Our expert team answer 4 big questions on where to make savings on your commercial kitchen’s energy use this Autumn/Winter.
The Government’s new Energy Bill Relief Scheme promises to provide a discount on wholesale gas and electricity prices for businesses. However, they have also stated that wholesale prices are still subject to increase. This means that even with the new scheme, business owners may still need to find ways to make their operations more cost efficient.
We serve a range of clients, from those with a wealth of experience to those just starting out. Operational cost increases will affect them both. So, we wanted to share our industry knowledge gained over years of delivering and maintaining top quality kitchens to help in some small way towards maximising your commercial kitchen’s energy use. While we know there will be elements in here you might already be familiar with, we’re aiming to provide value for our whole client base.
The insight behind this feature was provided by the expert team at Gratte Brothers Catering Equipment Limited. Don’t hesitate to get in touch to see how we can help with your next commercial catering project.
- Which appliances cost the most to run in a commercial kitchen?
The appliances that cost the most are the ones which are left on but not used or used infrequently! Older equipment tends to be left running as they lack the functionality of an ‘idle mode’ (which is now a fairly standard feature in modern equipment). Traditional gas salamander grills are notorious for being left on constantly but used infrequently and not for long. Equally, traditional solid tops (both electric and gas) tend to be left on for the length of the service – draining energy when not being used.
In addition, it’s important to ensure your equipment is well-maintained so it’s always running at optimum performance. We carry out planned and reactive maintenance to the highest standard, get in touch if you’d like to know more!
- Where can I reduce my energy costs?
Over the past few years, the industry has steered towards favouring more agile equipment that has more flexibility in functionality, i.e., combination ovens and multi-purpose Bratt pans. We recommend reviewing the equipment in your kitchen—do you have the right mix for what you need? Furthermore, make sure you’re using your equipment to the best of its ability. For instance, combi ovens are not designed to be on continuously—by doing this, you’re reducing the lifespan of your equipment. Some ovens heat at the rate of one degree per second, so cooked-to-order menus will facilitate tailored use.
Another area that would work to reduce your energy costs is moving towards new equipment that feature an ‘idle mode’ as mentioned earlier. If you’re considering upgrading your equipment, make sure you find environmentally friendly ways of disposing the old units. To dispose of old or unused equipment safely and efficiently, consider reselling it to generate extra income for your business. We’ve worked with Ramco in the past; a circular economy specialist that connects suppliers with second hand buyers.
Induction stoves (rather than gas and electric) automatically turn off when a pot is removed, in addition, the power is equal to if not greater than gas and is far more controllable! Induction cooking requires a higher voltage electrical supply than traditional electric appliances. This means that refurbished kitchens aren’t always able to install induction as their supply wasn’t built to support it. To get round this, some gas hobs are available that have integrated pan detection. This works via a small mechanical lever that drops the flame down to pilot level when pans are removed from the ring.
Refrigeration represents a huge energy category for any kitchen as equipment is required to be on 24 hours a day. This makes it vitally important to invest in quality equipment. We recommend well insulated units and consider ones with drawers rather than doors! Doors allow the cold air to cascade out when opened (cold air sinks, warm rises), whereas drawers trap the air at the bottom – keeping the cold in.
When it comes to ware-washing, we recommend double-skinned equipment. Many dishwashers now come with integrated heat capture systems – capturing the steam to preheat the cold water needed for the next wash. These systems have the added benefit of being more environmentally friendly, as well as cost efficient.
One final area we recommend reviewing is your kitchen’s ventilation system. ‘On demand’ systems can automatically adapt, detecting the energy draw of the gas and electric supplies and adjusting to work when they’re needed, and lie in ‘idle mode’ when they’re not.
- What are some energy efficient swaps?
- Swap out old equipment! Consider the technological advancement in every industry over the past decade or two; the same can be said for the catering equipment industry. If your equipment is 10+ years old, consider replacing with new, more efficient, and agile pieces.
- Switch to induction where possible!
- Replace your traditional gas salamanders with on-demand rise and fall salamanders, instead.
- Utilise multi-function, or more agile equipment. Swapping from traditional ovens to combi ovens. For instance, at GBCEL, we swear by the 10/10/10 rule; 10% quicker, 10% lower temperature needed, 10% more yield (due to the combi oven not extracting the moisture out of the food, which shrinks the final product). While this hasn’t been proven as an exact science, it’s a good rule of thumb to go by.
- Are there any ‘quick wins’ that will help me?
Yes! Our list of ‘quick wins’ can help you keep control of your energy use:
- Get your staff on board. Call meetings with your team and make sure everyone’s on the same page regarding energy usage; not leaving equipment running continuously throughout service etc. Request that they remain vigilant and proactive when it comes to monitoring equipment use.
- If it’s not being used, turn it down, or turn it off! This might sound obvious, but in a busy kitchen environment, it’s easy to slip into bad habits of leaving things running when they don’t need to be.
- Think about the lifetime cost of any new equipment, rather than just the upfront figure. Consider the warranty length, maintenance costs, energy costs etc. This might sound overwhelming, but we can help you with this process.
- Review and revisit your equipment mix: make sure you have the right equipment, and that you’re getting the most out of everything in your kitchen. Resell what you no longer need.
- Utilise our expertise to calculate and compare the energy usage and therefore cost of equipment.
The repeat business we see as a company can be attributed to our commitment to quality. The solutions we recommend are driven by the best course of action for your equipment and your business, rather than the solution with the highest price tag. This is why our clients come back to us for their next projects, their maintenance requirements, and our trusted advice. We can scale solutions to meet your budget and project objectives, and we will always give your friendliest honesty.
If you’re looking for support with your next commercial kitchen project, be it big or small, head to our Contact Us page to submit an enquiry and one of our expert team will get back to you.