Fast food may be cheap, but it comes with a high cost: waste. And we’re not just talking about the empty cups and burger wrappers littering the parking lot. No, we’re talking about the waste you don’t see—the stuff that’s piling up behind the counter and filling our landfills.
Sure, there’s the big stuff, like broken kitchen equipment that gets tossed because it’s too expensive to repair. But there’s also the small stuff, like fryer oil that’s wasted because of inefficient kitchen tech and poor employee training.
But as more fast food chains start making net-zero commitments to greenhouse gas emissions, there’s hope for waste reduction. There are almost as many opportunities to cut waste as there are combos on the menu.
With tens of thousands of restaurants worldwide generating $675 million in electricity costs every month, this fast-food franchise knew where their net-zero commitment needed to start. The problem was, they were unsure which stores or appliances were driving the heaviest energy consumption.
They needed data, but that wasn’t all they needed. Another vendor had previously estimated 12 percent in cost savings for each restaurant, but they lacked a plan for realizing those savings. So, along with data, the client needed a roadmap.
That’s where we came in. We developed an agile approach to sustainability, allowing our client to incrementally test, execute, and achieve its long-term goals. We used edge and Internet of Things (IoT) technology to collect and analyze data on kitchen equipment and staff protocols, resulting in optimization recommendations for the client’s global operations.
Our first step was to acquire a signal from the electrical power draw, which allowed us to gather data on individual equipment and combinations of equipment. We then used AI and advanced analytical calculations to analyze the data and understand the signals, which helped us identify the equipment behind the power draw.
But we didn’t stop there. We also developed that missing roadmap for the client, including:
- Smart kitchen automation
- Device power monitoring
- Panel power monitoring
- Machine learning power model
- Carbon calculation
We knew that it was important to involve everyone in the net-zero commitment, so we also developed employee communications, online guidelines, and in-person training scripts to help owners and operators leverage the technology.
Our recommendations were designed to reduce energy consumption in restaurants, lowering greenhouse gas emissions while also lowering costs for owners/operators. Cost-effective and non-invasive, our solution (when implemented) will automatically capture, report, and optimize energy consumption by appliance.
With the client pursuing a 2030 goal for net-zero emissions, the work has just begun.