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American West Restaurant Group takes a slice out of energy consumption at their Pizza Hut restaurants

The award-winning project saved 7.2 million kWh in 4 years

The Client

American West Restaurant Group (AWRG) is the largest Pizza Hut franchisee in California and Utah and the third-largest in the United States. AWRG operates approximately 300 Pizza Hut quick-service restaurants (QSRs) in greater Los Angeles. The restaurant group has always been invested in running highly efficient modern restaurants. Approximately 90% of AWRG’s units are highly efficient, modern delivery/carryout units that generate strong unit-level economics.

The Challenge

In 2015, the franchisee set a goal to achieve over 15% energy savings across their restaurant network. AWRG engaged EcoEnergy Insights on a 5-year program with a vision to make its quick-service restaurant (QSR) network more sustainable and energy-efficient.

With over 240 restaurants with a total floor size of over 370,000 sq. ft. and 5,400+ pieces of equipment, it was important to deliver energy savings while assuring that the food safety compliance standards were met.

The Solution

EcoEnergy Insights’ Connected Restaurant Program was deployed across the client’s restaurant network. This program leveraged the power of the CORTIX™ Building IoT platform to identify opportunities to improve operations and conserve energy, thereby reducing costs. It leveraged IoT and advanced analytics to proactively identify Roof Top Unit (RTU) health issues, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) based deviations as well as refrigeration equipment performance. The program also identified operational issues leading to compliance deviations.

EcoEnergy Insights liaised with the client’s technical team to understand the store equipment through data. The team studied energy consumption, temperature, and equipment performance data for the baseline period.

This vast amount of data from all restaurants, equipment, sensors, controllers, energy meters and systems at numerous outlets was fed to the CORTIX™ platform. Upon complete integration, the platform processed over 12,200 data records per day. It provided actionable insights on three aspects of the equipment’s performance - health, availability and efficiency. The Command Center, a team of experts, drew correlations using data from weather feeds, energy utility data and preventive and reactive maintenance data to execute maintenance effectiveness analysis and savings analysis.

The team identified opportunities to overcome energy leakages and enhance occupant comfort, improve equipment health and optimize restaurant operations. In addition to this, strategies were developed and implemented to better manage thermal compliance of food storage areas across the restaurant network.

The Result

The Connected Restaurant Program addressed multiple challenges across the connected restaurants. This program helped AWRG reduce energy consumption, provide a better guest experience, enhance thermal compliance in food storage and improve equipment reliability. The performance of heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) equipment as well as refrigeration and kitchen equipment was continuously monitored to address inefficiencies.

This engagement won a 2018 Environmental Leader Top Project of the Year award.

Key results:

  • Over 7.2 million kWh saved since 2016
  • 5,900 tons of CO2 emissions reduced since 2016
  • Over the period from November 2018 to October 2019
    • 13% energy savings delivered
    • 18,000 kWh average savings achieved per site, per month
    • Food storage compliance maintained above 79%
    • Occupant comfort maintained above 88%