As restaurants and takeaway businesses are large users of water through food preparation, cleaning and customer facilities, it is no surprise that water is one of the highest costs in the industry. With a typical sit-down restaurant using an average of 5800* gallons of water a day, the industry can really benefit from ways of saving water and lowering their costs. Using less water will not only lower your water bill, but also means reducing energy costs, trade effluent charges and environmental impact.
Here are some water-saving tips for driving down your water usage without compromising your hygiene or processes:
1. Measure your water use
Measure how much water you use on a regular basis. This can be checked manually or electronically using a device such as a smart meter, which can be supplied by your retailer. Monitoring your consumption will help you identify or predict periods of high usage so you can either anticipate higher bills or take steps to use water more efficiently.
2. Look at your daily routines
Looking closely at how you use water every day can highlight easy ways to save on water and energy usage. Here’s some examples of how you can benefit from changes to your daily routines:
- Using running water to prepare food such as vegetables can add thousands of pounds to your bill each year – avoid leaving taps unattended for periods of time.
- Cleaning your restaurant can account for as much as 70% of your water usage. Making small changes to your routines could bring significant savings.
- For every cubic metre used, hot water creates 15 times more carbon emissions than cold water - Use cold water where possible to reduce your energy costs and your carbon footprint.
3. Avoid unnecessary waste
Look at some ways to reduce waste or recycle water on site, for example:
- Installing a water butt means you can use rain water to clean windows and floors as well as to water indoor plants and outdoor garden areas.
- Check for anything in need of repair such as leaking taps, which can waste hundreds of litres of water a day. A dripping hot tap will also push up your energy bills by hundreds of pounds a year!
- If you see your bills increasing and do not know why, you may have an underground leak which can often go unnoticed. Your retailer should be able to support you with a stop tap test to investigate.
4. Invest in efficient appliances
A short-term investment in more efficient appliances can bring many benefits and cost savings longer term.
- Dishwashers can reduce water usage versus washing dishes by hand - many models can run in quick wash and low water mode.
- Using motion sensor taps prevents taps being left on, which will save thousands of litres over time.
- Consider updating toilets with lower volume flush options. Or, for just a few pounds you can install a cistern displacement product that can save up to three litres per flush, versus the standard nine litres.
5. Get your employees to help
Making sure your employees know the importance of water efficiency is vital when it comes to lowering usage. Are they aware that your water is metered? By training staff to understand the cost of water and on ways they can help lower usage, they will be more aware of the impact on the profitability of your business.
6. Take a look at your water supplier
Since 1 April 2017, businesses in England can now switch water retailers to benefit from a choice of supplier, just as they can with gas and electricity. Your water will still come from the same source (your local water wholesaler), but services such as meter readings, billing and customer service are now provided by water retailers. Water retailers must be licensed and are regulated by Ofwat.
When looking for a new water retailer, think about the standard of service and value you except, as the cheapest price may come at the detriment to customer service. You may also want to consider extra services such as consolidated billing and ‘value-add’ services that help make your business more efficient.
Getting the best value for your business
Firstly, if you do not know who your current water retailer is, you can find out from the Open Water website.
If you decide to switch, you will need a few details from your current water bill and your retailer will take care of the transfer process, which is usually completed within 20 days. You can find out more about switching on the Open Water website.
Wave is a market-leading water retailer, formed through a joint venture between Anglian Water Business and NWG Business. In bringing together two established companies with solid track records in the non-household water retail market, we are proud to look after the water and wastewater services for over 300,000 businesses across the UK.
We pride ourselves on our service approach and have developed cost-saving services which add real value to our business customers. Visit http://wave-utilities.co.uk/ to get in touch or request a quote and find out how we can work with you to help drive down water consumption, consolidate services and lower your bills.
*Powerhouse Dynamics – White paper - Water, Water Everywhere and 10 Ways for Restaurants to Stem the Flow.