Woman paying for a meal at a quick serve restaurantRunning a restaurant is a complex operation that requires a significant amount of resources, and energy consumption is one of the most substantial expenses for any establishment. From cooking food to lighting the dining area and keeping the building comfortable, restaurants require a lot of energy to run effectively. In this blog, we’ll explore the different types of energy usage in restaurants, ways to reduce energy consumption, and the benefits of doing so.  


How Much Energy Does a Restaurant Use   

The amount of money restaurants spend on energy varies depending on several factors such as the size of the restaurant, the type of equipment used, the menu offerings, and the location. However, according to the National Restaurant Association, energy costs typically account for 3-6% of a restaurant’s total expenses.  

Restaurants typically use a lot of energy to power cooking equipment, refrigeration units, HVAC systems, and lighting. The energy consumption of these appliances and systems can vary depending on their age, efficiency, and usage.  

On average, a restaurant can spend anywhere from $2,000 to $6,000 per month on energy costs. However, this figure can be much higher for larger restaurants or those with higher energy demands.  


Types of Energy Usage in Restaurants  

There are several types of energy usage in restaurants, and understanding these can help facility managers identify areas where energy consumption can be reduced. The main types of energy usage in restaurants are:  

  1. Cooking Energy: Cooking equipment such as ovens, stoves, grills, and fryers use a significant amount of energy, as they are in constant use throughout the day. These appliances typically run on natural gas or electricity, and their efficiency can vary based on age and maintenance.  
  1. Lighting: Restaurants require ample lighting to provide a comfortable dining experience for customers. This includes overhead lights, task lighting for cooking and food preparation areas, and exterior lighting.  
  1. Heating and Cooling: Proper climate control is necessary to ensure the comfort of customers and staff. This includes heating in the winter and cooling in the summer, as well as ventilation to maintain air quality.  
  1. Refrigeration: Refrigeration units, such as walk-in coolers and freezers, are essential for keeping perishable food items at a safe temperature. These appliances run constantly and require a significant amount of energy to maintain their temperature.  
  1. Water Heating: Restaurants use a considerable amount of hot water, primarily for cooking and cleaning. This includes dishwashing, handwashing, and cleaning surfaces and utensils.  


Calculate Your Restaurants Energy Costs   

To calculate energy consumption, use the following formula: Energy Consumption = Power (kW) x Time (hours) x Efficiency  

Power refers to the amount of power the equipment uses, which can be found on the equipment’s label or manual. Time refers to the number of hours the equipment is used each day. Efficiency refers to the equipment’s energy efficiency rating, which can also be found on the label or manual.  

For example, if a refrigerator uses 1.5 kW of power and is used for 12 hours per day with an efficiency rating of 80%, the energy consumption would be calculated as follows:  

Energy Consumption = 1.5 kW x 12 hours x 0.80 = 14.4 kWh  

Once energy consumption has been calculated for each piece of equipment, the next step is to calculate the restaurant’s total energy consumption. This can be done by adding up the energy consumption of each piece of equipment. This information can be used to compare industry averages.  


Profile your Restaurant’s Energy Usage  

Profiling a restaurant’s energy use involves identifying and analyzing the restaurant’s energy consumption patterns to understand where and how energy is being used. This information can help identify areas where energy consumption can be reduced and help the restaurant develop an energy-saving plan.  

Here are the steps to profile a restaurant’s energy use:  

  1. Gather Data: Collecting energy data is the first step in profiling a restaurant’s energy use. This can be done by reviewing utility bills, monitoring equipment usage, and conducting energy audits. This data will help identify the restaurant’s baseline energy consumption and highlight areas where energy consumption can be reduced.  
  1. Identify Energy Usage Patterns: Once energy data has been collected, the next step is to identify energy usage patterns. This involves analyzing the data to understand when and how energy is being used. For example, peak energy usage times can be identified, as well as energy usage patterns for specific equipment or areas of the restaurant.  
  1. Conduct a Site Assessment: A site assessment involves evaluating the restaurant’s physical infrastructure and identifying potential energy-saving opportunities.   
  1. Develop an Energy-Saving Plan: Based on the information gathered from the data analysis and site assessment, an energy-saving plan can be developed. This plan should include specific recommendations for reducing energy consumption.  
  1. Implement and Monitor: Once the energy-saving plan has been developed, it’s important to implement the recommended changes and monitor energy consumption to ensure that the plan is effective. Regular monitoring and tracking of energy usage can help identify additional areas for improvement and ensure that energy-saving initiatives are successful.  

Get a free site assessment from GridPoint’s energy experts.  


Common Ways to Reduce Energy Consumption in Restaurants  

Reducing energy consumption in restaurants requires a comprehensive approach that targets each area of energy usage. Here are some effective strategies for reducing energy consumption in restaurants:  

  1. Upgrade Cooking Equipment: Investing in energy-efficient cooking equipment can significantly reduce energy consumption. Newer appliances are designed with energy efficiency in mind, which can save money on utility bills over time. Additionally, regular maintenance and cleaning of equipment can ensure that it runs efficiently.  
  1. Install LED Lighting: Replacing traditional light bulbs with energy-efficient LED bulbs can provide significant energy savings. LED bulbs use less energy and last longer than traditional bulbs, ultimately reducing replacement costs.  
  1. Install an Energy Management System (EMS): EMSs are designed to monitor and control a building’s energy usage, including HVAC systems, lighting, and other electrical equipment. Installing an EMS can save companies up to 30% on monthly energy bills.  
  1. Conduct Regular Maintenance: Regular maintenance of HVAC systems, refrigeration units, and other equipment can ensure that they are running efficiently. Dirty filters and coils can cause equipment to work harder and use more energy, ultimately increasing costs.  
  1. Utilize Demand Response Programs: Demand response programs allow businesses to get paid to reduce their energy consumption during peak demand periods, such as hot summer afternoons.  

Learn more about how GridPoint’s energy management system can save you up to 30% on energy bills.  


Benefits of Reducing Energy Consumption in Restaurants  

Reducing energy consumption in restaurants can provide several benefits, including:  

  1. Cost Savings: Reducing energy consumption can significantly lower utility bills, ultimately saving the restaurant money. By implementing energy-saving strategies, restaurants can improve their bottom line.  
  1. Improved Sustainability: Restaurants that reduce their energy consumption also reduce their carbon footprint, contributing to a more sustainable future.  


Running a restaurant requires a significant amount of energy, but there are several strategies that restaurants can implement to reduce energy consumption. Upgrading cooking equipment, using energy-efficient lighting, conducting regular maintenance, and implementing an energy management system are all effective ways to reduce energy consumption. By reducing energy consumption, restaurants can save money, and contribute to a more sustainable future.