Turn off the energy to most food service businesses and they
are out of business. Food service establishments require energy for a variety
of uses, but most importantly for cooking. Of all the energy consumed in a food
service operation, the single largest demand is for food preparation-34%. Energy
powers the ranges, ovens, griddles, fryers and a host of specialty cooking and
warming equipment that heats food to temperatures that make it safe and more enjoyable
Other major uses for energy in food service operations are
space heating, ventilating and cooling, sanitation and lighting.
However, although energy is critical to the smooth
and continued operation of most food service facilities, it represents only a
small fraction of the overall budget.
Over the last two decades,
food service owners/operators increased the share of electric food service equipment
in their kitchens although, thanks to new gas technologies such as boilerless
gas combi ovens, booster water heaters, high-efficiency gas fryers and flat top
gas griddles, natural gas is recovering some of its lost market share.
In 1985, natural gas fueled
86% of food service equipment. By 1998, the share of natural gas food service
equipment dropped to 65%. New gas technologies are helping to reverse falling
market share for natural gas as reflected in a natural gas market share of 70%
as of 2004.