GE WattWise Mobile App Helps Restaurants Cut Costs...and Carbon

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GE WattWise Mobile App Helps Restaurants Cut Costs...and Carbon

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - 8:10pm

CAMPAIGN: Energy at GE


Cutting costs and shrinking your carbon footprint can start with changing a few light bulbs. That’s the idea behind WattWise, a GE Capital mobile application designed to help franchise restaurant operators regulate and reduce their energy costs from lighting quickly and conveniently on their mobile devices.

Running a franchise restaurant can be energy-intensive. According to the 2011 Chain Restaurant Industry Review, restaurants spend up to five times more on utilities than other commercial businesses. Lighting accounts for 13% of a restaurant’s total energy usage. And many franchisees are small-to-medium sized businesses, without the resources to conduct full-scale energy audits of their own.

When it came time to test the WattWise application, GE Capital’s Access GE team reached out to Wendy’s franchise owner and long-time customer Junior Bridgeman to see if it could improve his margins and cut his energy usage.   Access GE focuses on ways to shares tools, resources, insights, and learnings to help GE Capital customers tackle some of their most pressing business challenges. Engagements can vary from best practice sharing sessions and customized workshops to extended coaching sessions that may continue for several months.

GE Capital took a close look at Bridgeman’s lighting costs. Using the WattWise app, GE Capital conducted lighting audits at two of Bridgeman’s Wendy’s restaurants. WattWise recommended changes to the restaurants’ existing lighting solutions, explained the potential energy savings, and outlined the total expected cost to implement these changes.

The WattWise tool helped Bridgeman to identify an average energy savings of more than $500 per location. Expanded to include all of Bridgeman’s Wendy’s locations, this could result in a cost savings of over $80,000 a year.

"A simple system like this for improving light bulbs can directly impact an operator’s bottom line over the long run," says Chris Armbruster, vice president of franchise development for Yum! Brands subsidiary Taco Bell. "WattWise is a great way to save money and be environmentally conscious at the same time."

Through tools like WattWise, GE Capital is delivering on GE’s commitment to create value by enabling customers to cut costs and reduce their environmental impacts.