How to cut utility costs during the summer months

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Craig Richard recently joined the Orange Leaf team with over 20 years of experience in the restaurant industry. As Vice President of Operations, he is focused on supporting the store-level success of each of our franchisees. Prior to joining Orange Leaf, Craig served as a Franchisee Brand Consultant for CiCi’s Pizza where he received the National Brand Consultant of the Year Award twice in a row for going above and beyond in assisting with marketing strategies, product and process innovation and helping franchisees maximize their financial potential.

With summertime officially underway, we asked Craig to share the three big questions that he asks every franchise owner who is looking for creative ways to cut utility costs during the hot, summer months.

Do you have a preventive maintenance agreement in place?

Typically, you should have a professional service your equipment twice a year. I would recommend having it done in March and September before the big seasonal change. Make certain that the service professional provides you with a specific list of items they will be checking and replacing as a part of their service. Recommendations from neighbors or friends are a great place to start when looking for the right company. Do not be afraid to escort them and personally watch them do the work- and always ask them to bring you any changed filters.

Are you willing to do preventive refrigeration maintenance yourself?

Remember, air flow is vital for equipment to work at its best. Ensure that nothing is blocking air flow going in or out of equipment- it needs to breathe. Also, be sure to lubricate door hinges annually. Cooler doors that don’t shut properly can cause your unit to overwork, which causes improper temperature. Repair or replace any torn door gaskets immediately. Entrance and exit doors should close all the way, no visible light should be seen underneath doors and door thresholds should be in good condition.  Depending which way your windows face, window tint or dark shades may be a wise investment not only for blocking the light, but also keeping the ambient temperature lower. Install motion detector light switches in the restrooms so the lights will turn on and off automatically when not in use.

Are you willing to educate your team on how to save energy?

A short conversation with your employees could save you a lot of money over time.  What might seem like common sense, many times is not so common.  Remind the team not to leave cooler doors open for extended periods. Also, remind them to turn off lights that are not in use- ensure they know your specific A/C temperature setting. If thermostats are accessible to guests, consider purchasing a clear plastic guard over the thermostat so they cannot be adjusted without a key.

Remember, a penny saved is a penny earned. Every bit helps.