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Cutting Costs with the Thermostat


Thermostat controls help Arby’s cut costs

But someone always forgot to shut off the air or would poke a straw or toothpick through the lockbox on the programmable controls to lower the temperature.

If employees are so desperate for cool air conditioning that they will stick toothpicks through a locked thermostat, then you probably are keeping the temperature too high.  Yeah, you can cut costs by reducing the climate controls, but grumpy hot employees are not worth the savings, in my opinion.

The restaurants now use Web-based controls accessible only to top managers, ensuring the air is on only during business hours and never gets cranked too high. Those moves saved $800 in a month at one location.

I agree with automating a reduction in heat and cool air during non-operating hours.  But I am very skeptical of over-managing the temperature during operating hours for morale reasons.

About Ryan Knoll

Attorney and advisor with an interest in franchising. Feel free to email me comments and questions on the "Contact Us" page.


  1. Ryan is correct as usual with his observations. Far too often I have been working with clients in crisis mode in their office which has automated utility systems. The light going out at set times and repeatedly timing out there after, air conditioning or heat cutting out on the weekends or in the late evening. Nothing destroys morale quicker than to ask employees to go the extra mile and make it even more inconvenient and uncomfortable for them.

    My personal view has been and remains, if you cannot afford to pay your employees a wage that allows them to live and work in a first world standard, and pay a rate to finance your venture that compensates for the risk ensued, you really do not have a viable business. What you have is a business that is subsidized either via the taxpayers or through human suffering. And I am very aware those comments take in a whole lot of country, but sometimes it needs to be said.

  2. Ditto. All the corporate buildings in the Chicago Loop and suburbs I’ve been in after-hours turn off the air conditioning at 5 or 6pm. It quickly makes working unbearable.

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