GE Capital is rolling out WattWise, a new mobile application, to its franchise restaurant operator customers in the U.S. WattWise analyzes the energy consumed by the lighting currently installed in a restaurant, then estimates the savings operators can achieve if they switch to more energy-efficient alternatives.
Restaurants spend up to five times more on utilities than other commercial businesses, according to the 2011 Chain Restaurant Industry Review, released this week by GE Capital, Franchise Finance. Lighting accounts for 13% of a restaurant’s total energy usage but it’s one of the expenses that can be most easily managed. Initial testing with WattWise identified at least $500 in cost-saving opportunities per store per year, and sometimes much more. Savings are dependent on a number of factors, including the number and age of the lighting fixtures in use.
"A simple system like this for improving light bulbs can directly impact an operator’s bottom line over the long run," said Chris Armbruster, vice president of franchise development for Taco Bell® Corp. "WattWise is a great way to save money and be environmentally conscious at the same time." A subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE: YUM), Taco Bell is the nation's leading Mexican-style quick service restaurant chain with nearly 5,600 restaurants in the U.S.
WattWise was introduced at the Restaurant Leadership Conference held earlier this week in Scottsdale, AZ. It is available for free to all companies that finance directly through GE Capital. Customers should contact their GE Capital, Franchise Finance sales representative for more information.
"The franchise restaurant industry is beginning to grow again as consumers dine out more frequently," said Agustin Carcoba, president and CEO of GE Capital, Franchise Finance. "Operators are optimistic about the industry’s top-line results, but they’re still searching for new strategies and tools to improve margins. We believe WattWise is a simple tool to help our customers identify energy cost savings and improve the bottom line."
WattWise was developed through a GE collaboration team spearheaded by GE Capital’s Access GE program through which the company shares tools and insights from across GE to help customers tackle some of their most pressing business challenges.
"I was pleased to learn that you have more to offer customers than the average lender. This is truly a value-added for any operator," said Carolyne Canady, director of franchise sales for Minneapolis, MN-based Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc. The company owns, operates and franchises over 700 Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar® restaurants across 43 states.
About Access GE
Access GE (accessge.com) is a value-added service through which GE Capital shares tools, resources, insights and learnings to help customers tackle some of their most pressing business challenges. As part of GE, a world-renowned industrial company, we have faced many of the same issues as our customers and we have developed proven methodologies for solving these tough challenges.
Engagements can vary from best practice sharing sessions and customized workshops to extended coaching sessions that may continue for several months. We also share market, business and industry insights in person and online. Finally, we offer customer programs in a variety of cities globally. These programs enable business leaders and CFOs to understand current trends and opportunities and interface with colleagues, their peers and GE business leaders.
Since 2000, we’ve conducted more than 8,000 engagements for more than 6,500 companies globally.
About GE Capital
GE Capital, Franchise Finance is a leading lender for the franchise finance market via direct sales and portfolio acquisition. With more than 30 years of experience and $12 billion in served assets, we serve over 5,000 customers and over 22,000 property locations. We specialize in financing mid-market operators with multiple stores in the restaurant and hospitality industries. Our team of industry experts will work with you to help develop your own growth plan with access to our proprietary industry research and customized tools. More information is available at gefranchisefinance.com or by calling 866-GET-GEFF (438-4333).
GE Capital offers consumers and businesses around the globe an array of financial products and services. For more information, visit gecapital.com or follow company news via Twitter (@GECapital).
GE (ge.com) is an advanced technology, services and finance company taking on the world’s toughest challenges. Dedicated to innovation in energy, health, transportation and infrastructure, GE operates in more than 100 countries and employs about 300,000 people worldwide.