Your restaurant or food service business uses a lot of water. Whether it’s for cooking, cleaning, soaking or even keep flower arrangements fresh, water is part of your enterprise’s lifeblood — and a good part of your budget as well. Even if you’re in a season or a part of the country where water is plentiful, conserving water is a good way to keep your overall budget under control. Restaurants have some innovative choices when it comes to saving water.
Choose Low-Flow and Air-Cooled Technology
If you have a water-cooled ice machine, it can take 1,300 gallons of water to produce just 800 pounds of ice. That’s because the condenser must be kept cool during operation. Switching to an air-cooled machine saves you 100,000 gallons of water — and the associated costs — per year.
Low-flow faucets and spray nozzles can go a long way to minimizing your water use. Opt for sinks with motion sensors in restrooms to minimize water use quickly. Low-flow spray nozzles at your dishwashing stations use less than 1 gallon of water per minute, compared to older nozzles than can use 5 gallons a minute.
Don’t Leave Water Running
Many cooks thaw frozen foods by running water over them until they come up to room temperature. By planning ahead just a bit, you can save water by moving those foods to the refrigerator for thawing first. Similarly, some kitchen workers may use running water when it’s time to drain the ice trays of beverage dispensers.
Switching your faucets to control with a foot trigger can help save water by giving workers control over turning the water on and off when their hands are full. In addition, you can try posting signs to remind your staff not to leave water running.
Minimize Water Use During Dishwashing
Presoaking dishes before putting them in the dishwasher lets you save water as well, and loading the dishwasher carefully can make sure that dishes get cleaned completely without needing rewashing. Set up a bin that you can fill with water for cutlery and silverware to soak in before washing. Soaking also lets you wait until your dishwasher is completely full before you run it. Since it takes as much water to run half a load as it does to run a full load, this tip alone can help you save big on your water bills. Scraping food into a waste bin rather than using water to spray it away also cuts down on water use, with the added benefit of minimizing the amount of grease that goes down your drains.
Deal With Plumbing Issues
Do you feel as if you’re paying for more water than you’re using? Maybe it’s time to check for leaks. A water leak calculator can evaluate how much water each faucet is using to help you determine where any leaks might be, or you can check water use by turning off all water in the restaurant, then checking the water meter a few hours later to see if it registers water use. Yes, it costs money to bring in a plumber, but that cost can save money going forward, since a serious leak could cost you up to 4,000 gallons of water a day.
Practical choices in technology, maintenance, and procedures can make a big difference when you want to save money by reducing water use at your restaurant or food service business.