Efficiency Matters to Quick-Service Restaurant, Driving $50M in Savings

Case Study
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With rising energy and labor costs, the CEO of a national quick-serve restaurant knew the company would need a concerted effort to cut costs and increase operational efficiency. The company created Efficiency Matters, a data-driven efficiency program that united the entire organization around aggressive goals to reduce energy and water consumption.

Experienced in strategic planning, efficiency engineering, and holistic organizational engagement, ENGIE Impact was selected as the quick-serve restaurant’s efficiency partner of choice. By leveraging ENGIE Impact’s technical expertise and robust benchmarking tools, the restaurant was able to identify opportunities, build a roadmap, validate new technologies, and ensure seamless implementation of efficiency measures across their organization.

Pillars of a Data-Driven Efficiency Program

  • Identify Opportunities: Conduct on-site audits and remote portfolio-wide surveys to determine opportunities for water and energy savings.
  • Pilot Technology: Launch several efficiency projects at selected locations in order to build a better business case for a broader roll-out.
  • Expand Company Wide: Analyze pilot data to prioritize projects with the largest savings and resource reduction for portfolio-wide implementation.
  • Maintain Savings: Continue to ensure efficiency measures are incorporated in all aspects of the business to guarantee cost savings, optimized operations and organizational alignment.

With so much change it can be a challenge to align all departments, so ENGIE Impact worked with stakeholders across groups like new construction, facilities, and procurement to understand processes and key performance indicators. During this time, the restaurant discovered new efficiency technologies were being installed in retrofits but not during new construction. Once this disconnect was identified, the restaurant opened up channels of communication to make sure all teams had the same specifications.

Seeking to further use technology, the restaurant implemented an Energy Management System (EMS) at 1,164 restaurants. This gave them greater visibility into real-time data and kitchen operations, resulting in:

  • Consistent, Safe Cooking: Tracked what temperature meat was being cooked at and for how long.
  • Effective HVAC Management: Installed connected thermostats to maintain consistent temperature set points and corporate control over rooftop units.
  • Optimized Operations: Monitored maintenance activities and equipment performance in real-time to reduce costs and trigger replacements before equipment failure.

Results

Over the course of the five-year engagement, ENGIE Impact helped the restaurant implement more than 5,000 energy and water efficiency projects, which saved over $50 million through the Efficiency Matters program.

The restaurant’s partnership with ENGIE Impact resulted in a clear, data-driven, actionable roadmap. This provided the business case to gain executive approval of capital expenditures required to support energy and water reduction goals. The benefits of the Efficiency Matters program are being seen from the boardroom to the restaurant level. The quick-serve restaurant’s COO stated: “Our strategy was clearly articulated and gave visibility to empower team members all the way down to the restaurants, where the general manager has the ability to improve his/her store profitability.”

The insight the restaurant gained from this program not only identified opportunities to improve operations and reduce costs, but it ensured savings would be immediate, impactful and lasting. As the restaurant shifts their strategy to focus on continual improvement and maintaining savings, the roadmap and four pillars will serve as a guiding principle for future efficiency endeavors.

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