Full Service Restaurant
Difficulty maximizing the full energy savings potential of newly purchased efficient equipment
Developing custom trainings and checklists for employees at all levels that promote optimal and efficient equipment use
New hires and existing employees are adopting new behaviors and producing measurable savings in water and energy use across the chain
As Easy as Pie: Driving Energy Savings through Employee Behavioral Change Management
Shari’s Café and Pies is a 24-hour, full-service restaurant chain located in the Pacific Northwest, and was the first full-service restaurant to join the Better Buildings Challenge, committing to a 20 percent reduction in energy intensity by 2025 across nearly 400,000 sq. ft. of restaurant space. Shari’s conducts multiple energy audits, chain-wide, throughout the year; in addition to metering and measurement, these include auditors walking through restaurants and observing the operations of the restaurant and the staff. Through these exhaustive audits, Shari’s identified several employee behavioral changes to reduce energy and water use while cutting costs across the chain’s 100 restaurant locations.
Two years ago, to promote the necessary behavioral changes amongst employees, Shari’s developed tools, checklists, and training modules for managers and kitchen staff. Posters and checklists were created for each employee position, with a breakdown of how changes would impact them specifically, making the need for these behavioral changes more relatable. By engaging employees in Shari’s goal of managing energy use and being a good corporate citizen, the company has achieved measurable savings in its energy and water bills.
Shari’s has always been an active member of the communities it serves and is committed to resource conservation. As part of a larger energy and water conservation strategy that includes capital investments towards new and efficient equipment, Shari’s integrates efficiency practices in resources for new hires. All new employees are required to complete an online energy and water conservation training, and required to recertify annually.
All Shari’s locations share similar restaurant design (3900 sq. ft. interior floor area), and have identical kitchens, both in terms of layout and equipment. This allowed Shari’s to standardize recommendations across its portfolio. For example, Shari’s was able to negotiate a custom rebate (which reduced costs by about 70 percent) with gas utilities, and outfit the gas broilers at all locations with smaller orifices within one month.
Shari’s found that reducing the kitchen water-heater temperature from 155°F to 140°F would produce savings of 225,000 kBTU, or $2,204 per location, annually. Turning off two of the six broiler burners for eight hours a day – during non-peak business hours – would save almost $600 per restaurant without compromising food quality. The “10 Easy Actions” and “10 Easy Conservation Measures” documents list other energy saving behaviors that Shari’s was able to identify and validate.
Posters & Checklists
Tools & Resources
Shari's developed a number of posters and checklists for employees in different positions, ranging from dish machine operators to cooks and managers:
Shari’s distributes a bi-monthly Energy Newsletter to all restaurant managers and restaurant staff. The newsletter covers a variety of topics, including HVAC maintenance, lighting, irrigation, and waste/recycling, and shows progress for the current year’s energy reduction goal. The newsletter highlights the top five energy reducers during the past two months, and shares their creative strategies, including behavioral changes, for reducing energy usage at their restaurant.
Shari’s measures its success by the amount of decreasing usage and avoided costs at each restaurant resulting from energy efficient equipment and employee behavioral changes, as well as overall awareness and the adoption of Shari’s core values.
Over the last two years, Shari’s has made posters, checklists, and trainings available to staff at all levels, at all 100 restaurant locations. It is now a fully integrated part of Shari’s Café and Pies’ energy management efforts. Chain-wide, between 2008, when the energy plan was first developed, and 2015, Shari’s saw electricity use drop by 6 percent, and gas use drop by 25 percent. Water use also dropped by over 40 percent. The total estimated avoided cost over seven years is over $5.5 million.