8 Ways to Save Water in Restaurants
Climate change is something we can no longer ignore and pretend isn’t happening. We are already seeing the consequences of a warmer planet, and without action these effects will worsen over time.
The restaurant industry can and should take action and while sustainable gastronomy has become a trendy movement, it still isn’t being adopted very widely.
One key element of sustainable gastronomy is water consumption and water efficiency. Chefs and restaurant owners can take the following practical steps to reduce water waste and contribute to a less polluted and friendlier planet.
In addition to environmental benefits, reducing water waste can help reduce operating costs by as much as 11% according to a report by Epa.gov. Because food service facilities use hot water for many tasks, reducing water use can provide real benefits by decreasing energy bills.
Let’s take a look at a few things you can do to reduce water waste.
1. Regularly monitor for leaky pipes and faucets
Just one leaky pipe can generate a huge volume of water waste in the course of a month. Make sure to train your staff to promptly report leaky pipes and faucets and get them fixed immediately.
2. Stop selling pre-packaged water
Most pre-packaged water is sold in plastic containers and plastic is the single biggest cause of ocean pollution. You can offer your clients tap water and make a small investment in a water filter system, which ensures an even cleaner and safer source of water for your clients.
While some guests in fine dining establishments might frown upon the idea of drinking tap water, it’s a matter of educating the public and explaining why you stopped selling pre-packaged water.
Michelin-starred restaurant Relae has a strict policy against selling pre-packaged water and it does not hurt their bottom line.
3. Only serve water to guests that ask for it
This is an easy one. Even guests that except to be served with water will not mind being asked whether they want water or not, and if you stumble upon some gruntled patrons just explain why you’re doing it.
4. Upgrade your dishwashers
Upgrading your dishwashers to eco-friendly models can ensure a reduction in both water and energy usage by up to 10%, according to Epa.gov. That’s a lot of saved water and energy in the course of a year. While replacing equipment is expensive, it does pay off in the long term and you’re also doing something that’s good for the environment.
5. Make sure your dishwashers are always full
Yes, dishwashers consume a huge volume of water so make sure you’re not turning them on half-full. It would also be a good idea to make sure your staff are trained in proper loading techniques.
6. Use air-cooled ice machines
Air-cooled ice machines are as effective as water-cooling ice machines and you can cut down on water waste.
7. Low-Flow Pre-Rinse Spray Nozzles
This is one of the most effective water-saving upgrades, and because pre-rinse sprayers generally use hot water, it will also help reduce your energy bill.
Restaurants pre-rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, and many older pre-rinse spray valves are highly inefficient, using huge volumes of water. Newer models are as effective and use as much as 8x less water.
8. Drop the boiler
Kitchen equipment that relies on a boiler—such as combination ovens, steam kettles, and steam cookers—are notoriously water-intensive. Instead, look at replacing boilers with closed system steamers.