Cost of sleeping catering equipment is a wake-up call for operators

Kitchen pass

A new ‘save while you sleep’ programme is promising to help operators dramatically cut energy and carbon costs when their kitchens aren’t in operational use.

The initiative is the idea of collaborative action group The Zero Carbon Forum, which counts the likes of Nando’s, Mitchells & Butlers, JD Wetherspoon and Wagamama among its membership base.

The programme works by implementing a simple and impactful two-stage ‘10-minute’ shutdown process.

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This includes a five-minute prep check to ensure all timers are set correctly and all food is emptied from chillers and fridges, as well as a five-minute appliance and lighting switch-off checklist.

Each stage is combined with analytics from forum members’ energy smart meters to achieve substantial cost reductions.

The Zero Carbon Forum claims operators can make savings of up to £4,900 and 10 tonnes of CO2 a year, the equivalent of flying from London to Tokyo six times.

Every outlet receives a weekly report detailing their overnight shutdown performance with carbon and costs saved, plus bespoke actions to achieve their ‘best ever’ future usage.

An ongoing maintenance programme for members further ensures that all equipment is regularly checked for maximum efficiency, and forum carbon ‘coaches’ are assigned to regularly advise operational teams on the best ways to keep energy use to a minimum overnight.

Mark Chapman, founder and CEO of the Zero Carbon Forum, said: “By engaging this programme, members can simply yet effectively realise cost savings while cutting carbon.

“Equipment left on overnight costs the average hospitality outlet £4,900 a year in lost profits and emits 10t of CO2.  Across our forum over the space of a year, this equates to £73.5m in lost profits and 50,000 tCO2.”

Mr Chapman said that to take part in the scheme, operators simply need to provide their opening hours by location and give it permission to access their smart meter data.

The ‘save while you sleep’ scheme has been trialling for several months with several forum members, including The Restaurant Group and Burger King.

James Taylor, head of sustainability and environmental purchasing at The Restaurant Group, said: “As a founding member of the Zero Carbon Forum, the overnight energy initiative forms part of our broader business plan to reduce our emissions to net zero as quickly as possible. We’re delighted with the engagement we’ve seen from using our consumption data to highlight specific opportunities to save and cut wastage.”

Nicola Pierce, head of strategy and responsible business at Burger King, said: “Engaging our teams to minimise energy waste is a key part of our commitment to reach zero direct carbon emissions by 2030. The overnight energy initiative enables our teams to understand the part they can play through their daily practices by highlighting the carbon impact of achieving their best ever usage every night.”

Claire Hussey, risk and compliance director at TGI Fridays, added: “We’re on track to save 1,000 tonnes of carbon this year across our restaurants through our teams taking action every day to minimise their energy use. We’ve launched our green mission to help tackle the climate crises by reducing our own emissions with each restaurant receiving a Carbon Statement each week to show how they can reduce their impact.”

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Tags : carboncatering equipmentEnergyThe Zero Carbon Forum
Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

1 Comment

  1. All makes 100% sense but what about the other end of the day when the operators / cleaners come in and basically turn everything on, especially lighting when the site don’t open for at least another 2/4 hours. How many times have you driven past an establishment at say 7-8am in the morning and the whole place is lit up like a Christmas tree and then think, only the cleaners are in. Now imagine a cold morning and the kitchen staff arriving, “bang, bang, bang” go the switches, most of the kitchen equipment gets turned on, perhaps to pre warm the kitchen. Most equipment these days don’t take that long to get up to operational temperature, so why if the site opens at say 11.30am (pub etc) is there a need to turn on most of the equipment on at say 9.30 – 10am when the kitchen staff arrive, especially if its gas equipment being turned on as that means the extraction system has to be on to remove the CO2 emissions. All wasted energy that can be save, this not being a new topic of conversation.

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