According to The Guardian, over 1,400 UK restaurants have collapsed since June 2018. The “casual dining crunch” as it has been dubbed, has led to customers turning their backs on once-popular chains like Strada, Byron, Burger King and Jamie Oliver’s restaurants.

With the “crunch” hitting the casual dining industry, restaurants need to take any steps they can to improve profitability and keep their heads above water. As high energy users, many restaurants stand to save by moving on to more suitable energy contracts and taking steps to conserve energy. Lower energy bills mean lower expenses, helping restaurants stay in business.

The facts about the current restaurant industry

  • The number of restaurants falling into insolvency in the year to the end of June 2019 increased by 25% to 1,412 compared to 2018.
  • This is the highest number of insolvencies since at least 2014.
  • Hundreds of small independent restaurants have collapsed, along with big chains.
  • The UK’s top 100 restaurants made a £82 million loss in the last year, down from a pre-tax profit of £102 million 12 months earlier.

What caused the crunch?

The “casual dining crunch” is said to reflect tightened consumer spending due to the collapse in the value of the pound and concerns about Brexit.

The casual dining sector saw rapid growth after the 2008 financial crisis. This resulted in an oversaturated mid-market.

Saving money on restaurant energy

For cash-strapped restaurants, looking at energy bills is a good place to start when it comes to saving money and improving the bottom line.

Top tips for saving on energy

  • Restaurant owners need to make sure that they’re on the best energy deal from their supplier to keep running costs as low as possible.
  • Look into induction hobs, which often use less energy than their gas or electric counterparts. They also generate less heat, which means that the kitchen needs less ventilation (further leading to lower costs.)
  • Always look for efficient, professional equipment, no matter how small the business.
  • Places fridges, freezers and other coolers away from heating sources and defrost and clean them regularly
  • Service all systems and equipment regularly to optimise performance
  • Insulate hot water pipes to make sure you’re not losing any heat.
  • Use LED lightbulbs, which could reduce the electricity you use for lighting by up to 80%.
  • Stick to start-up and shut-down schedules for appliances

These are just a few simple ideas to help you save. Choose the strategies that will work for you, or contact an energy consultant like Smarter Business to help you switch suppliers and implement an effective energy management strategy.

READ MORE: The “Energy Savings Guide of Restaurants and Pubs”