Case Study: Budderfly + IHOP: Energy Efficient Upgrades


Better Bottom Line, Happier Employees

Budderfly’s investment in energy management solutions for IHOP leads to happier employees.



In 2022, Golden Cakes Operator Ricardo Aguilera joined the Budderfly program, implementing Budderfly solutions at all nine of his Arkansas IHOP locations. Feeling the pressure of rising inflation and increasing labor costs, a common struggle for most restaurant businesses, Aguilera sought solutions that could help him improve his bottom line, allowing him to provide better pay for employees.



Before partnering with Budderfly, Aguilera spent $200,000 on HVAC replacement units the year prior. With most of his restaurants running 24-hours, on top of Arkansas’ hot summers, proper upkeep of equipment—especially air conditioners— had become a constant frustration for him. He also found himself struggling to replace the dozens of lighting poles in his parking lots. In addition to the costs, upgrading his parking lots would require a crane for installation and time to deal with city approvals and regulations, amongst a host of other details that would need to be facilitated.

Fully aware that prioritizing the optimal performance of his equipment would lead to better customer experiences, Aguilera sought help from Budderfly. With Budderfly he would be able to optimize his equipment performance, reducing his monthly energy bills and annual spending on repairs. This would allow him to pay his employees better and continue hiring quality staff.



After performing an extensive assessment of each of Aguilera’s locations, Budderfly proposed a suite of energy-efficiency equipment upgrades and technology solutions, at no upfront cost. These best-in-class solutions simplify energy management, reduce carbon emissions, and increase savings. Plus, by taking over and managing his utilities, Budderfly simplified Aguilera’s billing, leaving him with one streamlined payment per month and providing full transparency into his monthly savings.



Budderfly provided the capital for Aguilera’s upgrades, including HVAC enhancements, LED lighting, refrigeration controls, and more. On average, Budderfly will invest $50,000 to $100,000 in each of his locations, allowing Aguilera to access high-quality energy equipment and technology while preserving capital for other operational priorities.


Aguilera’s main goal was to find a partner that could source, install, and manage all his energy equipment and technology. By providing an ecosystem of energy management solutions, Budderfly helps Aguilera align his business goals with optimal outcomes like reduced energy usage, better customer and employee satisfaction, and increased savings. Plus, Budderfly’s streamlined billing provides one single monthly payment, as well as a snapshot of his previous utility bills, prior to partnering with Budderfly, for comparison.


By working with Budderfly, Aguilera can expect a 30% reduction in overall energy usage. Not only is this good for Golden Cakes’ bottom line, but it’s also good for the planet. Reducing energy consumption at each of his nine IHOP locations has resulted in over 384,000 kWh saved, removing 307 metric tons of carbon emissions to date. This is the equivalent of 37 homes’ electricity use for 1 year, or 770,574 miles driven by an average motor vehicle.

IHOP's Energy Savings


Relieved of the financial burden of installing and maintaining equipment and dealing with rising energy costs, Aguilera can redirect capital into what he considers Golden Cakes’ greatest asset: its employees.



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