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Employee engagement reduces energy consumption

The hospitality sector has been urged not to underestimate the role of frontline staff in reducing corporate energy consumption.

At one of a series of sector-specific seminars hosted by fan and motor manufacturer ebm-papst, audience members heard how restaurant chain Nando’s more than halved the average energy consumption of its outlets, simply by engaging restaurant staff.

Nando energy manager Julie Allen explained the simple steps that made this possible. Firstly, staff were educated on how much energy their outlet used and how it was consumed: from lighting, to heating and refrigeration.

Energy ‘league’ tables were then made readily available for all Nando’s staff – comparing the energy consumption of Nando’s outlets across the UK.  This table was updated on a regular basis via the company’s intranet, enabling frontline staff to immediately see the effects of their actions.

Crucially, Nando’s provided incentives: with the best performing restaurants rewarded for their achievements in driving energy consumption down. This crucial driver created a really strong call to action.

Ms Allen said: “In order to educate staff on energy consumption, we provided them with a cost sheet detailing equipment use and the associated energy cost. 

“This proved to be a very powerful tool, convincing staff that their simple actions could have a considerable effect across the business.

“We know that incentivized competition works, and in this case encouraged workers to save energy by offering a week in New Zealand to the winner. This was very effective: delivering a 5 per cent saving across the board.”

Before the employee engagement programme an average Nando’s restaurant would consume 1,907 kWh per day, now this has been reduced to an average of 801 kWh per day.

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