1. Switch to energy efficient light bulbs. Subway recently switched all their light bulbs to energy efficient bulbs in all of their 2000 US franchise locations. Switching to an energy efficient light bulb can save up to $22 per bulb per year. This can add up to quite a savings over time. Also keep lights off when you don’t need them. If you don’t start serving lunch until 11 o’clock there is no reason to turn the dining room lights on until then.
2. Only run the dishwasher when it is completely full. This cuts down on water usage, soap and energy costs.
3. Soak the dishes. Rather than running hot water over them to loosen dried food, fill a sink and let them soak.
4. Install low flow faucets and toilets. This will save between 20 to 40 percent of water usage.
5. Turn down the thermostat. You can still be comfortable at 68 degrees rather than 72 degrees.
6. Switch from plastic to glass. Green restaurants have been following this tip for years. If restaurant uses disposable plates, flatware or cups, considering a one time investment for china, glass and silver. You will save on garbage (good for the environment as well as the restaurant budget) and save money over time.
7. Invest in energy efficient appliances. This is a lot easier said than done, especially in a sluggish economy. But consider that many states offer restaurants tax credits and other incentives for switching to energy efficient appliances. Plus, the savings on an energy efficient appliance can often pay for itself within a year or two.
8. Trim down your menu. Track sales of every menu item and remove menu items that aren’t selling. Also look for ways to cross utilize menu items, using one item for multiple dishes. This will help reduce food spoilage as well as keep food cost under control.
9. Take advantage of e-marketing. More and more people turn to Google to look for restaurants than the yellow pages. Take advantage of all the internet has to offer, from your own website to online advertising. Many companies offer inexpensive e-newsletters you can send to customers for a fraction of traditional prints ads.
10. Train your staff. Teach your staff to sort recyclables, turn off lights, let you know if there is a leaky faucet in the wait station. Ask them to bring in their own take-home containers instead of using the restaurant take-outs.