With wage costs rising since the introduction of the National Living Wage and food and drink costs set to rise by an estimated 11 per cent following Brexit, operators are being forced to look at cost reductions where they can to boost profits.
Mark Chapman of Carbon Statement, whose company runs the Hospitality Sector Carbon Reduction Forum, said members such as Nando's, The Casual Dining Group, The Restaurant Group, Whitbread and Marston's were looking more closely at ways to reduce energy, water and waste to not only improve their environmental impact but also improve the bottom line.
"Operators are finding they have less control over labour and stock costs, but one area they can make savings in is energy," said Chapman.
"They are all looking more closely at this area now. One member said it seemed mad to send a member of staff home an hour early to save £7.20 when, at the same time, everything was still on in the kitchen and costing him a lot more."
The Hospitality Sector Carbon Reduction Forum now counts 28 of the UK's largest pub and restaurant groups as its members. Chapman said the quarterly meetings allowed operators to discuss technologies and operational practices to help reduce consumption and environmental impact.
He said operators were increasingly turning to new technology to help cut their energy consumption and were working hard to improve staff engagement in this area.
"More of them are seeing energy savings as an important part of the business," he said. "They know they have to increase the engagement of their teams if they want to achieve it."
Tracy Colbert of the Casual Dining Group said its focus on energy savings had brought about 'tangible, financial savings'.
“The development of our own footprint programme, which has been driven from the board throughout the business, has enabled us to reduce energy, water and waste, which as well as delivering tangible, financial savings, has allowed us to build our reputation and credentials as a leading company in this area.
"The sector-wide forum benchmarking gives us an important opportunity to share our own best practice and to learn from others too, so we are delighted to be participating once again.”
Hospitality operators wanting to participate in the benchmark or the forum can call Mark Chapman at Carbon Statement on 0207 298 6181.