The Criteria: Innovations that have quantitatively improved the sustainability of a store and contributed to the efficiency of a store or system.
The Utility Manager software platform generates more than 250 user-friendly reports to help operators understand their energy consumption and its impact on the environment, including carbon emissions, cost per employee, and facility benchmarking. With a tool to actively manage energy spending and use, operators can monitor and implement changes.
Tracy Voyles, utility accountant at Rita Restaurant Corp., operators of 39 Don Pablo’s restaurants, values the system’s at-your-fingertips filing and budgeting features, which can be used in one location or across a multiunit operation. The system also calculates cost avoidance and verifies bill accuracy.
As Subway looked to improve the lid fit of its existing salad bowls, attention soon shifted to altering the bowl’s materials from OPS to PET, the most recycled plastic, and including 10 percent post-consumer resin in the bowl and lid (a number that has since risen to 25 percent).
Subway and PWP then reduced material usage, later packing the bowls and lids into one case that allowed Subway to remove excess shipper cases from the system—all without impacting the restaurant’s current salad formula. The changes add up, says Subway’s packaging technologist Michael Fox: 1.7 million pounds of raw material salvaged; 17 truckloads diverted; and 2,792 trees, 5,586 barrels of oil, and 272,663 gallons of gas saved.
Subway’s degreasers and glass cleaners were traditionally dispersed to stores in oversized plastic jugs primarily filled with water. With SSDC’s help, Subway outlets now receive a reusable spray bottle and strips soaked with the concentrated cleaning chemical.
The biodegradable strips hug the nozzle inside the bottle and mix with water to create a CARB-compliant, noncorrosive solution manufactured without the use of phosphates or ammonia. Since its 2009 implementation, Subway has eliminated more than 105 truckloads, reduced its CO2 output by 3,835 metric tons, and delighted its operators.
“The new solution is cleaner and easier to use and takes up far less space; it makes complete sense,” Subway franchisee Bob Levand says.
After 18 months of testing to find the most durable protective coating to remove stains and refresh a table’s look, Xylexin proved a winner for Mirage Products. The USDA-compliant coating does not discolor, is chemical resistant, and is available in a variety of colors and finishes.
Used in Cheesecake Factory restaurants throughout the country, Xylexin helps operators salvage tables they might otherwise replace. The coating simplifies cleaning of tabletops, refreshes their looks, and can be applied overnight, as it only needs four hours to chemically bond and seal.
“No chemicals stain or penetrate Xylexin—they all come off,” Mirage Products’ president John Horne says.