Are you dreading the summer spike in your restaurant’s utility bills? From the ice maker to the walk-in cooler, all of your appliances spend the season fighting against rising temperatures. The same warm weather that brings in waves of customers takes its toll on your equipment and your budget.

As a business owner, you need to know how to save on your electric bill before the summer heat hits. Implement these energy-efficient practices today to save money this season and throughout the year.

Conduct an Energy Audit for a Better Utility Expense Estimate

In order to make a smart plan for energy savings, you need a clear picture of your restaurant’s monthly expenses for electricity, natural gas and water. In a restaurant, refrigeration represents an average of 43 percent of all electricity costs, and cooking accounts for another 11 percent.

Sixty-seven percent of natural gas expenses are for cooking, and 52 percent of water gets used for dishwashing and kitchen tasks.

An energy audit looks at all the areas where energy is potentially being wasted and provides suggestions for improvements. You can perform one yourself, but hiring a professional with the right equipment and years of experience is likely to give you more detailed results.

Professionals assess the efficiency of your heating and cooling system and look for areas where hot and cold air are leaking, ducts are in need of repair and insulation is required. Based on the findings from the audit, you can prioritize your energy-saving investments.

Upgrade to Energy-Efficient Products Throughout the Restaurant

Investing in better commercial kitchen equipment before the summer heat rolls in can make a big difference in how much you spend on electricity. For immediate savings, look for equipment rated by Energy Star; it can be 10 to 20 percent more efficient than what you’re using now.

Make other small changes around the restaurant for additional savings. Installing a high-efficiency spray valve for washing dishes, for example, dramatically reduces water use.

Switching to a connectionless steamer to recirculate water instead of continually pumping in a fresh supply prevents waste. Setting heating and cooling routines for business hours and off hours with programmable thermostat cuts down HVAC use. And it never hurts to swap incandescent sign and accent lights for LEDs.

Adopt and Enforce Smart Energy Conservation Habits

Cutting energy use by 20 percent has the potential to boost profits by 1 percent, and it doesn’t take a lot of effort to achieve this level of reduction. In fact, your employees probably know more than you do about how to reduce utility expenses around the restaurant.

Get your team together, and ask them where they see the most energy being wasted. Turn their responses into a checklist for daily energy management.

Here are a few common practices to consider:

  • Turning off idle equipment
  • Installing motion sensor lighting in storage areas
  • Reducing the maximum temperature on heated appliances
  • Raising the minimum temperature on refrigeration units
  • Installing strip curtains in the doorways of walk-in coolers
  • Establishing energy-saving routines for shift changes and closing

Work with staff members to implement the new rules, and, if necessary, schedule training to reinforce the importance of efficient practices.

Clean and Repair to Maintain Energy-Efficient Appliances

When was the last time your restaurant got a deep cleaning? Chances are your regular routine omits a few areas crucial to energy savings. There’s no better time than right before the summer rush to get serious about cleaning and repairs.

Start by looking for:

  • Broken door seals on refrigerators, coolers and ovens
  • Worn equipment gaskets
  • Broken or worn out heating and cooling elements
  • Cracked or leaking water lines
  • Equipment that hasn’t been properly maintained

During your inspection, take the opportunity to clean heating elements, condenser coils, vents and heat registers. Replace damaged parts as you discover them, upgrading to more energy-efficient options whenever possible.

Finish your seasonal cleaning with routine maintenance for all of your commercial restaurant equipment. If you haven’t already, set up a regular maintenance schedule to ensure peak operating capacity all year.

Services Can Help Lower Utility Expenses for a Restaurant

Switching utility providers can save you even more money if you know where to find the best deals. Professional utility services do the searching for you, taking your needs, budget and current expenses into consideration.

By starting with a utility assessment and using the results to pair your business with the right provider, these services can slash your monthly utility bills and save your restaurant hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

National Business Capital and Services has access to a network of over 75 providers of electricity and natural gas throughout the U.S. and can find the most competitive pricing through reverse auctions.

With 24/7 support from a staff of expert advisors, National is ready to get you on track with utility expenses this summer so that you can focus on running your restaurant without worrying about huge monthly bills.

Call (877) 482-3008 for a free consultation, or fill out a 1-minute application online to get the funds you need to start financing your restaurant growth, and decreasing costs in as little as 24 hours.