5 Sustainability Initiatives That Cut Foodservice Operating Expenses


It’s Earth Week! This is the time of year when the world turns its attention to conserving natural resources to protect our planet. We all want to do our part, but environmental sustainability initiatives aren’t always as economically sustainable as we would like. 

We’ve hand-picked 5 sustainability initiatives that actually reduce operating expenses year-round once they’re implemented. Curious? Read on…

1. Use Less Water

Traditional open-walled ware washing racks leave contents open to germs, dirt, and other contaminants, so they are often wrapped in plastic film between uses or rewashed before use to be safe.

Camracks have open inside compartments to provide thorough circulation of water and promote quick drying, while closed outer walls keep fingers, germs, and other contaminants out. When used with a Camrack cover and stacked on a Camdolly, the system is completely enclosed, so glassware stays clean and sanitary after washing no matter where it’s stored or transported—with no wrapping or rewashing! 

The Bottom Line
If you currently wrap your glass racks, the Camrack System will save you on disposable film and labor. If you re-wash, you’ll reap savings on labor, water, electricity, and chemicals. Either way, most operators find that the system pays for itself well within a year.

2. Prevent Food Waste

According to a University of Arizona study prior to the pandemic, 4-10% of food purchased by full-service American restaurants—an estimated 49 million pounds per day—was getting thrown out. Much of that was due to premature spoilage.

A Cambro Seal Cover on a coordinating food pan extends shelf life 2-3 days on average by keeping out air, moisture, and other contaminants that cause food to spoil more quickly.

The Bottom Line
If 33% of your costs is food—and anywhere between 4 and 10% of that food is ending up in the trash or compost bin due to premature spoilage —1 to 3% of your total budget is being wasted. Proper storage can help add that 1 to 3% back to the bottom line.

3. Reduce Trash

Single-use takeout container consumption has skyrocketed over the past year. Styrofoam containers can take decades to degrade in a landfill, if ever, while compostable fiber trays that end up in a landfill may never properly decompose due to the lack of light and oxygen needed to support the biodegradation process.

OZZI© O2GO is a system that eliminates traditional disposable takeout containers with reusable containers that are made with FDA-approved material, NSF listed, microwave safe, and dishwasher safe for hundreds of uses. The O2GO system can support safety protocols and make a positive financial and environmental impact wherever disposable containers are being used: restaurants (for takeout, delivery, and “doggie bag” applications), schools for in-classroom or hybrid feeding programs, university takeout and delivery, correctional facilities, employee feeding, and more.

The Bottom Line
The University of Wisconsin-Madison implemented the O2GO system, conducted an in-depth study, and concluded that each O2GO container saves up to $88.40 in disposables. Single-use containers also take up a significant amount of trash space causing high waste disposal costs which can be avoided by using reusable containers.

4. Use Less Oil

Historically, serving fried, bone-in chicken of consistently high quality has required a LOT of fresh oil. Created for the unique challenges of cooking high volumes of fresh-breaded, heavy sediment, bone-in chicken products, Frymaster’s FQE30U electric fryers employ a unique automatic filtration system. The sloped-bottom fry pot has multiple oil-return ports that are sequentially controlled to funnel high pressure oil spray throughout the fry pot for effective washdown without clogging.

The Bottom Line
The Frymaster FQE30U with open-pot design requires 40% less oil to cook as much food as fry pots almost twice its size, while using 10% less energy and producing less waste. Frymaster’s ESG35T is a 35-lb. High-Efficiency Value Gas Fryer that has the same cooking capacity as a 45-lb. fryer, saving 10 pounds of oil every time the fry pot is filled. These Frymaster models are ENERGY STAR® certified fryers, so rebates may be available in some areas. Check the ENERGY STAR® Rebate Finder to see offers in your area.

5. Lower Energy Consumption

Looking for ENERGY STAR® certified kitchen equipment is always a good idea. Old equipment is notorious for “guzzling” gas, electricity, and water. Replacing it with newer, efficient equipment can be the ticket to substantially lowering your utility costs.

Energystar.gov offers the following advice for foodservice operators, “When replacing old appliances, or buying new ones, look beyond the sticker price. Ongoing costs of utilities and maintenance greatly outweigh the initial purchase price of a piece of equipment. Buying and installing equipment that has earned the ENERGY STAR® could trim thousands of dollars from your annual utility bills.”

For more tips, check out the ENERGY STAR® Guide for Cafes, Restaurants, and Institutional Kitchens.

The Bottom Line

Champion brought home a National Restaurant Association Kitchen Innovations (KI) Award for the Ventless Rack Conveyor Dishmachine in 2016. The system is designed to capture 100% of the operating exhaust heat and vapor, converting it into useable energy to heat the wash water and assist in heating the fresh rinse water. The Ventless Rack Conveyor allows operators to save up to $3,000 in wash tank and rinse water heating cost annually. It also saves foodservice operators as much as $7,500 on the capital investment of purchase and installing a vent hood.

We are proud to represent a portfolio of equipment manufacturers that offer of a broad range resource-saving equipment and supplies, with too many solutions to list in a single article. In fact, Welbilt, parent company of leading brands Convotherm, Delfield, and Cleveland, to name a few, was just awarded the 2021 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year—Sustained Excellence from the EPA and Department of Energy, for the 12th year in a row.

We can help you implement sustainability initiatives that benefit both the planet and your profits. Contact us!

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