Switched-on operators see value in efficiency

Licensed businesses can get tax breaks by buying greener equipment under government scheme


REFRIGERATION has emerged as one of the key areas in which operators can cut costs.

Recent innovations in technology mean that fridges can now cut their energy consumption when they are not being used, saving on operational costs. And the financial advantages don’t stop there.
According to the Catering Equipment Suppliers Association (CESA), refrigeration is currently the only type of catering equipment to feature on the Carbon Trust’s Energy Technology List (ETL). Energy efficiency is a fundamental requirement of any equipment on the ETL, and companies that purchase equipment featured on the list are able to claim back the full cost of the fridges against their tax. There is even the possibility of applying for interest-free loans to purchase the equipment.
“Energy efficiency, sustainability, environmental impact and reducing the carbon footprint continue to be key buying trends, which is hardly a surprise, since as well as being greener, these fridges save running costs,” a CESA spokesperson said.
It’s a view supported by Glenn Roberts, managing director of Gram UK, who said: “Newer kitchen equipment is often greener and offers commercial benefits in the long term. The issue of rising energy costs is sufficient motivation for operators to reduce their energy usage.”
The efficiency of new refrigerators isn’t the only reason to invest in new equipment, however.
Natalie McShane, marketing executive at Ace Refrigeration, said that equipment should be updated every seven to ten years anyway, as even the best refrigerators can become inefficient over time.
This was supported by Malcolm Harling, sales director of Williams Refrigeration.
“Larger catering operators used to work on seven-year obsolescence,” he said. “They would assume refrigeration would only last that long, then replace it. These days they are extending this to eight or nine years.”
Having decided to invest in new equipment, an operator is then faced with an arguably even greater decision – which product to buy.
“For many publicans, the task of purchasing commercial refrigeration can prove to be arduous and time consuming,” said Iain Munro, chairman of the Catering Equipment Distributors Association.
“Due to the abundance of products available, publicans may find themselves faced with questions such as: who are the reputable manufacturers? What is the best model to suit my needs? What financial and sustainable benefits are available?”
Diane Ho, brand manager for Lec Commercial, said operators can narrow the field when they establish what the key requirements of such equipment will be within their business: “What kind of products do they want to store? What kind of functionality is the operator seeking? How much storage capacity is required?
“There are specialist appliances to store food items, as well as products much more suited to storing bottles and cans.
“While cost/price is obviously an important factor, it is key that the purchaser understands that the product with the ‘cheapest’ initial cost isn’t always the most cost effective solution when it comes to running costs.”
And McShane, at Ace Refrigeration, said that aesthetics are also an important factor in purchasing the right equipment.
“Making sure refrigeration suits your business needs, as well as fits with the style of your surroundings if these are display cabinets, is crucial,” she said.
Finally, it is vital to look after the equipment once it is in place.
“The cleaning and maintenance of any unit will keep it working at its optimum level,” said Heather Beattie, product and brand manager for Nisbets.“Operators should clean inside and outside the unit regularly, maybe having a rota system in place to do so.
“Good staff training will ensure that staff are aware that closing the door after use and not placing hot food into the unit will help with its efficiency.”

Image – Operators have a host of factors to weigh up when buying equipment to keep their drinks cool.