Plainly, restaurants use a lot of energy. Cookers, chillers, bespoke lighting and temperature control, all must operate at peak performance throughout the restaurant’s opening hours.
Clearly the opportunities for cutting energy and carbon (and therefore costs) are vast, but the key challenge for restaurants is to do so without affecting customer comfort or experience.Building energy management systems (BEMS) in simple terms, will use automation to improve energy efficiency. For example, they can be programmed to keep lights off if outside light levels are sufficient, or turn kitchen equipment off when the restaurant is closed, or the kitchen unused. One sense, saving energy, and consequently money through automation is a no-brainer. With the right solution, it is possible to create a more pleasant dining environment for customers too.

What do restaurants need to consider when specifying a BMS solution?

Non-disruptive installation

Restaurant operating hours are long; the premises are usually open 7 days a week. This makes a wireless BMS product, such WEMS an ideal solution. The wireless communications allow for a quicker installation process and reduces disruption to operations to a minimum. Aimteq can work inside trading hours if necessary; this doesn’t affect customers or staff at all because everything is taken care of back of house. There is no cable pulling, no drilling, no noise, and no mess.

Retrofitting

Another advantage of wireless technology is that it can be installed after a restaurant has been refitted if necessary.
This means that works scheduling which can often be a logistical nightmare, needn’t be so important. Every facilities manager knows the sense of dread when a certain contractor fails to show, while another contractor is on site; already charging for work they can’t even start until refurbishment ‘higher’ up the chain is finished.
BMS retrofitting saves this headache. Flexible works are more cost effective and less disruptive all round.

Removing the ‘people problem’

It is essential to understand that restaurant managers are not facilities managers. They may well not have the technical know-how, or indeed even the time to operate complex BMS.
Logically, and understandably, they will be more concerned with delivering the finest customer experience, rather than energy savings.
The same is likely to be true of staff. Energy, to the uninitiated, is complex. The finest waitress is not necessarily an energy expert, versed in the intricacies of chiller settings and temperature control.
Therefore, a fully automated solution helps save energy with no additional staff needed. Some simple examples of what today’s BMS can do include:

  • Automated lighting to only operate when a building is being used
  • Monitor and control freezer and chiller settings
  • Monitor and control air conditioning, for perfect energy savings aligned with customer comfort

Consider a remote bureau service to resolve issues quickly

A 24/7 bureau service offers comprehensive technical issue solving by the experts. A quick response is guaranteed, leaving restaurant staff free to get on with their jobs.
In a restaurant environment the comfort of diners is key, so any bureau service must resolve issues promptly where possible. It could be something as simple as an equipment fault, or a light that won’t come on. In many cases the issue can often be dealt with immediately over the phone, reducing the need for an engineer to come to site.

Look for a proven track record

Working with a provider who understands the particular challenges of the restaurant sector can deliver the biggest energy saving wins. “One of our restaurant customers, across 38 stores, has hit average annual reduction in energy consumption of 17.85%, equating to a financial saving of over £78,000,” says Darren Blower, Project Manager at Aimteq.
“We can replicate these benefits for other firms too, just get in touch and we will be delighted to discuss your energy management needs.”