Foodservice operators could save themselves thousands of pounds a year by installing submeters in their kitchens, it has been claimed.
With water costs representing as much as 1%-2% of a company’s turnover, operators face the prospect of saving significant cash by measuring and managing how much they consume.
Yet, according to Claire Yeates, director of specialist water management company Waterscan, kitchens are rarely submetered.
“Water volumes are provided for buildings, but this doesn’t tell you where the water has been used. This is why people are focused on bathrooms – you can see it being used and the differences that interventions can make.”
She suggested that installing submeters would ensure sites are aware of the water they use in each area and the impact it has on the business.
Real-time data from submeters also provides immediate information on spikes in consumption. This is especially important for sites that lack incoming water meters – perhaps as tenants within other operations – or those that have water bills assessed on rateable value, rather than metered use.
Ensuring kitchens are submetered means sites pay only for what they use and are rewarded for efficiencies.
This helps the detection of costly leaks and bad practice – such as when a site runs a dishwasher multiple times to compensate for a cleaning chemical having run out.
Once meters have been installed, water metrics can be broken into something relatable, as Greene King did when it equated its wastage to the number of pints it had to sell to recoup the cost of leaving a tap running.
This inspired better water management because it helped site managers grasp the impact of wastage on their profit and loss.
Mike Hanson, head of sustainable business at BaxterStorey, agrees that making figures relatable also motivates users, who can see how their conservation efforts are reflected in reduced usage and costs. And, long-term, it helps future-proof businesses against water conservation legislation.
“People don’t think about water usage because metering is relatively new and there isn’t the consistent rating of equipment like there is with lightbulbs and cookers,” he said.
The impact of water usage in commercial kitchens was brought to the fore at the launch of a new report titled ‘Why care about water? – A Guide to Responsible Water Use in Foodservice’ by Meiko and Footprint Intelligence.
This report provides a best practice guide for foodservice operators who wish to improve their water management and sets out the business case and ethical case for responsible water management.
It also provides a guide to implementing responsible practices in foodservice kitchens.