Putting WaterSense® to Work
Major Restaurant Chain Slows the Flow
With a Water-Saving Strategy for Success
Sector: Restaurants and Other Commercial Kitchens; Focus: Water Conservation
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Project Summary
Water and sewer costs are rising an average of 8 percent per year,
faster than any other utility. Restaurants, which rely on water to
effectively run their kitchens, are feeling the effects of these rising costs.
Arby's Restaurant Group, Inc., one of the largest restaurant chains in
the United States, has worked to combat rising water and energy costs
by taking steps to conserve resources and save money.
Arby's currently has more than 1,000 corporate-owned sites and nearly
3,300 total sites including franchises. The chain wanted to reduce water
use in its daily operations and in 2012 began working with Ecova®, an
energy and sustainability management company. By developing a
strategic resource management program, Arby's has reduced per-site
water use by more than 10.7 percent since 2011, accounting for
approximately 107 million gallons of water and a total savings of $1.2
million in water and wastewater costs.
Facility Name: Arby's
Location: 3,300 restaurants in
the United States, Canada,
Turkey, and Qatar
Water savings: 107 million
gallons of water since 2011.
Cost savings: $1,200,000
A Strategy to Save Blue
Arby's worked with Ecova to develop a strategic resource management
program as a guide for how the chain would implement its water-saving
efforts. Arby's executives and other leaders attended stakeholder
interviews to explore and identify water-efficient practices appropriate to
the large chain. Following the interviews, Ecova conducted water audits
at a sample set of restaurants to identify measures Arby's could take to
increase its water efficiency practices.
Central to the program was a strategic plan focused on five categories:
data, employee engagement, facility optimization, marketing and reporting,
and continual improvement. Arby's leadership team regularly consulted
the strategic plan to align and track the company's actions with their goals.
The holistic nature of the program allowed Arby's to implement sustainable
water and energy operations at all Arby's corporate-owned restaurants.
The chain installed high-efficiency faucet aerators on hand sinks in its
restaurants, using vandal-proof units to ensure they would remain on the
faucets. Installing the aerators proved to be one of the most difficult challenges in the process, as faucets were
not uniform among the 1,000-plus restaurants. Arby's did, however, attempt to find high-efficiency aerators of
different sizes and types to meet the installation needs of its different branches. Unlike the high-efficiency
aerators, Arby's was able to install the same model of WaterSense labeled pre-rinse spray valves in all its
kitchens, which can save each restaurant $115 to $240 per year. Each restaurant also upgraded to ENERGY
STAR® certified ice machines.
PHONE (866) WTR-SENS (987-/367) WEBSlTEwww.epa.gov/watersense EMAlLwatersense@epa.gov
ATQA EPA-832-F 17-002D
WCr/A March 2017

The water assessments and water bill analysis showed that irrigation accounted for 40 percent of Arby's total
water consumption on average. To reduce its outdoor water usage, the chain installed WaterSense labeled
irrigation controllers at 135 sites to date resulting in 30 to 70 percent reductions in irrigation water consumption—a
25 percent reduction of total water usage on average per site. Arby's specifically uses irrigation controllers that
allow the restaurants to monitor and manage the irrigation system through an online platform. To teach
landscapers how to properly operate the controllers, Arby's offered a series of webinars to ensure they were
properly using the system. The original irrigation pilot at 85 restaurants saved Arby's 7.4 million gallons of water in
six months—enough to fill more than 11 Olympic-sized pools. This resulted in an average savings of $1,150 in
water and sewer costs per site annually. Based on the success of this project and the potential to apply similar
strategies to reduce irrigation water use across Arby's entire portfolio, the Arby's irrigation program won
Environmental Leader's Project of the Year award in 2016.
Looking to the Future
Implementing water-efficient practices has reduced Arby's water usage by 10.9 percent per restaurant since
2011. The chain is also developing corporate 2020 water reduction goals, and its next step will be to upgrade its
restaurants' bathrooms with WaterSense labeled toilets and flushing urinals.
Figure 1: Arby's Avg. Water Use per Site 2011 through 2016
460 I	I	I
440 H	H	¦
2011	2012	2013 2014 2015 2016
Although Arby's mainly implemented its water-saving practices in its corporate-owned restaurants, it has provided
its franchisees with a successful framework to implement water efficiency. By identifying equipment, appliances,
and best practices, as well as recommending tested and approved suppliers and vendors, Arby's is able to apply
lessons learned from water and energy management to help franchisees follow suit and reduce their impact.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) WaterSense program acknowledges Ecova Senior Energy
Manager Paul Kuck for providing information for this case study.
Learn More
To learn more about water efficiency in commercial and institutional buildings, visit the WaterSense website at
www.epa.gov/watersense/commercial-buildings to access WaterSense at Work best management practices,
tools, case studies, and more.