Finale is here – Celebration of the champions successes

Among the many projects that I have worked on, Foodservice Energy Challenge must be by far the most exciting and challenging project I have had pleasure to lead. Exciting because of its unprecedented collaboration among government, utilities, non-profit, institution and foodservice businesses. Challenging because of the number of different perspectives, needs and busy schedules.  We will celebrate the completion of the Foodservice Energy Challenge and reveal champions’ successes at Save on Energy Foodservice Forum at RC Show 2020 on Tuesday, March 3rd. Get your free tickets to Save on Energy Foodservice Forum here.  In the meantime, let me tell you the journey.

It all began in the summer of 2017, when I joined a fine group planning Eco pavilion at RC Show 2018 led by Brenda Halkiw of Restaurant Canada. Brenda, Janine Windsor, President of LEAF Canada, and myself were soon joined by Isabelle Guimont, ENERGY STAR Canada Sr. Account Manager, and Rob Edwards, Business Manager of Save on Energy Program. It did not take long before Brenda came up with the idea of case study on energy conservation in foodservice, later named as Foodservice Energy Challenge.  The challenge was announced at RC Show 2018 and the official journey began.

Sustainability in RestaurantsThe Team

As the initial excitement subsided, spreadsheets and budgets have taken over the weeks following, to secure the funding for the project. In close collaboration with IESO (Save on Energy program administrator) an implementation plan was created and an Implementation team was assembled consisting of an engineer, energy auditor and utility representatives. The Implementation team worked with and supported the selected champions for the coming months.

The Champions

By the summer 2018, four champions were selected: Manitoulin Hotel, York University, LeChaim Catering and Jack Astor’s Barrie (SIRCorp Inc.).  Each champion was eager to roll up their sleeves and go to work despite their daily challenges. You can read more about their journey in the coming MENU magazine, February issue or online.

Making it happen

The ASHRAE Level 2 audits took place in second half of 2018. The audits were completed by the end of the year.  The recommendations were presented and our four champions, with support from utilities, started to implement the selected measures in 2019. None of this was without challenges. One of the champions, LeChaim Catering, changed ownership in 2019 during the implementation and was no longer able to continue with the challenge. SaveOn energy program restructuring brought unexpected hurdles as utilities were no longer involved in Save on Energy program. Hurdles also arose from shortages in materials and rotation of staff.  Kudos to the Implementation team for persevering in their continued support of the champions.

Staff Training

At last, majority of measures were implemented, meters were installed and it was time to start the training for kitchen staff. Energy conservation can successfully happen only when staff is engaged. The training team developed a campaign-style training material, custom tailored for each champion. The key personal was trained on how to use the campaign and engage their staff with continued help the training team. The end of 2019 came on the high note.

RC Show 2020 – Save on Energy Forum

It is now the end of January 2020. The measurement results are in, utility bills are being analyzed and soon the final results will be ready. To be honest, at the beginning of this project, I had no idea how big this undertaking would become.


The RC Show 2020 is only a few weeks away now. We will celebrate the completion of Foodservice Energy Challenge and reveal champions’ successes.

Get your free tickets to Save on Energy Foodservice Forum, held on Tuesday March 3rd for a panel discussion with the Foodservice Energy Challenge Champions about their energy efficiency journey, learn about the latest in electricity and gas incentive programs in Ontario and learn from the experts how you can save energy, manage your utility costs and help your business be more competitive.

See you at RC Show 2020 Save on Energy Foodservice Forum on Tuesday March 3rd!

For more information you can contact Eva Greff or

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