Conserve Water in Commercial Kitchens: Save Resources and Money

While most people may think of food ingredients, equipment, property rental, and décor as the primary costs a restaurant has to deal with, water usage adds a considerable amount to their monthly bills. Not only does excess water usage boost operational costs, but it also involves a lot of waste of the most precious natural resource on Earth.

Restaurants join the rest of the professional world in the quest to maintain a more eco-friendly existence. Customers that care appreciate the efforts and may even go out to eat at establishments that operate with more efficiency and conscience. Whatever the reason for water conservation, the biggest question is how to put a functional plan in action.

How Much Water Do Restaurants Use?

According to a recent study conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), restaurant and institutional water use totals 52% of all commercial use in the United States. Totals range from around 3,000 gallons for a small diner to 6,000 gallons and more for large sit-down restaurants.

Where does all this water go? A large part of the water slipping away down the drain in a commercial kitchen comes from washing produce and dishes. Of course, quite a lot is actually used in cooking things like soups, sauces, and boiling pasta and similar ingredients. The list of uses for water in a commercial kitchen is virtually endless.

Luckily, there are two very good and relatively simple ways to conserve water in commercial kitchens. Soon, your establishment will save more money on the monthly bills and get the peace of mind from knowing you are making every effort to stop the waste of natural resources.

Efficient Equipment Helps Conserve Water

Certain kitchen equipment such as EnergyStar washers can help alleviate some of the water usage. Low-flow valves on everything from sink sprayers to the toilets in the restrooms also help with the savings. The FOG Tank pot and dish soaking tub stops a large amount of waste. Instead of the wasteful three-sink method for cleaning pots and pans, you can enjoy faster and more efficient cleaning with this space-saving and efficient piece of equipment. Not only does it use a lot less water than traditional methods, it improves sanitation and hygiene, and only uses biodegradable cleaning solutions.

For all water-using equipment, avoid using more than you need or draining it off more frequently than necessary. Remember that every drop of water that goes down the sink drain or pipes represents lost money and resources. Practice proper maintenance of all equipment, and repair leaks and drips immediately.

Adopt Best Practices to Save Water, Money, and the Environment

Besides general conservation efforts and choosing the best possible equipment for your restaurant, diner, café, lunchroom, or cafeteria, train all the staff to use best practices focused on saving water. If you focus on environmentally friendly behaviors, and spread the benefits to the staff, some of these actions will become second nature. The outcome provides double benefits. Your commercial kitchen stops wasting water and you can advertise your establishment as an eco-conscious or green business.

Food preparation includes washing and rinsing off vegetables and fruits every day. Do this in bulk at the start of a mealtime rather than washing items individually. The more you wash at once, the less water you use for each item. If your sink uses commercial grade sprayers, attach lower flow nozzles that offer more control over how much water you actually use for each tomato or lettuce leaf.

Do not thaw frozen meat or other ingredients under running water. Not only does this send a lot of water and money down the drain, it is not recommended for food safety reasons.

Only serve water to patrons when they request it. The old habits of filling water glasses in front of everyone’s plates has become passé in recent years. A lot of this gets wasted when diners choose other beverages. Also, consider upgrading to an air-cooled ice maker instead of one that uses and wastes water to do the same job.

The list of opportunities to save water in a commercial kitchen has quite a lot of excellent ideas. While small changes can build up to a big difference over time, things like upgrading to new, more efficient equipment like FOG Tanks makes a bigger impact.