Restaurant Industry Insightssustainability

Technology: The Benefits of Installing an EV Charging Station at Your Restaurant

Electric vehicles are on the rise. For example, in California, electric car registrations were up about 37% in the first quarter of 2022 year-over-year, with the Tesla Model Y and the Tesla Model 3 at the top of the EV list. Comparatively, the overall light-vehicle registrations were down by 13.8%, according to InsideEVs. A similar trend is seen across the nation.

Between January and March 2022, electric vehicle sales were up 76%, compared with a year earlier, while new vehicle sales dropped 15.7%. A few factors spurring sales include high gas prices, clean energy, and reduced environmental impact, improve performance, and increased availability. In 2022, an additional 14 electric vehicle models are on the market, bringing the total to 32. A few of the new models include the GMC Hummer, BMW iX, and the Kia EV6. In addition, Tesla reported record quarterly sales of $18.76 billion.

So, what does this foray into electric vehicles have to do with the restaurant industry? These cars need to recharge, and there’s no better place to do it than your parking lot. 

Charging an Electric Vehicle

EVs can typically travel at least 100 miles on one charge, with some traveling up to 300 miles. Many potential buyers are waiting for the charging infrastructure to grow so that they are comfortable with the availability of public charging stations. Depending on the vehicle, it can take at least 30 minutes to charge an EV to 80% capacity. 

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 included tax credits of up to $7,500 for electric vehicle purchases. This is part of an incentive plan devised at making electric vehicles up to 50% of auto sales by 2030. 

The Restaurant Parking Lot

Entrepreneurial restaurant operators are adding charging stations to their parking lots. For example, ChargeNet, a San Diego EV-charging startup, is installing public charging stations at fast-food chains like Taco Bell. According to Yahoo! News, these charging stations can provide a 100-mile charge in 20 minutes and are expected to be installed in about 120 Taco Bell restaurants in California. While the apparent benefit is giving these drivers a place to eat and drink while their cars are charging, several additional plusses exist. 

Many investors, employees, and customers gravitate toward businesses with sustainable practices. Restaurants demonstrating eco-friendly efforts with charging stations can attract those looking to support sustainable brands. Restaurants can also boost loyalty, attracting customers who know you accommodate their needs. By registering on apps like Zap-Map and Open Charge Map, you can also attract travelers who are passing through. 

The Demographics

According to Property Manager Insider, over 70% of EV buyers make more than $100,000 in income. Additionally, Generation X is buying the most electric vehicles, with millennials a close second. This affluent demographic with a disposable income is the population many restaurants aim for. 

The Downside of EV Charging Stations

The main downside is the cost. On average, the initial cost for a Level II charging station can run up to $6,000 and may or may not include installation, depending on the electricity infrastructure. Keep in mind that some states provide substantial tax credits for those who install public charging stations. Utility providers may also help cover the cost of installation. Restaurant owners can also lease a parking space to an electric vehicle supply equipment provider who provides, installs, and maintains the charging station and shares the profits. 

Panda Restaurant Group installed about 60 charging stations at their national headquarters to help recruit talent and achieve corporate sustainability goals. They worked with Southern California Edison, who provided significant rebates and incentives to help offset the cost of installing EV charging stations and help bring more power into their building. According to SCE, they are happy to work with companies that can help California achieve its carbon-neutral goal by 2045.


Why should I install an EV charging station at my business? 

One of the main reasons people cite for not buying an electric vehicle is the fear of running out of power before finding a charging station. By installing a station, you increase potential traffic and encourage employees and customers to make their next car an EV. For many, environmental stewardship is as important as bringing in additional guests.

Can you make money owning an EV charging station? 

EV charging stations can attract customers and increase their time spent in your establishment. Restaurants can also leverage loyalty programs and advertise offers through charging apps. Many charging stations also charge a fee.

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