In the June 23 issue we featured the findings of The Green Paper 2008, compiled by equipment supplier Gram to assess the approach of pubs and other foodservice businesses to environmental issues.
To follow up the report, we look at how Greene King is rising to the challenge. David George, head of food development at the managed Greene King Pub Company business, says: "Last year we made the financial decision to install Gram refrigeration equipment into all Greene King's major development sites, in particular the new-style Hungry Horse. Since June 2007, we have installed more than 150 Gram cabinets."
The Green Paper 2008 showed that the most common key driver in adopting a greener policy was a combination of feeling good and saving money.
"Energy efficiency was one of our top considerations when purchasing catering equipment for our busy kitchens," says David. "Fortunately, the Energy Technology List and Government ECA Scheme were brought to our attention through the trade press and by attending energy conferences, where we were informed how it works and the benefits of the scheme.
"This was also something that Gram advised us on at the early stages of our relationship.
"It is very much part of the Greene King strategy to reduce our carbon footprint in all areas of our business, both consumer-facing and back-of-house. Investing in these cabinets is certainly doing so.
"In addition to the purchasing of more efficient, low-energy consuming equipment, we are also monitoring water and electricity consumption, with a 'turn it off' campaign."
David believes that operators such as Greene King need to be seen to be setting an example. "Each company, no matter how small, should play their part, which could simply be a case of turning switches off or using utility-fed equipment more effectively."
Greene King has also whipped service times into shape with the use of Merrychef's accelerated cooking technology in its Hungry Horse pubs.
Hungry Horse is known for producing large portions and an equally large menu. David sees the ovens as integral to the task of producing high-quality food and increasingly speedy service.
"Time is always an issue, particularly during the day, and the Merrychef 401 has become the hub of the Hungry Horse kitchen with a wide choice of baked and grilled items such as breads, our popular British steak and Ruddles ale pie, chicken New Yorker and breakfasts cooked within seconds. Merrychef ovens are really simple to use, with minimal training necessary and maintenance is easy, which is always a winner," David adds.
Greene King is currently looking at Merrychef's MenuKey technology. MenuKey allows quick and easy programming of multiple ovens across an estate, saving time and reducing errors. The latest version plugs into a USB port and email menu updates are uploaded immediately.