Water is a necessary part of any foodservice business, from preparation to cleanliness and sanitation to heating and cooling needs. Wendy’s is committed to making smart reductions in the amount of water it takes for our restaurants to operate and innovating better ways to use our resources where we can.
Wendy’s joined the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings® Water Challenge in 2019. We set a goal to reduce the water use in U.S. Company restaurants by 20% by 2029 against our 2018 baseline year. In 2020, we are happy to report that we have already achieved a total of 15% reduction against our 2018 baseline and are on track toward meeting our 20% goal by our targeted deadline.
We are also proud to have two franchise organizations, which represent 200 restaurants, participating in the Better Buildings Water Challenge. Both share in our goal of reducing water use by 20% by 2029 against our 2018 baseline.
Over the past three years, Wendy’s has been converting to new automated dishwashing equipment that reduces the average water use for dishwashing by 47% per cycle. Nearly 1,000 of these warewash units have now been installed at Company-owned and franchise locations. Thanks to these upgrades, the total annual water reduction is more than 84,000 kGallons per year—enough water to fill more than 7,700 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
When irrigation is needed for landscaping, it is important that the systems are operating properly and efficiently to minimize water waste. Wendy’s is piloting smart irrigation systems that automatically adjust the irrigation water use based on weather and soil conditions. The system also provides real-time leak alerts to prevent wasting water. The early results are very promising, with more than a 50% reduction in irrigation water use in the first few months. We are on track to save more than 1,000,000 gallons of irrigation water in 2021 from this pilot program.