learnd delivers a significant reduction in energy consumption for over one hundred restaurants across the UK.
At the first 107 stores installd with this advanced technology, the average reduction in energy consumption has been calculated at 14% (4,690,943 kWh), equating to a financial saving of over £469,094. Pizza Hut Restaurants, which plans to fit all of its UK restaurants with the technology, says it will reinvest the savings accrued into further energy-based initiatives.
The process to embrace better energy management started in 2012 when a change of ownership prompted new investment in the restaurants. As a business, the company became aware that considerable savings could be achieved by installing BEMS technology, and put in place a plan to upgrade all of its restaurants.
“In the first instance we undertook thorough research into the best solution, including contacting peers from the Restaurant Managers Energy Forum,” says Alex Wells, Energy Manager at Pizza Hut Restaurants. “Another major restaurant chain recommended WEMS technology, saying it had benefited their business.”
Determined to make a comprehensive assessment of potential solutions, the company undertook a tender process and performed a pilot study at three restaurants, using various different companies. Learnd won the contract for a trio of principal reasons.
Firstly, the value for money and long-term savings offered by using wireless technology from WEMS made for a very attractive proposal.Alex Wells, Energy Manager – Pizza Hut
“Firstly, the value for money and long-term savings offered by using wireless technology from WEMS made for a very attractive proposal,” says Ms Wells. “Furthermore, Learnd’s bureau/helpdesk service offers fantastic customer service, and importantly, operates 24/7; longer than any of the bureau services we researched. Our restaurants are open until 23:00 and they need the helpdesk to be open to deal with any issues. Another reason for selecting Learnd was the robust nature of the technology.”
Furthermore, the bureau/helpdesk service offers fantastic customer service, and importantly, is operates 24/7; longer than any of the bureau services we researched.Alex Wells, Energy Manager – Pizza Hut
BEMS Bureau service from the ROC
The front end of the BEMS installed at each Pizza Hut restaurant is completely controlled by the Learnd bureau service. However, staff can ring the helpdesk if they want something changed, which takes place immediately.
“The bureau service is excellent – great communication,” confirms Ms Wells. “You get through to a real person straight away and changes are made quickly, although there is an override button that staff can use for emergencies.”
The wireless BEMS controls a number of energy-using assets to help reduce bills. For instance, when the restaurant is shut, external lighting is kept off, but between 06:00 and 23:00, there is a light level sensor which detects the external lux level. If the light level falls by a pre-agreed percentage (in this case, 45%), the lights come on.
Internal lighting, which is split into ‘stock and trade’, is also being controlled more efficiently. Before WEMS technology was installed, the lights were switched on using a key switch when staff arrived in the morning, and left on 100% of the time. Now, staff still turn on the lighting with the key switch, but the system is programmed to keep non-essential lighting (such as decorative and feature lighting) off until the restaurant opens for business at 11:00.
You get through to a real person straight away and changes are made quickly, although there is an override button that staff can use for emergencies.Alex Wells, Energy Manager – Pizza Hut
Wireless sensors are deployed to ensure the air conditioning keeps each Pizza Hut restaurant at a consistent temperature of 21/22°C, and that the system is turned off when not required. Over-door heaters are also monitored by sensors based on the outside air temperature.
Even the pizza ovens and fryers are monitored by the BEMS. Before adopting WEMS technology, staff would arrive in the morning and turn everything on, whereas now the system keeps the catering equipment off until staff are due to start cooking at 10:00. The buffet and salad bar are also on a time programme.
Despite the amount of control imparted, the installation process proved exceptionally straightforward, as Darren Blower, Project Manager at Learnd, explains: “As the technology is wireless, it allows for quicker installation – up to 40% faster than traditional wired BEMS – and there is less disruption. This means we can work inside of trading hours if necessary without affecting customers or staff as it is all done back of house. There is no pulling of cables or ceilings to cross, so wireless technology can even be installed after a restaurant has been refitted if necessary.”
Complete programme planned
To date, Learnd has installed WEMS BEMS at 107 Pizza Hut restaurants. The company has 270 restaurants in the UK and would like to complete more restaurant installs in the upcoming years.
As the technology is wireless, it allows for quicker installation – up to 40% faster than traditional wired BEMS – and there is less disruption. This means we can work inside of trading hours if necessary without affecting customersDarren Blower, Project Manager – Learnd
Pizza Hut Restaurants has been investing heavily in its restaurant facilities over recent years, offering expanded starter and mains ranges, and even a cocktail bar service. In theory, the company should be consuming more energy, but actually, thanks to wireless BEMS technology, it is becoming more efficient.