Benchmarking Basics for Food Service Organizations

Navigant co-authors blog for U.S. DOE Better Buildings initiative

In a recent blog for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Building initiative, Navigant’s Richard Shandross and a co-author from ICF describe the unique benchmarking challenges food service organizations face.

Although the basics of benchmarking across different industry sectors are similar, energy use can frequently be more closely correlated to the quantity of food served than to the size of the restaurant.

Article Excerpt:

For multi-site organizations, benchmarking is most often used for comparison of different facilities relative to each other and/or over time. There are at least three ways to do this:

  1. Upload energy usage information from your utility bills to ENERGY STAR®’s Portfolio Manager tool. While foodservice buildings, as a type, cannot receive a 1-to-100 ENERGY STAR performance score, Portfolio Manager is still a powerful way to capture and analyze portfolio data.
  2. Use a spreadsheet-based tool. For example, in 2011 the Better Buildings Alliance developed a spreadsheet tool that some food service organizations have adopted. However, it requires some analytical expertise that is automated in Portfolio Manager, and it can be time-consuming to implement.
  3. Hire an outside firm to benchmarking for you, for example a bill-pay firm with energy analytics expertise or a firm that specializes in energy management. These companies will often use Portfolio Manager as their basis for analysis, but they will gather and enter your data, maintain the account, and analyze and interpret the reports for you.

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