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Managing Energy in Restaurants – Controlling After-hours Consumption

How Smart Meters Will Change Utilities In Post COVID-19 India

One would imagine that restaurants, particularly global brands like Subway, operate under very strict guidelines and standard operating procedures. Hence, at the outset, there might be little opportunity for cost optimization in such outlets. When Gram Power launched our AI driven energy optimization solution, we decided to first launch our technology for established global brands, thinking that if we were able to reduce costs for them, we could be sure of helping every restaurant in the market increase their profits. And guess what? We managed to help Subway reduce their energy bills by up to 30%!

Now, restaurants spend anywhere from 10-25% of their monthly operating costs on electricity. Hence, a 30% reduction in these costs, can increase profit margins by up to 7.5%. Optimizing every cost center is even more critical in times like these when the restaurant industry has been severely hit by COVID-19. With our technology, we’re doing our bit in helping our clients remain competitive in these difficult times.

In a series of blog posts, we will be discussing various ways in which our technology helps restaurants. In this post, we start with explaining how much restaurant owners can save by simply controlling after hours energy consumption.

In a restaurant, you can divide your entire day into four time zones:

  • Setup hours - Morning hours when you’re cleaning and preparing food for the day
  • Customer hours - Hours when you’re open for business
  • Cleaning hours - Post customer hours when your team is busy wrapping the place up
  • Close hours - When nobody should be in your restaurant

For each of these time zones, there’s an optimum amount of energy consumption, which if you stick to, can save you up to 10% of your electricity bill. I’ll explain to you how we found electricity wastage in each of these time zones:

  • Setup hours - We found that for a 11am opening hour, staff would walk in between 8:30-9:00am and right as they enter, 100% of the ACs would turn on. In Subway, using the AC for these two additional hours cost them Rs.4800/month extra
  • Customer hours - There’s little that you can optimize during this time since you don’t want to discomfort your customers. However, if you know that afternoon or morning times are low occupancy, you can set a schedule for the different ACs in your restaurant. Just to give you some perspective, if you reduce the operation of a 5 ton AC by just 1 hour each day, it can save you almost Rs.25,000 per year! You could fund a new AC every 3 years with this :)
  • Cleaning hours - Just like setup hours, AC operation during cleaning hours is also a complete waste. We reduced an additional 2 hours of AC runtime by eliminating its operation for Subway post customer hours. Moreover, other sources of wastage during this time is not turning off your ovens, induction stoves and excessive lighting post customer hours
  • Close hours - Surprisingly enough, with our technology we were able to identify that our client paid for one of their staff members sleeping in the restaurant 4 times a month with the complete AC load on throughout the night. Just one night of sleep cost the client Rs.832, significantly more than what an OYO room night might have cost!

Now the question arises, how does Gram Power help you save?

It’s a very simple 4 step procedure.

  1. Install - We install one of our smart meters right after your main electricity meter.
  2. Inform - Using our app, you tell us what your hours are for the above 4 time zones along with details of the major appliances your restaurant has.
  3. Learn - In about a week’s time, our app studies your consumption pattern and gets ready to help you save.
  4. Save - From then on, anytime you have a staff member sleeping at night, or your cleaning or setup hours are longer than they should be, or your AC consumption is above the allowed thresholds, Gram Power will notify you instantly on the app and through an email. Our app even tells you how much extra you’re spending after-hours and what steps you need to take to eliminate this cost.

Subway save

Our solution helped Subway save almost Rs.92,000 per year for this outlet alone JUST by controlling after hours consumption. Overall we were able to identify Rs.3,72,000/year of savings. Keep following our blog to read how we achieved the rest.


If you’d like to start saving as well, please contact us

-Yashraj Khaitan