POPEYES RESTAURANTS SERVE UP WELL-LIT PARKING LOTS
Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen is the fastest growing brand in its Quick Serve Restaurant (QSR) segment. With more than 2,225 operating restaurants globally, Popeyes is the world’s second-largest chicken concept-based QSR on number of units.
John Brodersen, a Popeyes Louisiana Kitchens’ top five franchisee, owns 100 percent of 37 Popeyes restaurants, including most real estate, with sales of $54 million. Brodersen has grown to this success because of his business acumen, including being ahead of trends by looking for ways to implement new procedures and state-of-the-art products, ensuring smooth operations and profitability.
With foodservice comprising over four percent of the U.S. gross domestic product, it’s clear that reducing the restaurant industry’s ecological footprint can affect real and lasting change. The Energy Information Administration reports that restaurants are the most energy-intensive commercial buildings in the U.S., consuming nearly three times the energy of the average commercial building per square foot. A $1 reduction in energy costs equals $12.50 in sales at an eight percent profit margins.
In its quest for guest-focused operational excellence, Popeyes’ pursuit to reduce restaurant operating costs and accelerate quality restaurants includes a focus on managing controllable expenses like energy use and installation of efficient, distinctive lighting. Upgrading to LED lighting gives franchise stores a fresh look through longer maintained light levels and uniformity.
Well-designed lighting systems help lower operational costs and provide aesthetic and environmental advantages. Fewer bulb replacements on outdated metal halide fixtures that lose five to 10 percent of their illumination per year means fewer bulbs going to the landfill, less labor time, and more time and money that can be spent on running the restaurant business.
The impetus for Brodersen Management’s lighting retrofits at two Midwestern Popeyes restaurant locations was to create a safer and more inviting experience before guests even stepped into the buildings. In an effort to improve parking lot lighting performance and security, and create this welcoming atmosphere, the franchisee recently upgraded the parking lot pole-mounted luminaires with Optec LED Lighting. Brodersen considered the total cost of ownership – not just the initial cost in the long-term business investment decision.
The lighting retrofits, funded in part with state energy rebate programs, incentivized Brodersen to achieve both financial and environmental rewards. In a one-for-one retrofit, (13) 240-watt LED fixtures replaced 1,000-watt metal halide fixtures at a restaurant in Ypsilanti, Mich. and a Milwaukee, Wis. location received a one-for-one replacement of (11) 400-watt pulse start metal halide fixtures with 240-watt LED fixtures. The Optec LED luminaires achieved improvements in lighting performance with significantly less power consumption compared to the metal halide luminaires. With dramatically improved uniformity, the new Optec LED luminaires eliminate dark spots between fixtures and improve light levels over the metal halide fixtures that they replaced.
Brodersen Management worked with Bob Salinas of West Bend, Wis.-based Master Electric, on the Milwaukee retrofit. “The Optec LED luminaires were easy to install and they will last exceptionally longer than the pulse metal halide fixtures, which required changing bulbs that quickly burned out in one to two years,” said Salinas.
Typically, a QSR parking lot LED installation will realize a payback in five years or less from energy and maintenance savings. A quicker payback can be realized if rebates are available through a local utility. DTE Energy Co. offers prescriptive incentives to Michigan business customers who install energy-efficient lighting for qualified improvements in situations that require a retrofit or equipment replacement. Taking advantage of this incentive allowed Brodersen to recoup over one third of the new lighting costs and the retrofit to Optec LED luminaires will provide a return on investment (ROI) in a little over a year and an immediate savings of $472 per month after incentives.
For security purposes, the Milwaukee restaurant parking lot needed to achieve higher light levels, which is reflected in the energy savings. The Milwaukee location will receive an ROI in a little over three years with an immediate savings of $230 per month after incentives from Focus on Energy, a Wisconsin utilities’ energy efficiency and renewable resource program that aids businesses in installing cost-effective energy efficient and renewable energy projects such as LED lighting retrofits. Focus on Energy offers financial incentives for eligible technologies and upgrades including LED lamp and fixture systems. The organization encourages the replacement of outdated equipment with new, qualified lighting systems from per-qualified systems including Optec LED.
Not only are the parking lots brighter and safer, but Brodersen Management is saving 75 percent in energy use at the Ypsilanti location and 50 percent at the Milwaukee location, thanks to the Optec LED luminaries that utilize an efficient thermal management system to promote cool operation assuring maximum useful life. The company anticipates more than a decade of virtually maintenance-free lighting operation at these two Popeyes restaurants.