parking lot at night controlled by EMS system

Restaurant EMS Systems: Is There a Better Way to Control Exterior Lighting?

Compared to other businesses, building and maintaining a successful restaurant is notoriously difficult. Restaurant owners have a lot of moving pieces to manage and not a penny to waste. Restaurant EMS systems have revolutionized restaurant management. Why? Because they have the potential to cut energy costs considerably.

While your restaurant’s EMS has robust functionality to manage various areas of the interior premises, it lacks some essential controls of your exterior lighting. Automating your restaurant lighting with AccessLink™ by OutdoorLink will give you more time to devote to fundamental aspects of your business like your menu and customer experience.

What is an Energy Management System?

An Energy Management System, or EMS, is an installed hardware and software system that automates several restaurant appliances. EMS systems can control including interior and exterior lighting, vented hoods, refrigeration units, cooktops, HVAC systems, and more.

There are two primary benefits of an EMS system. First, it reduces a restaurant manager’s workload. Second, it has the potential to reduce a building’s energy usage by 5% – 25% compared to restaurants with uncontrolled energy consumption. 

How Do EMS Systems Reduce Workload and Energy Consumption?

An EMS system can save restaurant managers considerable time and energy by:

  • Automating the thermostat – You can significantly reduce energy usage by adjusting the thermostat when the restaurant is closed. Raising the temperature in the summer and lowering it in the winter will save you money. Instead of trying to remember to change the thermostat each evening and morning, an EMS lets you set it to an automated schedule. 
  • Monitoring energy use and sending alerts – Vented hoods consume a lot of energy. If an employee forgets to turn it off at the end of the day, some EMS systems send you an alert. You can turn the vent off remotely instead of wasting energy all night.
  • Alerting you when the walk-in fridge or freezer is left open – If an employee is taking inventory inside the walk-in with the door open, or if someone doesn’t get it closed properly, the EMS will send you an alert. You’ll save money on your cooling costs and also reduce the risk of spoiling and wasting refrigerated foods.
  • Identifying appliances that need repair – EMS’s track and monitor energy usage by various appliances such as the oven and HVAC system. If one of the ovens suddenly starts using more energy than usual, you’ll get an alert. Rather than having your employees prop open the oven door because it’s cooking too hot, you’ll know that you need to schedule an immediate repair. 
    • BONUS: You can also use the data to identify appliances that are candidates for replacement. If your EMS has alerted you to a recurring problem with an oven, you would have data to justify replacing it.
  • Controlling your interior and exterior restaurant lighting – You can save a lot of energy and money by automating your lighting. A simple program will ensure that the lights are off each night. You can also keep your employees safe by scheduling the interior and exterior lights to turn on before they arrive for work each morning.
  • Standardizing settings among multiple restaurant locations – Do you own a chain of restaurants? If so, you can use the same settings for all of them and save a considerable amount of time. 

Your EMS May Not Be Enough for Your Restaurant’s Parking Lot

Your EMS can do a lot, so there’s great value in using an EMS for your business. However, the EMS system’s lighting control lacks several vital functions, especially for outdoor lights.

EMS systems integrate with your existing outdoor lights, which often have a photocell. The photocell is a light-sensitive component that causes your parking lot lights to turn on when it gets dark. The primary issue with photocells is that they have a short lifespan, only one to two years, and replacing them is costly. Also, when they go out, they cause the light to be on all day and night until you fix it.

AccessLink™ by OutdoorLink does not use photocell lights. Instead, each unit has its own GPS unit, which controls “drift”, or the natural variation in each day’s length. Your maintenance crew won’t have to adjust the timers periodically, and you’ll save money because your lights will turn off when the sun rises rather than at a preset time. Also, AccessLink™ by OutdoorLink has a SmartWeather feature to turn lights on and off based on Doppler radar.

Many EMS systems connect to your lights through Wi-Fi. If the internet services are interrupted, you’ll lose control of your lights. AccessLink™ by OutdoorLink connects to your restaurant lighting on the cellular network. Your connection is more secure and you can access your lights anytime, from anywhere.

AccessLink by OutdoorLink Complements Your EMS System

Pick up where your EMS lighting controls leave off with AccessLink by OutdoorLink. You should expect more out of your restaurant lighting controller, and with AccessLink by OutdoorLink, you can get all that you expect and more.

Learn More About AccessLink™ powered by OutdoorLink:

AccessLink™ powered by OutdoorLink is the standard in commercial remote lighting control. Stop wasting time and money with outdated photocells and unreliable timers. Remotely control your exterior lighting by simply touching your phone screen or with a couple of clicks on your tablet or laptop. Experience the convenience of AccessLink today. Contact us here, or give us a call at (256) 885-9768.