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Water Conservation in the Restaurant Industry

Have you been looking for ways to conserve energy in your restaurant? There are a lot of ways to make your restaurant more "Green". without fully revamping into a green house. According to epa.gov, “water used in hospitality and food service establishments accounts for approximately 15 percent of the total water use in commercial and institutional facilities in the United States.” This means that a significant amount of water is used in the restaurant industry, leaving generous room for conservation.

Operate Your Kitchen More Efficiently

  • Replacing equipment with ENERGY STAR® . models will help lower water usage as it reuses water throughout cycles. Furthermore, Energy Star appliances also consume less energy which another great benefit. A reported $362 billion dollars have been saved over the past 20 years using ENERGY STAR® products.
  • Replacing equipment that releases water constantly with models that turn off automatically when not in use is another smart investment for a more efficient kitchen.
  • Opting for air-cooled machines instead of water cooled will cut a significant amount of water usage.
  • Don't do partial loads of dishes. Wash full loads only.

Efficiency in Non-Kitchen Areas

Water conservation spans far beyond your commercial kitchen. You can look at other areas of your establishment for savings opportunities. Some areas include:

  • Toilets, bathroom faucets, and urinals come available in efficiency models., saving 20 percent more water.
  • Ensure all sensors on faucets, are working correctly. Motion activated toilet or faucets should be checked to ensure they are not too sensitive. This can save you a lot of unnecessary water usage.
  • Opt to serve water only as requested. This will cut down on glasses and pitchers need to be washed and obviously water being consumed.

Change Habits

Communicating with your staff about water conservation may seem like a minor change, but it offers significant benefits. Employee awareness will help to get everyone on the same page. Staff members who deal with your foodservice cleaning duties can learn how to cut down on water consumption if they are well educated about opportunities. Be mindful that you may have to get creative with encouraging conservation best practices, or enforce changes as a policy and procedure.

Train your staff to practice a few water-use habits such as:

  • Turning water off between usage – oftentimes, staff members will leave water running for convenience (pedal-activated sinks may help).
  • Scrape dishes prior to rinse - Have your back-of-house staff scrape dishes with a squeegee over a trash can before rinsing or loading into the dishwasher.
  • Thaw food in refrigerator – Refrigerated thawing avoids the need to thaw foods using water.
  • Limit use of sanitation buckets - by exchanging buckets for sanitation bottles, you can save up to 14 gallons of water per day and limit the amount of harsh chemicals being dumped. Make sure to check with your local health inspector as some areas require buckets.
  • Reclaim water when possible – by re-purposing water grey water from chafing dishes and steam tables for cleaning.

Repairs and Other Ways To Save

  • Check your water heater and plumbing often for corrosion. Corrosion will eventually cause a leak, making water use more expensive.
  • If you have a sprinkler system, install rain sensors to make sure the sprinklers don't run when its raining.
  • Use brooms rather than mops when possible.

Save Water, Save Money

A friendly nudge when you notice an employee being excessive with resources may be all it takes to encourage change. Remember, small modifications can reap huge benefits. If you want to save money helping the environment, practice these simple ways of water conservation. With these changes, you can spend more time and investment focusing on your restaurant, and your customers!

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