In this award-winning column, Foodservice Equipment & Supplies looks at best practices, case studies and more on how to take the best ideas in green building and operations and apply it to your foodservice operation.
Everyone's doing it. All types of restaurants source from local and smaller, regional farms these days, from fast-casual chains to multi-unit operations and higher end, independent restaurants. But dealing with delicate produce and larger cuts of meat entails some minor adjustments in terms of kitchen design, equipment, space and operations.
As energy costs continue to soar, especially on the West Coast, restaurants continue to find new ways to save on utility costs. Luckily, more energy companies are there to help.
Years after the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) unveiled LEED for Retail, few foodservice operators seem to be pursuing the certification unless they are part of larger projects at colleges/universities and healthcare facilities, for example, or publicly funded projects like general assemblies. Likely it’s the extra funding — or perhaps the paperwork and skill set required — that create barriers to entry, but there’s still good news to this story.
The DoubleTree Hotel in Pleasanton, Calif., is the latest participant in the Comprehensive Commercial Kitchen Equipment Retrofit (aka, “the cookline project”), a grant project awarded by the California Energy Commission to the PG&E Food Service Technology Center (FSTC) in San Ramon, Calif. As part of the project, the FSTC teamed up with the Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) to study various foodservice operations in a demonstration of high-efficiency commercial cooking equipment and kitchen system optimization in commercial foodservice.
The Department of Energy’s new energy-efficiency standards for refrigeration will take effect next spring, while the Environmental Protection Agency continues to phase out certain refrigerants with higher global warming potential.
From farmland to an epicenter for sustainable education, Chatham University’s year-old Eden Hall Campus in the North Hills of Pittsburgh serves as the LEED Platinum-certified, sustainable setting for the Falk School of Sustainability that continues to recruit the next generation of change-seekers and policy makers.
Remodeling any existing foodservice facility comes with trials and tribulations, especially around determining which pieces stay and which get replaced. Making this determination represents a challenge for operators and any member of a project team but poses an even more unique task in college and university settings, with their high volumes and frequent menu changes, not to mention budgetary and other constraints.
After launching a multifaceted corporate responsibility initiative and new energy-saving steps four years ago, Arby’s saved more than $20 million and achieved its goal to reduce energy consumption by 15 percent by 2015. The sandwich chain has also achieved an 8.6 percent reduction in water consumption in its company-owned restaurants.
We all get busy. For restaurants and other foodservice operators, it’s especially easy to forget to clean, maintain and check equipment on a daily basis. And many don’t keep logs or concrete schedules in place to guide these important tasks. But when you’ve invested extra dollars to buy top-of-the-line, energy- and/or water-efficient models, maintenance becomes even more important if you want to realize those benefits and cost savings over time.