With deployeth, restaurants can save money without doing anything. At zero costs.
Restaurants have a lot of appliances and as you might imagine, they are not quite like the ones we use in our homes. Typically, these appliances are industrial rated: bigger, stronger and consequently, they consume and waste enormous amounts of energy. As a matter of fact, restaurants have the highest level of energy consumption of all commercial buildings.
Restaurant owners are predominantly worried about their standard of cooking and service, not about their energy footprint while they do it. Most of the appliances that are used in a restaurant are powered up all day long and sometimes all night too. This is concerning.
However, restaurants have typical cycles for when they are busy, and when they are not. This is where there is a potential saving to be made.
But how enormous is enormous when you look at the total amount energy takes up of the total cost of running a restaurant?
In an average restaurant, the energy bill is about a quarter of the total cost structure of running a restaurant. It’s one of the biggest expenses after food, the building itself and the personnel to run it.
Now if we zoom in on the things that cause a surge in your energy consumption and your bills, it would be food preparation, the sanitation, and heating; this would take up more than 50% of the total bill. Of that 50%, there is around a quarter of the time that these appliances could have been shut down, because they are not in use.
For an average restaurant with an energy bill of €40.000 a year, this would imply a saving of roughly €2.500.
Now, the most interesting part is how to get these savings. These businesses are making pennies, and the good thing about saving energy is that it results in money not leaving the owners’ pockets.
Every day they are trying to make money. With a newly developed device they can start to save money. Every day. Without doing anything.
In this year’s Startupbootcamp IoT & Data Tech batch we have a team of bright engineers & marketers from Portugal with their product focusing on energy management hardware. During demoday on February 28, they will be launching their off-the-shelf solution for restaurants.
Here is what they had to say.
Why are you making a solution specific for restaurants?
A: Looking at the sector with the highest consumption and the highest potential, the restaurant business stands out as the most energy intensive. There are a lot of big appliances that are used only at certain times and then are left on when no one is using them, adding to the restaurant costs unnecessarily. The size of the market is huge, in only Spain and Portugal there are more than 80.000 restaurants with a total energy spending of over €600M per year. Spain has the highest density of bars and restaurants in the whole EU. This is a huge market that is still largely untapped by this kind of smart solution that can save restaurant owners a lot of money and at the same time reduce their energy footprint.
You claim people have to do nothing but normally these solutions need to be installed. How far can you take that claim?
A: We work with regular electricians that normally work with these restaurants already. For a layman it could be done, but for an electrician it is a piece of cake. We took a lot of effort in making the solution plug and play so that an electrician, even if he never installed the product, he can do it in a couple of hours. And we take care of the whole coordination to make sure everything goes as planned.
How does your solution ‘know’ when it can switch appliances on or off?
A: Our solution is able to analyse the way the business works, see what are the schedules of the meals and when lights, AC and appliances are supposed to be on or off. We do this by measuring the energy, other environment variables such as temperature and asking the person who is in charge of the restaurant operations some questions through our mobile application. Then, based on our machine learning algorithms we are able to predict when things are supposed to be on or off and with this, we can optimize the energy consumption of the restaurant.
I would imagine that it is kind of scary to let a machine decide when to switch off core appliances in your kitchen?
A: One thing that we are very careful with is to not disrupt the core business of our clients. If for any chance our solution is not working correctly, there is a button on the central unit that overrides all automated actions. That way restaurants can go back to working the way it was before.
The saving is nice, but not outstanding on the total cost of a restaurant?
A: I would not agree on that. This energy cost is one of the highest costs for a restaurant, after food, food preparation and wages. A saving is the amount you saved minus what you paid initially or monthly, minus the personal effort it takes to arrange all of that. We took the costs and the effort out of the equation, leaving only an effortless energy saving on the table.
So how much does your solution really cost?
A: There is no upfront cost, just a small installation fee and 50% of the saving on the energy bill goes to us, for a period of three years. Again, it’s a zero risk, zero cost operation that will save money from the 1st day of installation. This way, the more savings we are able to make, the more the clients win and the more we win.
Where is it available ?
A: For now we are building our customer base in Spain and Portugal. But we are looking for investment to expand our service to other countries as well. We are already prospecting the market of central europe, in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Denmark so that when we can scale, we already have the pieces in place.
Edited by Amy McCready