When it comes to running a business, just about everything boils down to money. While employers should certainly work to provide a quality product, maintain high levels of customer satisfaction and meet the needs of their employees, it’s important that these practices are done in an efficient and cost-effective way. After all, all the responsible business models in the world won’t make a difference if the organization itself can’t stay afloat financially.
Hospital food service managers who are looking to keep their operations running smoothly while also keeping costs down may want to look at environmentally friendly practices as a way to save money in the long run. By investing in green technologies and eco-conscious initiatives, managers can work to save energy, minimize costs and reduce their overall carbon footprints, which can also help boost customer and patient satisfaction scores. Here are three areas to keep in mind that can allow food service establishments to reduce energy use as well as their monthly bills.
Invest in energy-efficient kitchen appliances
As the old saying goes, sometimes you need to spend money to make money. In this instance, investing in new kitchen appliances that are designed to use less energy can be a great way to keep utilities costs down well into the future. While this step demands money up front, the financial and environmental rewards will continue delivering for years to come. Hospital food service operators looking for high quality eco-friendly appliances should consider purchasing Energy Star products that are certified by the federal government.
Not only can Energy Star kitchen appliances like stoves, microwaves and refrigerators keep costs down, but managers can find a variety of rebates and discounts designed to encourage green business practices. EnergyStar.gov reported that a study by the Pacific Gas and Electric’s Food Service Technology Center found that inefficient kitchen appliances for cooking and storage are among the greatest energy drains for food service establishments. Out of the $10 billion spent annually on energy by American culinary organizations, 80 percent is due to a lack of efficient appliances.
Minimize inefficient energy practices in the kitchen
Even with a slew of Energy Star appliances at the ready, kitchen staff members can still waste energy if they aren’t properly educated about green cooking practices. In fact, many of the everyday operations found in kitchen across the nation can be altered to save gas and electricity. One of the key ways kitchen staff members can be more efficient when cooking is by limiting unnecessary use of various appliances.
For instance, preheating multiple ovens for more than 15 minutes is not necessary for cooking during a slow lunch hour. Using microwaves to thaw and defrost foods can also avoid excessive cooking times on the range top or stove. By eliminating periods where appliances sit idly by wasting energy without actually working to prepare food, food service managers can come up with a cooking schedule that maximizes energy use.
Consider lighting and ventilation efficiency
Issues like installing the proper light bulbs and having the ventilation systems inspected for efficiency may seem like small details next to the gas-guzzling power of stoves and ovens, but keeping an eye on these aspects of a food service establishment can make a world of difference.
According to Food Service Warehouse, annual energy costs have been increasing by 6 to 8 percent every year, which is significant considering that energy already accounts for 30 percent of many businesses’ yearly expenses. By hiring professional maintenance crews to repair heating, air conditioning and general ventilation systems and purchasing energy-efficient lighting fixtures throughout the kitchen and floor area, operators can reap the benefits of a leaner and greener establishment.