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Tips to Lower Your Restaurant's Water Bill

Water is the most used utility in a restaurant – cooking, cleaning, dishwashing, you name it. However, there is a significant variation in water usage among different restaurants.

Tips to Lower Your Restaurant's Water Bill

Nevertheless, most restaurants are using up more water than they can afford to.

Some studies suggest that the average restaurant water usage is as much as 25,000 gallons per day. Other estimates have it that a typical sit-down restaurant utilizes anywhere between 3,000 and 7,000 gallons every day, with the average being at about 5,800 gallons. The study also estimated that the average water use per seat is 24 gallons per day. However, quick restaurants were found to utilize about a third of this average, even though their usage per seat is typically higher.

When you take the 5,800 gallons per day average, you get an annual average of 2 million gallons. Without even taking out your calculator, you can already tell that this sums up to thousands of dollars every year. The standard rate is at about .4 cents per gallon.

Thus, the average water bill for restaurants can be approximated to more than or about $8,000 every year. Nevertheless, for a lot of establishments, this bill typically tends to be much higher.

There are other factors other than the restaurant’s size that significantly impact your water usage and costs. For instance, the type of equipment that you use in your establishment could be dramatically affecting how your place is using up water.

And we have not even taken into consideration the impact of leaks – in dish machines, toilets, faucets, and other places which can be significant. For example, a running toilet can use up to 200 gallons of water per day. This could increase the bill for an average quick-service restaurant by more than 10 percent.

The consensus, therefore, is that water is routinely wasted in large amounts in almost all food service outlets, ranging from the smallest diners to the largest restaurants. Fortunately, however, is that there are ways of reducing water waste and cutting on costs. By making modest changes in practices and replacing some of your equipment, you can realize savings of up to 30 percent. In most cases, the potential savings can be even higher.

It is, therefore, imperative that you actively seek and implement practices that will help you cut on this wastage. The following are the best ways to reduce water waste.

1. Do Not Thaw Out Frozen Food by Running Water

Frozen food needs to be pulled out at the right time to afford it enough time for
it to thaw in the cooler. Using running water to thaw out the food only leads to water wastage in addition to jeopardizing the quality of the food. As such, you should pull out the food at the appropriate time and use a thaw rack to ensure you do not have to use water.

2. Employ Energy Star Equipment in the Kitchen, Faucets, Toilets, and Urinals

By using Energy Star models, you can save on energy and water use by up to 20 percent. Additionally, you should use automatic faucets that turn on/off as they will save on the water wasted by faucets which allow water to run continuously. Also, consider using sensor devices for handwashing in the kitchens and restrooms, to not only save on water but to provide a hands-free cleaner environment.

3. Wash Full Racks Only on The Dishwasher

Ask your team only to wash full racks of dishes. Washing dishes when the rack is not full means that the machine will do repeated cycles leading to water, chemical, and energy wastage. Thus, during the slow times, stack up the dishes neatly until they fill the rack. You could also think about a compost program. This involves scraping the food into a waste can rather than using water to spray the food particles off the plate. The additional benefit of a compost program is that it gives your establishment the ‘Green’ credentials.

4. Inspect, Repair, and Maintain Faucets, Sinks, and Toilets

Fix any leaks while ensuring that all faucets are turned off when not in use. Consider this, running a faucet for 5 minutes uses almost the same amount of energy as running a 60-Watt light-bulb for 14 hours. Nevertheless, you might not be aware of leaks. To ascertain this, turn off all your faucets plus water, and then check the meter. Wait for two hours then recheck the meter. If you notice a steady forward movement, it might indicate a leak. Ensure that you identify the source of the leak and have it fixed.

Also, keep an eye on the piping around the appliances as well as the pavement around the building for puddles. A significant leak could lose as much as 4000 gallons per day.

5. Serve Guests Efficiently

A lot of people will forego ordering a glass of water altogether in favor of other beverages leaving the virtually untouched water glasses on the table, yet they still go to the dishwasher. Thus, to mitigate this issue, consider only providing water to the guests upon request or first asking whether they would like a glass before you give it to them.

6. Educate Your Staff

This is perhaps the most crucial variable in mitigating water wastage. Express your desire to save water not only to save on costs but because of the importance of water conservation. Show them your water bill in addition to how much can be saved if water is used correctly. Discuss the above suggestions with them while seeking their feedback on how they think water can be saved. Reward those that follow through with these efforts so as to encourage this behavior.

Water wastage is a crime that most food establishments innocently commit. Not only will you not be playing your part towards environmental conservation efforts, but you will incur much higher costs than you should. By applying the above tips, you should see a significant decrease in your water bills.

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