The last year has been turbulent for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Fluctuating rules and regulations coupled with rolling closures left many sectors struggling. Hospitality has of course been extremely hard hit by the pandemic, but hopes are high as the public embrace new freedoms and flock back to out of home eating and drinking. With ‘freedom’ now in full swing, what else can be done to help hospitality bounce back, reduce costs and maximise those profits after a year of losses?
THE BIG PICTURE
The hospitality industry employs more than 2.9 million people and generates as much as £130bn per year for the economy – so getting back on track effectively will impact a lot of other businesses and individuals. Energy is a hot topic for the hospitality sector as it is a high use industry, and as such costs can be high – for catering businesses, costs for energy typically accounts for around four to six per cent of their operating costs. Using Niccolo AMR meter data (from 19th to 26th May), it indicates that energy consumption is already on the up as businesses are accommodating guests and diners once more.The hospitality sectors seasonal norm demand for gas is up against the average, currently at 153%. Couple this with an unseasonably cold May, and temperatures dropping to as low as 9 degrees, we can also see that energy spend is up by 20 % against the seasonal norms (data taken from w/c 17th May – Niccolo Energy AMR reads). Energy costs will and should be a huge focus for those seeking to
reopen their business as efficiently and cost effectively as possible.
There is also the growing consideration of renewable energy.The pandemic-led changes in consumer behaviour shone a light on how much influence we can have on carbon emissions and impact on the planet. Rightly, consumers are increasingly aware of and interested in suppliers that can offer renewable or greener options to help work towards a more sustainable energy future.
ENERGY IN HOSPITALITY
Energy is often one of the most significant costs to businesses in this sector, so it makes sense to address how and what people in the industry can be doing to ensure energy is working for them as plans to reopen fully continue to move forward.
BETTER ENERGY MANAGEMENT
There are lots of simple ways that hospitality businesses can stay on top of their energy consumption to reduce costs and drive efficiencies.
• Send up-to-date meter reads in advance of June 21st full reopening. Estimated or out of date reads may mean you’re paying more than you should be.
• Challenge the supply deal you have – a knock on effect of the pandemic is that energy suppliers may be looking to recoup some of their own losses through rising prices. Know your contract end dates and be prepared to shop around.
• Check your processes – sounds simple, but we’re out of practice, make sure staff old and new know the closedown/end of night procedures, don’t leave on things that can be shut off until you reopen!
• Get a green guru – Nominate someone to be responsible for energy savings. Encourage them to look for ways to improve efficiency, communicate with colleagues and encourage change.
• Adjust your thermostat – It’s easy to forget about the obvious stuff, but by keeping an eye on the temperature at different times of year and adjusting the thermostat promptly, you can make huge energy savings.
• Speak to your supplier about an Automated Meter Reader. AMRs can help your business get right on top of your gas usage, giving you a clearer understanding of your consumption. Accurate reads also mean accurate bills – so you are only paying for the energy you use.
In 2008, the UK Government began making preparations to roll-out smart meters to help with better energy management.A smart meter measures energy use, sending readings directly to your supplier. Smart meters not only mean no more estimated bills, they do a lot of the leg work of identifying energy challenges that may impact your business.
Although the rollout of smart meters took a hit due to Covid19, the UK rollout has now recommenced, hitting the 15 million mark in March. Having energy smart data is a great step forward in giving businesses control and becoming more usage aware. If you’re not on a smart
meter, you can find out more from your supplier. Energy shouldn’t be a painful process for hospitality businesses, but it is an important consideration and suppliers also have a role to play in offering education, support and advice to simplify this process.