Cost of living crisis: how pub and restaurant owners could save on their energy bills

According to UK Hospitality’s Future Shock 2022 report, 86% of businesses in the sector are dealing with rising energy costs, which puts further pressure on an industry that is still recovering from the pandemic.

The Carbon Trust estimates that most hospitality businesses can reduce their energy consumption by 10% – 14%. With that in mind, we’ve teamed up with Octopus Energy to provide some insights and actions that have the potential to cut energy bills. The short-term tips require little or no investment, while the long-term investments could help improve the cash flow of your hospitality business into the future. 

David Scott, our Head of Retail and Leisure, says: “The sector faces uncertainty regarding rising energy costs against already tight margins. These insights offer practical solutions. Not only could your own businesses benefit, but by working closely with your employees so they understand your own actions, you can in turn help them to minimise costs in their personal lives.”

Five short-term money-saving tips for your hospitality business

1. Get a smart meter: 

Installing a smart meter will help you monitor your energy usage and pinpoint periods of both high and low consumption on your business premises.

2. Choose the right tariff:

Once you have an idea of how and when you use your energy, try to tailor your tariff to the needs of your business. A time-of-use tariff may help you to use electricity when it’s available cheaply. If you have energy-intensive appliances that you can programme to come on at night (dishwashers and heating and cooling systems, for example), an Economy 7 tariff that offers a cheaper night-time unit rate could save you some money. 

3. Clean it up:

Ensure your air conditioning units and refrigeration and freezer systems are kept clean and free from dust, debris and obstructions so they can operate more efficiently, thus helping to bring down energy costs. Regular cleaning could also extend the lifetime of your appliances.

4. Be sensible about water use:

Low-water-usage dishwashers, toilets and tap aerators – devices that reduce the volume of water flowing through a tap without lowering water pressure – could help you consume less water. You could also save money by only running dishwashers and glasswashers on full loads. The Carbon Trust says that the water temperature for washing should be “at least 60°C” to kill bacteria, but that heating water to any higher temperature “is usually a waste of energy”, so you can afford to turn down the thermostat without putting customers at risk.

Once you have an idea of how and when you use your energy, try to tailor your tariff to the needs of your premises

5. Pull the plug:

Did you know that many appliances will continue to draw on a small amount of power even on standby? If you’re not going to be using an appliance for more than two hours, switch it off at the mains.

Four steps towards long-term savings

1. Install LEDs:

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs, and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) says upgrading to LEDs throughout your business could deliver “cost savings of up to 80%”. Meanwhile, encourage staff to switch off lights when they leave empty rooms in your premises, or install motion sensors that will turn lights off automatically when an area is not in use.

2. Reduce the number of fridges and freezers in your kitchens:

It is often cheaper to run one larger unit than two smaller ones, and by using the space you have more effectively, you may find you can quickly get rid of some appliances. If they are reaching the end of their lifetime, choosing a more efficient option could save over £100 a year, according to Octopus Energy.

3. Generate your own power:

You could save money by installing solar panels on your roof, or elsewhere on your premises. With the cost of electricity rising quickly, investing in assets that can produce your own power could lead to significant long-term savings. What’s more, if you don’t use all the energy you generate, you should be able to sell it back to the National Grid, which will create another revenue stream for your business. 

4. Invest in EVs:

Electric vehicles are becoming more and more popular, particularly for businesses in city centre locations with low-emission zones. Electrifying your fleet, and installing charging points on your premises, could help your company – and your employees – save on petrol and diesel costs.

Support for your business as costs rise

Feeling the pressure of rising costs? You're not alone. Find services, resources and guidance, which could help you cut costs and plan for what's ahead. 

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