be rolled out across its 400-strong UK estate. Its Cambridge branch, in particular, is a flag-bearer for sustainability, with the store tracking everything from excess heat to grey water, and converting it for use wherever possible. Extract ducts above kitchen grills heat water for warewashing and also warm the air coming into the restaurant to reduce the need for heating, while solar panels provide around 10% of the site’s energy. Rain water is harvested to irrigate plants in the restaurant and chemicals are removed from the business through the use of a special sanitiser system.
With 320 pubs across London and the South East, and more than a million meals served each year across its retail sites, Shepherd Neame’s HQ team has been instrumental in bringing in specialist catering equipment to improve the efficiency of its kitchens and ensure its day-to-day working practices are as eco-friendly as possible. From an operational perspective, the company’s waste is separated into recyclable elements and all of the waste oil from its managed pubs and the brewery’s kitchens is collected and converted into biofuel. This supports a corporate sustainability policy that has led the way in the sector through initiatives such as the creation of a water recovery plant to recycle waste water.
With nearly 700 pubs to its name, Stonegate is committed to making a contribution to the environment and has commenced several projects to achieve this goal. It is working with third parties to manage energy consumption and has now rolled out smart meters to the majority of its outlets. Additionally, over 900,000 litres, or 831 metric tonnes, of used cooking oil was collected from its kitchens and recycled last year following a partnership with Olleco. That arrangement alone was the equivalent of saving 1,909 tonnes of carbon. Stonegate is also working with Veolia Environmental Services for waste collection with the goal of achieving zero waste to landfill for the first time this year.
A focus on embracing new and innovative cooking platforms has seen TGI Fridays bring induction into its kitchens and deploy energy efficient grills at new sites, which in turn is delivering a consistent heat source and improving the working environment for chefs. Innovative programmes to utilise the energy that its sites produce has led to the company introducing systems that capture excess heat from its fryers and convert it into hot water for use elsewhere in the operation, while waste oil goes back into creating biodiesel. The company also recycles all its glassware and crockery as part of its corporate and social responsibility strategy.
The 2018 FEJ Awards ceremony and gala dinner takes place on Tuesday 5 June, the first evening of the Commercial Kitchen show, at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole.