How bars can reduce costs and raise their green credentials


philip brownPhilip Brown, senior relationship director for consumer industries at RBS, on how bars can reduce costs and raise their green credentials

Saving costs is naturally one of the key areas we regularly talk to our customers about and it’s amazing what a difference the following small changes can make to the bottom line.

Within the bar sector, energy costs may only be a small percentage of turnover – typically 3.6%, according to the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers’ Benchmarking Report – but reducing them can directly increase revenue without the need to increase sales.

In these challenging trading times protecting your margin is vital – money saved on energy goes straight to the bottom line which makes businesses more competitive and, with rising energy prices, this is more important than ever.

The implementation of simple energy-efficiency measures can also increase levels of staff and customer comfort as well as improving general morale. In addition to financial and customer service benefits, there are of course, social and environmental advantages to reducing energy consumption, such as doing your bit to minimise the negative impact on the environment and climate change.

Increasing awareness about these issues has seen customers becoming more discerning about the environmental credentials of the businesses they deal with. Being energy efficient can enhance your business’s reputation and help to attract more customers.

Up to 40% of a building’s electricity use is accounted for by lighting. Switching to LED lighting, which can be up to 10 times more efficient than incandescent lighting can, in the long run, save your bar thousands of pounds through lower electric bills and the cost of buying and replacing burnt-out light bulbs.

Research all of your lighting options and see which ones work best for you. I have seen some fantastic examples of lighting projects where a switch to a more efficient LED scheme has not only delivered significant cost savings, but also created a real showpiece within the bar.

Other technological advancements are also being made for example in heat recovery, enabling you to recover the heat that you already produce in your cellar areas (and waste) and then use it to heat your hot water. Bars are reporting typical savings of 25% to 30% on their energy costs.

In a similar vein, undertaking a broader energy audit can identify areas where you are overspending. Check everything that uses electricity, gas or other fuel. You will see where you are spending the most money and can often make adjustments or introduce technology to lower your overall expenses without negatively impacting on the customer experience.

Finally, shop around, by choosing a more competitive supplier you can make savings that can run into thousands, even for a single site, and increase significantly for multiple operators. Getting the right type of meter and the right tariff is critical. Smart meters, when used properly, will show when energy is being used excessively, but are a little more expensive on the standing charge, while evening and weekend tariffs are accepted as the being the best tuned to licensed trade hours.

The RBS Mentor Energy Audits provide a range of benefits to businesses, which include helping them to run their business more efficiently and save money, demonstrate green credentials when bidding for contracts, build a positive culture among employees and even increase their income. For more information, visit or email

Previous Cocktail uses 71 ingredients to mark Commonwealth Games
Next Nottingham building to become new bar and music venue