Water conservation isn’t just good for the environment; in the restaurant industry it can be great for your bottom line. More efficient equipment and practices can equal substantial savings on your water bill over time. With so many different appliances and food preparation processes that require large amounts of water to make the final products, there are many ways for the restaurant industry to begin conserving water. From updating equipment to establishing new processes and procedures, water conservation is as much about changing the behavior of the members of your staff as it is about changing your equipment.
The following are some of the best practices for those in the restaurant industry to start conserving water and making a safer work space. If you are looking for ways to reduce your operating costs, experts have estimated that implementing these best practices and more efficient appliances can result in savings on your water bill by up to 15%. By reducing how much water you use, you also reduce energy consumption too, so water conversation has several very positive effects.
The Greatest Contributors to Water Consumption
Before looking at the best ways to conserve, you need to understand where the greatest consumption is.
- Over 50% of all water consumption occurs in the kitchen, particularly for washing dishes.
- Roughly 31% of water consumption occurs in the restroom and other domestic areas in the restaurant.
- About 4% of water used by restaurants goes toward landscaping.
- Only 1% of water consumption is used to cool or heat the facility.
- Just over 12% goes toward miscellaneous uses.
Most of the focus for water conservation should be in the kitchen area, although there are some things you can do to upgrade the restroom to conserve water as well. If you are interested in conserving water for the other areas, you will likely need to look into them specifically as they are more specialized and right now you will get more out of focusing on the two areas that use the most water and have the greater possibility for extra savings.
Updates to the Kitchen
Water is almost constantly flowing in the kitchen. From food preparations to cleaning up afterward, the faucets seem to always be running. You can update the faucets and pre-rinse spray valves. Updating sinks to include aerators, and garbage disposals can start to reduce water use and lower your water bill.
The sinks are not the only appliances that consume a lot of water. The following are some appliances that you can consider replacing to reduce how much water you use in the kitchen.
- Steam cookers
- Water purifiers
Improving the Bathrooms
Updating and upgrading the restrooms can actually do a lot to reduce over-all water consumption, and some of the changes that you make in the kitchen can be made in the restrooms as well. For example, you can use aerators to reduce the flow of water, making hand washing more efficient. Updating the toilets to be more water efficient is the easiest way to reduce water consumption in the bathrooms, resulting in some important savings. Adding leak detection to toilets and sinks can also ensure that any problems are found early so that they can be repaired before you receive a higher water bill.
In addition to changing your appliances, you can make some changes to staff behavior and food preparation and clean up processes.
Add a pre-rinse station for dishes, both when they are returned from patrons and when the cooks are done using them.
Have wait staff ask customers if they would like water or if they would like it refilled instead of simply bringing water to those who may not drink water. This can start to save money over time, although it may take a bit of time for the wait staff to get accustomed to the change.
Defrost meats in the refrigerator instead of in the sink under running water.
When things are slow in the kitchen, make sure to keep the lids on boiling water.
Make sure the dishwashers are only run when they are full.
Use dry cleaners such as a spritz and mop or cloth to clean the floors and counters. This will not only reduce water consumption, it is safer because the floor will not be slippery.
Get an audit on your water use. This can help you to determine the next area where you can make changes to reduce water consumption.