Shari’s Café and Pies is the First Full Service Restaurant to Join Better Buildings Challenge

Better Buildings Challenge partner Shari’s Café and Pies, a 24 hour, full service restaurant chain located in the Pacific Northwest, recently became the first full service restaurant to join the Better Buildings Challenge, committing to a 20% reduction in energy intensity by 2025 across nearly 400,000 sq. ft. of restaurant space.

The company is wasting no time in sharing their strategies for energy and water savings.  In a recent peer networking call, Jodenne Scott, Director of Financial Support Services and Energy Sustainability, described the company’s approach to energy management and even shared an internal presentation they are using to advance energy management goals.

“At Shari’s we have implemented several energy saving projects.  We have been retrofitting our gas broilers, implementing lighting changes, installing energy management systems, installing EC motors in freezers and coolers, and using aerators on all faucets, to name a few measures.  A standard purchasing guide for energy efficient equipment helps the restaurants stay on track when replacing equipment.  These projects definitely create the path for energy reduction, but only to a certain point.  To further move the needle, without impacting our guests, we needed to focus on employee behavior.”

Shari’s created a Strategic Resource Management plan, supported by the Executive team, and feels that employee engagement is one of the major components of success to reduce the impact in the communities they serve. According to Scott,  “By creating posters for conservation measures, dedicated to each position and breaking it down by how it would impact them, we make it tangible and something employees can relate to.  Education, communication and recognition are key. We require every new employee view our energy video and take a test.  Annually our current employees are also required to review an energy video and are awarded with a certificate and a free Pie Shake.” 

Shari’s also distributes a bi-monthly Energy Newsletter.  The newsletter covers a variety of topics, including HVAC maintenance, lighting, irrigation, and shows progress for the current year’s goal for energy reduction.  The company  highlights the five top energy reducers during the past two months, and shares their creative strategies for reducing energy usage at their restaurant.

Learn more about Shari’s approach to energy management in their presentation on energy management, and stay tuned for future resources based on their work.