You know that cute, small-town diner that looks like home and smells like heaven? Welcome to Ellen’s Café in Old Town Spring. See how restaurant owners Matt and Jessica Lynn use smart energy-saving tips to keep things cookin’ in the kitchen, cool in the dining room and easy on the pocketbook. 


How’d you get your start in the restaurant industry?

My husband Matt and I met in New York at the Culinary Institute of America and always wanted to own and operate a business on a Main Street and live above it. One night Matt had a dream that we owned a yellow restaurant in Old Town Spring. I told him to look online and see if he saw anything for sale. He did, and after nine months of negotiating, we owned it. It’s right off Main Street and we live about a mile from it, so it’s a literal dream come true.

What’s your favorite part of running a business?

I love working with my husband and sharing our love for food with others. We get to invite people to make themselves at home and nurture them through good food and quality customer service.

How does TXU Energy help you focus more on your business and less on your bills?

TXU Energy does a great job checking in to make sure our plan works for us and they pay attention to what’s important to our business. When our contract comes to an end, they proactively call to check in on our needs and discuss what changes need to be made to maximize our savings and efficiency. Plus, the AutoPay feature lets us put payments on autopilot so we don’t have to worry about them. They make me feel like I’m being taken care of.

Do you have a favorite tip for saving energy or money – or both?

Using a programmable thermostat makes a huge difference in a building built in1933! Our electricity bill is down $500 from this same time last year, thanks to temperature management, and TXU Energy helping us make educated decisions about our electricity plan. We program our thermostat to cool about 30-45 minutes before we come in, hold it at a specific temperature, and when our shift is over, set it to a closing temperature. Saving money on my electricity bill allows me to concentrate on other parts of our operation.

What advice would you give to new business owners about running a smart operation?

Have a business plan and follow it. Don’t just make a pretty book with all your fantasies about business and what you think it could or can be. You have to really crunch the numbers and live the plan or it’s not going to work. And if you don’t have a passion for it, then find something else to do. In the hard times, the passion is the only thing that’s going to pull you through..

What’s the best item on your menu?

Our HeartBrand Akaushi burger. The Japanese-style beef is raised in Texas and approved by the American Heart Association, so you can have your burger and eat it, too.