Since it took over Atlantic franchise rights for KFC just two short years ago, New-Brunswick –based Franchise Management Inc (FMI) has been aggressively renovating and refurbishing Atlantic Canada’s KFC restaurants.

Now that over 50 KFC restaurants are successfully operating in the Atlantic Provinces, FMI is innovating again with a green-energy project that has already attracted royal attention and industry acclaim. The program, now underway fully at over 20 KFCs, aims to reduce energy use by 70% to make it possible for FMI’s KFC restaurants to eventually transition to renewable solar and wind power by 2018.

Simple Steps = Substantial Environmental Impact Reductions

“It’s been truly remarkable,” sums up Dak Conklin, BEDS; Development Manager, FMI. “We’ve been able to take a series of small, meaningful steps that have dramatically lightened our environmental impact and we’re just getting started”, Dak adds. “Buying the franchise for KFC restaurants in Atlantic Canada is one of the best and most exciting business decisions we’ve ever made. Because a lot of the restaurant locations needed substantial updates, we were able to make simple, sweeping energy cuts simultaneously. That vision is paying back for the planet and for FMI”, notes Mr. Conklin.

Dak Conklin says that simple steps like switching to low-flow water technologies, replacing lighting with LED lights, controlling/reducing peak demand charges, and making better use of natural daylight have added up to a 50% reduction in water usage and a 30% reduction in energy consumption. And that’s all without making substantial construction or structural changes at the restaurant.

FMI’s Energy Savings Coordinator, Ernie Tracey, ESET; credits his education and involvement with Charlottetown, PEI’s Holland College, Diploma in Energy Systems Engineering Technology for FMI development team’s success in greening KFCs. That along with his 25 years of working in sustainable energy in Africa, Central America, and Asia allows him to incorporate his education and experiences to maximize energy savings while minimizing investments.

The FMI Energy Savings Team bases the success, to date, on not just tackling one area or item at a time but taking the holistic approach and grouping or phasing related items together. This creates an exponential savings and lowers the overall investment of separately implemented items. Additionally, FMI’s Energy Savings Team gets involved with their suppliers and work with them to ensure the product available fits their need and if not then they assist the suppliers in developing the correct energy conscience products for their purpose in the KFC restaurants.

Wind and Solar-Powered Atlantic Canada KFCs by 2018

“We’re on a 4-phased program that will take about 3 to 4 years to green all of FMI’s 50 Atlantic Canada KFC restaurants,” confirms Dak Conklin, who says the company has already begun to roll out the program, at some stage, to over 100 restaurants of its 200+ restaurants across Canada and the USA.

The present focus on the KFC restaurants is on modifying the refrigeration systems to reduce energy consumption plus reducing maintenance costs all while adding many more years to the unit’s life expectancy. Also, FMI is still working on getting all the stores completed with the Phase 1 quick and easy items. Ernie anticipates that will be completed by end of 2015 – by which time, KFC’s energy savings for the 50 stores will be equivalent to 1 of the following equally related items:

– taking 730 cars off the road

– eliminating 1,250 tons of waste being sent to landfill

– planting 2,850 acres of forest

– eliminating 480 homes annual electric consumption

– burning 3,732,900 lbs. of coal

The next focus for the program is installing low-energy letter/menu boards in restaurants, making exterior signage with dimmable LEDs, replacing more parking lights with solar powered LED units, making efficiencies in the HVAC systems, and making energy-friendly changes to the kitchen cooking and refrigeration systems, some of which are already being implemented and generating more great results.

“Our goal is to embark on the final solar and wind-power transition starting in 2018, maybe as early as 2017,” says Dak Conklin, adding that local KFCs will begin sharing their progress in restaurants, so that KFC fans can keep updated on the chain’s environmental progress.

Dak notes, “It’s a win-win-win scenario in what we are doing with our energy savings; a win for the environment, a win for cost reduction, and a win for maintenance and replacement reduction.”