At Arby’s, efficiency matters, so it’s no surprise that the quick-service sandwich chain is plugged in when it comes to conserving energy at its more than 1,000 company-owned restaurants.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, restaurant locations use between five and seven times more energy per square foot than other commercial buildings. Despite those figures, from 2011 to 2016, Arby’s has reduced its total energy use at each of its company-owned stores by 18.2 percent, yielding more than $31 million in energy-related cost savings.

Perhaps even more importantly, it demonstrates Arby’s commitment to meeting and furthering the 15-percent reduction goal it set for itself in 2015.

Those energy efficiency achievements are the product of Arby’s Efficiency Matters program, an initiative that promotes strong environmental stewardship, which continues to deliver significant results for the company.

“Arby’s commitment to meeting and increasing its efficiency goals shows its commitment to protecting the environment and the community it serves,” says Jeff Clark, the National Restaurant Association’s sustainability manager. “We are extremely pleased to see the great progress that Arby’s and others in our industry are making to not only reduce energy costs, but their ecological footprints as well.”

Arby’s achieved its energy-reduction goals through several initiatives. They include:

  • Introducing energy-efficient equipment
  • Changing operating procedures
  • Remodeling older restaurants

Testing smart technology and other innovations

The company also is testing smart kitchen technologies that monitor equipment and track and adjust performance. Those technologies should help further reduce Arby’s energy consumption and operational costs.

As part of its energy-saving efforts, Arby’s has focused on retrofitting existing locations with Energy Star-certified equipment. This is another way of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and lowering annual energy costs. Since 2013, the company has converted more than 700 of its fryers to Energy Star-certified gas fryers, resulting in $1.75 million in energy-related cost savings last year alone.

Besides reducing its energy usage, Arby’s also is conserving water. When it learned its lawn irrigation system was responsible for more than 40 percent of its water use, it launched a test at 85 restaurants, installing EPA-labeled WaterSense irrigation controllers. The company saved 7.4 million gallons, or 25 percent, of its water use over a six-month period. It is now looking at expanding the program to cover several hundred restaurants.

Arby’s met its initial commitment to the DOE’s Better Buildings Challenge in January 2016 – five years before the 2020 target it set for itself.

Learn more about Arby’s sustainability practices.