See how foodservices embrace energy efficient innovations to improve margins

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For businesses providing foodservices, finding creative ways to make a profit is the order of the day for hospitality, restaurant and retail operations.

To overcome obstacles, these businesses are experimenting with and implementing new ways of operating a restaurant or food service establishment, such as:

  • More take-out and delivery options
  • New seating arrangements and cleaning protocols
  • New fresh air flow necessities

While foodservice industry providers have adapted with flexibility and inventiveness, they still face inflationary pressures and continuing supply chain setbacks. Finding new ways to run leaner and cleaner is essential.

The quiet economics of energy efficiency

Regular maintenance practices and upkeep are vital for the longevity and efficiency of equipment. But when the clock runs out on a piece of equipment and it is replaced with more advanced technology, that can mean greater operating efficiency with lower energy use. Plus, businesses can take advantage of new features that may enhance productivity.

Business managers calculate energy efficiency with a cost/benefit analysis. This is measured as a Return-on-Investment (ROI). Xcel Energy and other utilities often provide rebates on new equipment to help offset the initial capital investment. Most investments in new energy-efficient equipment can realize a payback in as little as 1-3 years. So, the benefits show up twice, in lower energy use and equipment cost savings via a rebate.

Right now, commercial kitchen operators can receive bonus rebates on the following items

  • Foodservice preparation equipment, from grills to dishwashers
  • Refrigeration for retail and commercial kitchens
  • Lighting for commercial kitchens, outdoor and other
  • HVAC equipment
  • Controls for HVAC and lighting

Foodservice challenges and solutions

In the past several years, there have been fundamental shifts in the expectations of foodservice businesses, what customers want, and a variety of economic pressures on the industry. Here are some of the ways upgrades to new and innovative equipment can help solve these challenges.

  • An emphasis on fresh air for health and comfortCOVID-19 has made air movement a priority for foodservice businesses, especially restaurants. Today, intake and air movement within an establishment are considered key for customer and employee comfort and health safety. In turn, HVAC system maintenance and enhancement measures are emphasized. Xcel Energy suggests HVAC tune-ups and replacement of vital components.
  • More food storage space to combat supply chain issuesSupply chain issues have made foodservice managers consider keeping more items on-site with additional frozen and refrigerated storage space. Xcel Energy suggests specific refrigeration equipment incentives & rebates. There's even a reimbursement plan for freezer and cooler curtains.
  • Advanced technology to reduce refrigeration downtimeThrough their trade partners, Xcel Energy can offer state-of-the-art freezer defrost controls that significantly reduce freezer equipment service calls, resulting in less downtime, spoilage, and loss. All of which can boost bottom-line operating budgets.
  • New equipment to support the shift to take-out and pick-upUpdating kitchen equipment like warming cabinets can help foodservices answer the growing demands of take-out and pick-up options via online food apps. During COVID-19, these new services were necessary; now, many customers have adapted them to their lifestyles. Xcel Energy endorses a variety of equipment rebates designed to help foodservice operators with their new or expanded equipment needs.

The direct route to energy efficiency can start with a simple conversation.

For most foodservice businesses, energy efficiency is not a top concern. It's nice to consider, but other, more critical issues take precedence. It's why so many company managers turn to energy experts. Xcel Energy has the experience, know-how and programs available to develop your energy-efficiency strategy along with measurable results. You could consider a free refrigeration assessment to see the potential energy savings in your food service operation. Start a conversation with the Xcel Energy Business Solutions Center at 855-839-8862.

Visit to view more tips from Xcel Energy and discover how your business can get started saving money and energy today!