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Exterior LED Luminaires Yield McDonald's Big Results

Like any business, quick-serve restaurant chains know the importance of reducing their operating costs, but only recently have they realized the money-saving potential inherent in energy efficiency. Through the installation of exterior LED luminaires, QSRs can improve safety, security and ambiance while reducing operating expenses.

Kilian Management Services, Inc., (Kilian) is a growth-oriented, progressive McDonald’s franchisee. Starting in 1987, Steve and Debbie Kilian bought their first McDonald’s in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Today, they own 40 throughout the state and their son, Steve, Jr. leads the operation in conjunction with his father.

McDonald’s franchisees, like the Kilians, are tasked with meeting the company’s vision to become environmentally friendly without compromising standards of operation. Their goal is to provide high quality food and an enjoyable dining experience at the lowest possible operating cost. To that end, Kilian recently upgraded 23 of their locations with LED parking lot luminaires knowing this would reduce energy and maintenance costs and improve security through a better illuminated facility.

Prior to the change out, the facilities had metal halide (MH) and high-pressure sodium (HPS) fixtures, which required changing burned out bulbs that only lasted one-two years, an expensive and time consuming ordeal that required the use of a bucket truck.

Working with Bob Salinas of West Bend, WI-based Master Electric, on the installation, the project included a one-for-one replacement of (192) 400-watt MH with 120-watt LED, and (87) 1000-watt MH with 240-watt LED; (24) 400-watt HPS were replaced with 120-watt LED and (3) 250-watt HPS with 80-watt LED.

The energy savings are estimated to decrease approximately 70 percent as a result of selecting Optec LED luminaires on the electric bill over the previous MH and HPS lights. The one-time utility incentives from Focus on Energy resulted in further project cost reduction.

An investment in new LED lights can have a long-term effect on operations and not just from the cost-savings perspective. Customers are drawn to a restaurant because of perceptions of cleanliness, safety and a friendly atmosphere. The use of LED lighting gives restaurants a brighter, more modern look compared to the traditional high intensity discharge sources that cause a property to have an old, tired appearance.

The company anticipates the new Optec LED luminaires will provide a payback on average in two-three years and the financial savings just add up after that. These McDonald’s locations expect more than a decade of virtually maintenance-free lighting.

“The Optec luminaires were easy to install and they provide dramatically improved uniformity, eliminating dark spots between fixtures without having any spilling to adjacent properties,” said Salinas.


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