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Energy Management

20 Years of Innovation in the Restaurant Industry

By | Community, Energy Management, Events, Tradeshows | No Comments

The 20th anniversary of Restaurant Leadership Conference in Phoenix, 4days of excellent speakers, forums, networking, and fun. Breakout sessions anywhere from the innovation of delivery to chocolate 101, speakers like the chairman of Panera bread company Ron Shaich to two-time super bowl winning quarterback Peyton Manning RLC has never disappointed when it comes to entertaining and educating the innovators of the restaurant industry.

With over 2,000 restaurant industry executives in attendance delivery, mobile and convenience seem to be everywhere in the air at RLC. The focus in the restaurant industry is heavy in delivery and convenience and how your mobile phone plays a part in all of that. Several of the breakout sessions were centered around delivery and the impact that has on the restaurants and the shifting demands of customers. Problems ranging from, protecting the brand when third-party delivery services are involved, to solving the longtime problem with fry delivery.

As a supplier to the restaurant industry, it was interesting to learn about some of the battles our customers face that we were not even aware were a battle. This type of learning and education is what helps us better serve our customers and identify with their needs. Aligning our platform with the business needs is what we are all about, we fit and mold to a business’s needs, not the other way around. We can all learn from each other, and this was a great event to learn from the leaders in the industry.

Whether you have yet to attend RLC or this is your 10th year going, you can’t deny that the connections made at this event are ones that last. Bringing innovators across the world together to strategize and share best practices is an experience that you learn from, it sticks with you for years to come. Connections and friendships made at this event last a lifetime, and that’s precisely why Small Box Energy continues to support our clients and innovators in the restaurant space.  

 

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Efficient Electrification and Our Future

By | Energy Management | No Comments

The electric power and research institute (EPRI) just published findings showing how electrification in the United States progresses from now thru the year 2050. EPRI used an assessment to examine four different possible scenarios for the progression of electrification which produced seven different findings and many action steps to help realize the benefits of efficient electrification.

The Way of the Future

What the heck is electrification…well you are not alone there! The word seems intimidating, but we have all witnessed this in one way or another. It means the introduction of power to rural areas or, in the case of the United States, displacing older commercial energy forms (coal, oil, & nuclear) with higher efficiency

generation methods. Electrification also includes introducing new end uses of electricity like 3D printing. During this whole process, EPRI found seven significant findings relating to the electrification in the United States which we will delve into next.

source: U.S. National Electrification Assessment (Rep. No. 3002013582). (2018, April 02). Retrieved April 05, 2018, from Electric Power and Research Institute website: https://www.epri.com/#/pages/product/000000003002013582/

Customers increase their reliance on electric end uses

A model EPRI created predicted final energy in the United States in 2050 will grow from 21% to a range of 32%-47%.  With efficient electrification, the cumulative load growth projected is 24-52% by 2050. This projected load growth is believed to be led by the transportation sector. The belief is a more cost-effective choice in transportation is electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. This increased load, however, is not a bad thing, new flexible loads can improve grid efficiency and performance.

Final Energy Consumption Decreases

Final energy can be described as the measure of energy consumed across all fuel types at the end use. Previous to this analysis most predicted final energy consumption would increase, but this study found the opposite. They projected efficiency improvements and advances in lighting, variable speed motors and more efficient internal combustion vehicles, along with the shift from non-electric technologies to more efficient electric tech would create a reduction of 22% by 2050.

Natural gas use increases

With natural gas surpassing coal as the most-used fuel for power generation the importance of this to the electric sector is clear. The projection of increases gives way to comorbid economic and environmental benefits like lower emissions than petroleum and lower emissions than coal when used for electric generation. The prediction ranges from a 118% to 33% increase in their different possible scenarios.

Low-carbon electric generation expands

As of late carbon intensity related to electric generation has fallen because of falling natural gas prices and increased use of solar and wind power generation. Projections show renewable sources will continue to grow driven by cost decline and state-level policies being introduced. As these two increase, considerations into the power system operating more flexibly to accommodate their shifting output is necessary for the expansion.

Emissions Decrease

Across all the different scenarios, electrification lowers system-wide carbon emissions. Research also suggests improvement to air quality at a local and regional level by reducing emissions of pollutants thanks to electrification; assuming policies that move to cut emissions in the future will only improve the air quality further.

Pressure increase to modernize grid infrastructure, operations, and planning

Making the grid more flexible to shift and change with the predictions of more alternative power sources results is essential in this model. Planning for more responsive demand response and storage of power is also critical to the future new load predictions. A shift in the more diverse, electric supply creates a whole new set of challenges for system planners for which they will need to account.

Technology innovation lowers costs and creates opportunities

Ensuring all of the benefits of electrification come to fruition, it is essential that the innovation in electric tech to reduce costs and improve performance is necessary. Relying solely on economics alone to benefit society as a whole is not enough. In this model, industry stakeholders will need to expand upon energy efficiency programs to advance electrification technologies.

The benefits of electrification are many as you can see. The article goes in depth into every aspect of what would need to happen alongside electrification for all of the above benefits to come to fruition. Things like cleaner energy production, grid modernization, developing new analytical tools and so on. In-depth studies like these benefit us all, not only does it educate people who may be unaware of the benefits, it also outlines detailed solutions that help make this prediction reality. Staying knowledgeable is half of the battle, taking action is the other. If we all do our part, no matter how small, it leads to significant change.

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5 Reasons An EMS is Better Than Equipment Controls Alone

By | Early Equipment Diagnostics, Energy Management, IoT, Remote Diagnostics, restaurants | No Comments

I have a programmable thermostat…why do I need an EMS (Energy Management System)?

We have talked to hundreds of customers and some get the concept and importance of an energy management system, some don’t. So just to clear the air on how we are different than your regular old programmable thermostat and lighting control we decided to just list it out for you.

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More Than Hardware

Energy Management Systems collect and store the information they receive about the critical systems they are connected to and communicate with. Most EMS can provide you with trend graphs so when you get a complaint about your dining area being too cold or hot, you have an idea on where the problem is and how to properly diagnose it.

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Integration

There is a single point of reference for anything that the EMS is connected to. One place to change your lighting status, HVAC setpoints, and schedules?! But wait, that’s not all! You don’t have to search through multiple dashboards or multiple menus, they all exist on one dashboard communicating to and from the EMS.

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Energy Visibility

Not only does the EMS provide visibility into your critical systems but it gives you insight into how much power the equipment connected to the EMS is consuming as well as the equipment it is monitoring. Getting detailed information on how much energy you are consuming day over day and what is consuming that energy can powerfully impact the way you run your business. 

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Enterprise Visibility

Multiple locations installed with the EMS can put all of your locations in one place. Changing setpoints, lighting state, and schedules across multiple locations has never been easier. Centralized facilities management makes it easy to prioritize facility maintenance budgets as well as evaluate, rank and optimize locations based on collected data.

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Diagnostics & Alarms

An EMS is capable of sending alarms and alerts to specific parties when temperatures are not being reached or when overrides occur to a set schedule. Early equipment diagnostics are also another added benefit. Most EMS provide trend graphs to pinpoint an exact problem with a refrigeration unit for example, helping to solve small problems before they become larger, more costly problems.

Long story short, an energy management system is much more than your thermostat on the wall. It provides visibility and analytics all in one easy to find location, which empowers you to run your business with confidence. Aggregating all of your locations data across all of the connected systems onto one dashboard makes your job that much easier.

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Smart Systems Anticipate Future Failures

By | Early Equipment Diagnostics, Efficiency, Energy Management, IoT, Remote Diagnostics | No Comments

Smart Software Predictions

IoT seems to be a buzz word as of late, and with everything connected…you have to wonder why? Convenience is a huge piece of it, but it also comes down to these smart systems and how they are interconnected to every aspect of our lives. Smart systems produces data; how can you act on this data? Well unless you know and understand how to decipher it, you can’t. Here at Small Box Energy, our client success managers are what sets us apart from our competition in that they are here to turn ordinary data into smart, actionable data for you. In our daily pulls, we collect over 140,000 data points that span across several different brands, in a single day. All this data comes in the form of graphs and numbers. The graphs are not difficult to decipher, however when the whole reason you purchase a specific software is to save time, so you can see where this can cause problems. Our client success team uses trend graphs to decipher and predict future equipment failures. The graphs below are some of the many ways that our system and data can help reduce costly repairs.

Data In Action

In the graph above our client success managers used the data to determine that the set point of the A/C was set too low, this caused the compressor to run almost for the entire day. The constant running compressor can cause wear and tear to occur at a more accelerated rate because the unit is never shutting off and getting a break.

This graph shows the compressor run time after the temperature on the thermostat was raised by 2 degrees. The run-time was cut by 20%, which increases the life of the compressor, and you avoid paying for costly repairs all because the temperature was set too low.

The next example is similar the last. The walk-in freezer at a restaurant was never reaching the set temperature, continuously running. Therefore it was running excessive defrost cycles to compensate. The client success manager used the data from smart system to determine where the problem started and possible causes. 

The coil in the refrigeration unit was never reaching the set temperature which caused the unit to go into defrost more often than it should have, this increases unnecessary energy consumption but most of all it increased wear and tear on the compressor.

Visibility Breeds Predictions

These are things we see day after day, the chances that all of your equipment in your restaurant or convenience store is running at 100% is slim. Smart systems like chameleon give you the visibility into your store operations as you have never seen before. The difference is before; you were never aware that your compressor in your walk-in was on all the time until you had to fix it when you had just repaired it recently unexpectedly. By merely having these graphs we are saving hundreds of restaurant owners and convenience store owners thousands of dollars in predicting future failures in their kitchen equipment.

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7 Tips to Reduce Energy Use at Home

By | Efficiency, Energy Management, Home Tips | No Comments

Did someone say reduce energy use at home? Reducing energy consumption starts and ends with you, whether it’s in the restaurant you own or in your very own home. We gathered information from our energy management experts on how to reduce energy consumption in your humble abode.

Smart Outlets

Turning lights on and off is simple with a switch right? If that were the case, you wouldn’t vividly recall your father yelling at you from inside to turn off the lights when you leave. A standard incandescent bulb costs about .75 cents every hour its left on, LED and CFL is about ⅙ of that. Considering most people have switched to LEDs the cost isn’t that bad right? Well, that’s one bulb, you have multiple in your house, and if you have kids you know, they are being left on often when they are not home. The impressive part about these switches is they let you turn anything on and off that is plugged into this outlet, not just lamps. I especially found great use when I don’t have to turn around on my way to work to see if I left my curling iron on!

Regular Maintenance of Your HVAC

This particular pertains to that 30-day filter change standard. Not only will changing the filter every 30 days keep the air clean but this will help your unit run much more efficiently. Clogged filters lead to less air intake and your unit running longer and harder than it needs to. All are resulting in more significant amounts of energy consumed. Also, make sure you have your local A/C guy maintain your unit regularly, this will help elongate the life of the A/C and ensure it runs more efficiently.

Programmable Thermostats

These bad boys are great for every occasion; they will help keep a schedule for you without you having to worry about if you turned the air up before you left for work. An excellent add-on with these is that most of them have the filter change setting that will alert you when it’s time to change your air filter again. You can also set home/away/ and vacation times on these, allowing you to focus on the more essential things in life like your kids and how to get them to keep that darn door closed during the summer.

Out with the OLD in with the NEW

If you can, switching out old light bulbs is a good start. It may seem costly at first but in the long run is the more efficient bulb. While incandescents are cheaper, they don’t last as long as LED’s and 90% of their energy used is given off as heat! LEDS’ last 8-25 times longer than a standard incandescent light bulb. Switching this little thing can save you anywhere from 25%-80% compared to their energy-hungry counterpart. While you’re at it switching out old appliances with energy star rated appliances ensures you have the most efficient equipment that you use daily.

It’s Gettin’ Hot in HERE!

Check that temperature on that water heater! Chances are you always use the cold to offset how hot the water is, so you are wasting all that money heating the water to a temperature you don’t even use. An even better suggestion is to add a timer to the water heater so it isn’t running 24/7. Limiting the amount of things that require human interaction to reduce energy use is a sure key to success. 

Energy Suckers

Be aware of “always on” loads like Audio Visual and TV equipment, charges, anything that can go into “standby” mode. These are often referred to as the culprits of “Vampire Power”. A typical home has around 40 products  that are constantly drawing power. That can add up to 10% of your energy consumption, checking these little things can reduce energy use little by little. 

I’m Just a Bill, Yes I’m Only a Bill

Make sure you know how your utility plan works.  For example, time-of-use plans charge premiums for peak periods throughout the day. So do dishes, laundry, run pool pumps outside of the peak hours. Doing this will help you avoid those expensive peak charges and keep your home running smoothly and works hand in hand with your goal to reduce energy use. 

It’s the little changes that always add up. Making these small adjustments now may seem like a pain now and some of them more costly than others, in the end the payback in your pocket and for the environment will be worthwhile.

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3 Reasons Why an EMS is a NEED to Have

By | Early Equipment Diagnostics, Efficiency, Energy Management, restaurants | No Comments

Let’s start this article off with..no one actually NEEDS anything…you don’t need to have a car…you don’t need to have a tv…..but we have these things to make our lives easier and much more enjoyable. The same goes for an energy management system (EMS) for your business, whether it’s in a convenience store, retail store, casino or a restaurant.

Around since the 1990’s, energy management systems have been creeping their way into our everyday lives. Whether it’s in your home with your programmable thermostat or in your office building with automatically scheduled lighting, EMS systems are part of the new IoT revolution. A new study conducted by Forbes found that businesses are fixated on IoT and how it can slingshot their business into the future with ease, over 90% of businesses surveyed in fact. Why?

The Environment:

It’s just the right thing to do for our environment and for your business. Restaurants consume twice as much energy per square foot than any other industry. The energy that Americans consume is 90% nonrenewable and this vast energy consumption is contributing not just to the depletion of resources but is contributing to the deterioration of our environment. Having an Energy Management System in place helps to cut back energy consumption, not only do you have the piece of mind that you are doing your part to save the planet but it allows for functionality.

Convenience

Everyone has a smartphone in their pocket. The world is shifting to an IoT state of mind. Access to your house lights, garage, and A/C all from your phone. If your house has it….why wouldn’t you implement it into your business? Most EMS gives you the flexibility to not only monitor remotely but they also enable control. Gone are the days of driving up to your restaurant on a beautiful, sunny day, birds chirping and parking lot lights on. Give yourself a break and your staff for that matter, give them the convenience that will make facility maintenance using early equipment diagnostics, lighting schedules, and temperature alarms right in their back pocket.

The Bottom Line

An energy management system or building automation system can help with your bottom line in several different ways. Providing energy savings by way of reducing your energy consumption is the first, most obvious way. Your energy consumption can be monitored and scheduling can be set on your critical systems to reduce the amount of consumption and limit the times to non peak times, maximizing our energy savings. Other ways that are not as apparent are in early equipment diagnostics and food safety. Food safety is a bit of a tricky one, it’s sort of like insurance. You don’t really value it until you need it. Having a food safety incident where your food temperatures come into question with the public, you can’t afford to have some sort digitized way of keeping track of your food temperatures and the times they were last checked. Early equipment diagnostics is something the industry has shifted focus to recently, managing an entire portfolio and prioritizing maintenance can be a daunting task. With an energy management system in the mix you have a way to analyze that data and prioritize your maintenance dollars to go where they are needed most. Most energy management systems provide reports on the equipment functionality and number of problems encountered. This data coupled with your effective management team makes your facilities maintenance unstoppable.

IoT is the most important emerging technology today. To effectively compete in this data driven, digital economy you have to at least have a grasp or plans on how your business will incorporate IoT to make your business successful. These smart systems predict future equipment failures, and  help you manage and address them accordingly.

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10 Reasons Why Your Food Shouldn’t be the Only Thing That’s Sustainable

By | Community, Efficiency, Energy Management, IoT, Restaurant Tips, Uncategorized | No Comments

Sustainable is an all to familiar buzz word in the restaurant and several other industries as of late. It seems to have become more prominent the more we learn about our environment, our food, and how the two are connected. We deep dive into the industry every time we perform a new install, according to trends for restaurants and EMS systems as of late here are some reasons why your food shouldn’t be the only thing that is sustainable…

1

Because it’s good for our environment: Getting food from the farm to our fork eats up 10 percent of the total U.S. energy budget, uses 50 percent of U.S. land, and swallows 80 percent of all freshwater consumed in the United States

2

Restaurants use 2x more energy per square foot than any other industry: Producing energy contributes to the breakdown of our environment. Power plants must produce more power to keep up with the demand, which emits more co2 emission into the air. Americans emit about 9 tons of co2 emissions per person per year, this is only accounting for the power sector!

3

LEED the Restaurant industry: Prove to your customers you are going the extra mile to help the environment in every way you possibly can. Get a LEED certification to initiate change and do your part in the restaurant community. Check out the requirements to become a green building here. Not to mention all the awesome PR you’ll get because you love the environment and are doing your part to help!

4

Millennials love the environment: Young adults age 25-34 and families are more apt to be influenced by a range of sustainability and sourcing menu terms. This only increases your business when millennials comprise about ¼ of the U.S. population!

5

unEaten food at retailers, restaurants, and homes costs about $161 billion annually: Uneaten food by patrons does not always get taken home…diners leave 17% of meals uneaten and 55% of that 17%  are not taken home and just thrown out. That’s money that could have been in your pocket and lessen food waste. Options to help reduce food waste include offering smaller portion sizes, identifying what options are being wasted, and a restaurant in London even charges a fee for unfinished food and donates those proceeds to the charity Oxfam.

Restaurant Energy Consumption

6

Refrigeration accounts for 32% of a restaurants total energy consumption: Simple inspections of refrigerator equipment is all it takes to ensure you are as efficient as you can be. Regular cleaning and inspection of refrigeration coils and door seals can save you a headache later. Controllers that mitigate defrosts are also ideal to cut down on defrosts and conserve energy.

7

19% of a restaurants energy goes directly to lighting: Making the switch to LED or installing an EMS that controls and puts all lighting on schedules can significantly cut your costs where you may have thought that there was nothing left to be done. In a specific Small Box Energy case study we decreased lighting consumption by 8%. 

8

As of 2016 10% of the total U.S energy consumption came from renewable energy sources: That means that 90% of the energy consumption came from non-renewable sources. There is a limited amount of fossil fuels and it takes millions of years to produce, it is estimated that the world. not just the U.S., will run out of fossil fuels within 100-200 years.

9

Food waste that goes into landfills generates methane. Methane is 21 times more harmful than CO2: Another reason to offer carryout containers that are environmentally friendly or add that smaller portion section to your menu like you have been thinking.

10

Installing an EMS (energy management system) can reduce your energy consumption by up to 25% and in some cases $8000 annually: An energy management system can help your business cut where it makes sense and a difference. Simple automated controls and sensors installed in all your critical systems (HVAC, refrigeration, lighting..etc) helps you monitor, control, and reduce your kwh consumption. Reducing your energy consumption by 25% will significantly help in efforts to reduce your carbon footprint. It’s a win win win!

All of these suggestions are merely that, suggestions. They are just words and will remain that until you take action. That’s the challenge. Take action, lead others, inspire and show your customers and peers your motives are not just driven by just making money, but by how what you do has a lasting impact on the environment.

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3 Reasons Why Your Standard Thermostat Isn’t Cutting It!

By | Efficiency, Energy Management, Restaurant Tips, restaurants | No Comments

Restaurants are busy places filled with customers, employees, food, and lets not forget the hot kitchen equipment. We have installed several systems all across the United States in all different types of restaurant builds. In our travels we have seen lots of different types of thermostats installed in locations, from a standard basic thermostat, to high tech programmable thermostats, or the thermostat that came with the building when it was built 40 years ago. We have also come across hacks that employees create and use to get around restrictions for thermostat setpoints.  We all have seen those plastic thermostat guards…but there are even ways to get around those; We’ve seen it all! Here are our top 3 reasons why your standard thermostat isn’t cutting it in your restaurant.

1.Your employees will always set the temperatures to what feels good to them, this temperature may not feel good to the customers.

Time and time again we see this, the balance between the staff and the customers. A good starting point is researching what local business keep their thermostats at around you, or you can simply peek at the thermostat next time you go out to eat. Once you get that baseline you can change it based on your customer’s comments. We often see the employees will turn temperatures way down because they are hot. Of course, they are hot, they are up and moving around and if its a lunch rush forget about it they are sweating. The problem with this is your customers aren’t moving around as fast and frequently as they are so they will most likely be freezing in the temps that feel good to the staff. Find a good balance and stick to it.

2. Employees, and anyone else who can see your thermostat can change set points causing extended run times for A/C units.

You may not have had a problem with your typical, run of the mill thermostat but your energy bill and your A/C units are seeing the repercussions. Having an open thermostat can cause several problems like employees and the general public changing the setpoints which can result in equipment failure if they are tampered with too often or set too low. In this instance, if you think you are covered because you have the plastic thermostat guard…think again. We have seen employees sitting with a hairdryer or setting freezing foods on top of the box in order to get it to turn on. We have even seen implements used to stick through the open spaces to change the temperature. In this case, the best option is thermostats that come as part of an EMS system. In addition to being fully customizable, you get data and alarms that show you when temperatures were changed. These nifty thermostats also give you the option to be locked out completely at a local level, so even if the buttons are pressed or menus are tampered with they will not be able to be unlocked at a local level.

3. Schedules can’t be set or can be set and are tampered with

Scheduling is super important in the restaurant industry, there are rushes and there are times when it’s really dead. During the rushes you will want the temperature to be lower than normal to compensate for all of those bodies in one place at the same time, but who would remember to turn this back up after the lunch rush is over? No one, we see it often where the setpoint is left super low and just continues to run. This causes your customers to be uncomfortable and not to mention all of the wasted energy and money. Having a thermostat capable of schedules is best for the restaurant environment simply because you are subtracting the human error out of the equation. You no longer have to rely on someone to change the setpoint after a lunch rush and back down again because most likely, they won’t remember. Not only will these save you a headache, they will save you the money on your HVAC consumption.

There are several solutions out there to alleviate some of the pain that comes along with each one of these, deciding which is best for your business is the tough part. With the chameleon platform, we utilize schedules that fit to your specific business needs and give access to who you deem necessary. We have the capability to lock out thermostats completely or have an adjustment range of 2 degrees up or down so your staff still feels empowered but you don’t pay for it. We also alert and alarm you to changes if you opt to keep the system open. Providing data on override times, temperatures, and alarms is what helps you pinpoint what your customers want while simultaneously providing you with equipment diagnostics on units and their likelihood to fail.

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6 Things to Consider When Choosing an Energy Management System

By | Efficiency, Energy Management, restaurants | No Comments

Restaurants fit into the commercial sector that accounts for 8.9% of the nation’s energy consumption. Energy Star found they consume 2.5 times the amount of every other commercial sector PER SQUARE FOOT! That’s awatt (haha I had to) of energy, and with energy prices only rising, the monthly utility cost for restaurants is exponential. Future Market Insights says that the energy management industry will soar to 21.6 million by 2025, that’s a drastic change from the 6.3 million that it’s valued at now. That’s because restaurants are not the only ones switching to EMS systems, residential, commercial and even entire cities are switching to more energy sustainable solutions. Because of the large market and overwhelming amounts of information, we put together some key things to look for when considering a building automation system or energy management solution.  

      1.  What are you trying to alter?

This is something that most people would say is a no brainer…but when it comes down to it are you just trying to cut energy or are you looking for an all in one building automation system? It’s important to know exactly what you aim to do with your energy efficiency project and how you plan to measure its success.

      2. Visibility

Don’t settle for less in this area. You don’t want to pay for something that tells you exactly what your standard thermostat tells you. Historical data and trend graphs can make all the difference in how you manage your locations. Don’t settle for knowing the current temperature and what the temperature will change to in 3 hours, know the last time the temperature was changed, how much it was changed by and how it is currently affecting that A/C unit. Document your pain points right now when it comes to what you wish you had in an energy management system and this will help identify and disqualify potential candidates.

      3. Support

Having tons of data collected for you is useless if you cannot understand or do not have the time to decipher it. Choose an option that has dedicated people to help when you are in need. Whether it is identifying trends in data or following up to make sure your staff reacted appropriately to an alarm, make sure you get the support you are actually paying for.  

      4. Modular

Look for a platform that gives you visibility into the areas you are concerned with but don’t limit yourself to what you want right now. We all know too well that the needs of any business are ever changing and right now you may just want energy management…but what happens when corporate wants to incorporate food safety standard that needs to be electronic? More training and possibly different software and whole new system to learn.

      5. Identify existing issues with equipment that affects what you are trying to control

You can’t fix energy consumption related to your HVAC if one of your 4 units is down and making the other 3 work harder resulting in more energy consumption and depleting existing equipment life. Making sure your units are in good working order is half the battle and will not seem like such a surprise when an outside company cannot install their energy equipment because the units aren’t even functional.

6. Ease of use

Get something that is user-friendly. The last thing you want is to have to train your whole staff on a new piece of software/hardware that is not easily navigable and not intuitive. Let’s not forget you will have to use this too 😁

All in all, make sure you chose something that will fit your business not the other way around. There are several options out there for a  energy management solution that is coupled with other areas you might want to venture into at a later time. Seamless is the key, easy training, easy transition, easy money!

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Summer Heat and Your Restaurant Energy

By | Energy Management, Restaurant Tips | No Comments

The month of July is upon us, that means celebrating our independence, fireworks, BBQ’s, and let’s not forget the HEAT! July of 2016 according to NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the mean temperatures were the warmest on record for any month dating back to the 1800’s. We can only hope that temperatures this July don’t supersede that of last years.

Not only is it hot outside but your customers are looking to escape the heat, so no more setting that thermostat to 78 degrees. To keep customers happy and spending more time & money in your establishment your going to want to turn that AC down. The problem with that: your employees will want to turn it down as well but much lower than your billfold would allow. Energy costs in summer months rise…gotta love that whole supply and demand scenario. Lock those thermostats and keep them locked, ensure your customers are happy and employees too with a scheduling system for your air conditioning. Click here if you don’t have a scheduling system set up for your current thermostats. 

Some would argue that since the heat is so unbearable their business is affected because no one wants to venture outside in the heat. Here are some tips to help drive business to your restaurant during these summer months from restaurantengine.com.

     1.Post colorful, refreshing drinks online

          Take advantage of Facebook and those Instagram hashtags! There is no better way to lure people in than with the refreshing drinks they don’t have at home!

     2. Update your Website with summer dishes

          Don’t just update the dishes….but add photos. People are visual and love to see what they are getting. You can also add a dish of the day to your Instagram if you don’t already do so.

     3. Offer online ordering to increase business. 

We live in the age of now and convenience. Rarely do people want to call in to place a to go order if they first don’t seek out the option to place it online. This may lessen the amount of phone calls you receive, it also helps that online order tickets are 5-25% larger than phone-in orders. SHOW ME THE $$$!

      4.   Distribute “Order Online!” cards to customers

             This will help spread the word of your new online ordering feature to people who already clearly love your food! Hand them out to current customers, have them on tables, even distribute to nearby business to place in their break room.

      5.   Upgrade your restaurant decor for summer.

Switch up your decor and do something fun and new that screams summer. New outdoor lighting strands or plants that say….you are not in Phoenix’s 120 heat but a balmy 70 in Oahu!

      6.   Set a blogging schedule and stick to it.

             Creating a buzz about your restaurant and the food offered will help only to bring people in. Pick something different everyday, your blog doesn’t have to look like the prologue to “War and Peace” but just enough to satisfy and leave them wanting more. Don’t forget to post pictures and updates on Facebook whenever you do a blog post. Spread the word and let social media help!

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