Chain Leader:

Randy Key bursts into laughter when asked if his company’s energy management system now affords him a four-day work week.

Yet ask him if it has made life a little easier.

“Yes. It has,” declares the director of maintenance for Emerald Foods, a Houston-based Wendy’s franchise that operates 44 restaurants. Key, who has overseen the installation of the system in seven units in Dallas/Forth Worth, no longer worries about employees setting air-conditioning thermostats at 50 degrees or store managers running late and turning on all the lights and equipment at the same time. Today, the energy management system does all that for him, automatically.

And more, he adds. For instance, if employees prop the walk-in door open for longer than 10 minutes during morning prep, the store receives a phone call from the energy management system vendor. The caller reminds the restaurant to close the walk-in door.

“They monitor door openings,” Key explains. “That keeps our critical product [fresh hamburger] a little safer.”

Cost Cuttingcontinue reading.