An efficient kitchen is a cost-saving kitchen. Restaurant owners and managers have known this since there have been restaurants: less waste, less cost.

Nowadays, though, efficiency goes far beyond cutting waste and making the most of your time, resources and ingredients. For the most part, efficiency in the modern kitchen is a technological thing—and that technology just keeps getting better.

We ran across an article on just this subject in the Nation’s Restaurant News this week, and thought it highlighted some really interesting developments.

You can take a look at the complete article here, but we’ve boiled down the salient points here like so much vegetable stock:

  • Look for equipment that uses energy more than once. Invest in equipment that uses waste energy—like heat—to reduce energy consumption somewhere else. Examples of this include heat-recovery dishwashers and range hoods, where waste heat is used to pre-heat either incoming water or air.
  • Only use energy when it’s needed. Demand-control ventilation and tankless hot water heaters save money by only working when you need them, rather than remaining on all the time.
  • Look at making digital technology work for you. Networked kitchen systems—where different pieces of equipment can “talk” to each other and be monitored remotely—can help reduce food waste, cut down on inventory-taking, and increase customer satisfaction by eliminating shortages. Mobile ordering applications can ensure that customers receive pick-up food that’s prepared fresh-to-order, rather than prepped too quickly.
  • Be space-efficient. Combination oven/steamers and other multitasking equipment can reduce your kitchen’s footprint significantly, creating more potential space for diners.

What do you think? Are these measures realistic for an independent restaurant? Have you implemented any of them? Share your stories in the comments section.

Image credit: Jixar