Foodservice kitchens and their use of water – to cook, wash food and dishes, and clean – are “blind spots” when it comes to the energy-saving measures championed by operators, it has been claimed.
Poor water management – including inefficient use, improperly maintained equipment, poor staff practices, sewer blockages and leakages – is costing the industry a significant sum of money and also contributing to water scarcity.
And according to the ‘Why Care About Water’ report from Meiko, the issue is impacting the sustainability of foodservice operations locally, such as when a business competes for water with its neighbours.
Paul Anderson, managing director of Meiko UK, said: “Responsible water use is about interest in making this planet a better place. For users, it’s about savings on the bottom line: water costs can be between 1% and 2% of a UK-based company’s turnover. For warewasher manufacturers, it’s about better solutions. Every manufacturer should do the same. We need to agitate, to shake things up and to make sustainability the status quo.”
Figures contained in the report show that operators could achieve savings of 30% to 50% by investing in no-cost and low-cost water reduction techniques and technologies. That is the equivalent of more than £1,000 a year on the bottom line.
Yet many operators are still focusing their water-saving efforts around washrooms rather than kitchens, and failing to educate staff in best practice actions.
“For operational foodservice staff, it’s easy to say, ‘it’s not my bill’ and leave the lights on, or the tap leaking and shrug off the consequences as ‘not my problem’. For warewasher manufacturers, it’s about cleaner solutions, not just clean plates,” continued Mr Anderson.
“We need to look at the bigger picture and the steps we can all take to make a difference. Yet as business leaders, this is where we can and must do more, not just for the bottom line for the business – although this is a great incentive – but so we are also doing our bit for the planet.”
Meiko’s report provides a best practice guide for foodservice operators who wish to improve their water management.
It sets out the business case and ethical case for responsible water management. And it provides a guide to implementing responsible practices in foodservice kitchens.