Jay Johnson, vice president of operations for Phoenix, Arizona-based Arby’s restaurant franchisee FX4, had tried everything to reduce monthly electric bills that were as much as $4,000 per location. With 55 restaurants, ever increasing energy costs were a concern for Mr. Johnson.
Mr. Johnson attempted to get his employees to conserve energy by reminding them to turn off the air conditioning in the evenings. In units equipped with them, he also began covering programmable thermostats with lockboxes. Unfortunately, neither effort had any effect. Someone would always forget to turn the air conditioner off at night or would poke a straw or toothpick through the lockbox to override the thermostats’ programs and lower the temperature.