Category Archives: Culinary

Basic Food Safety and How to Instill it in the Company Culture

An issue related to food safety – or lack thereof – is every operator’s worst nightmare. It seems every few months we read about a new (or renewed) food safety issue at one major chain or another. According to a study done by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the cost for a restaurant that experiences a foodborne illness outbreak can run up to 101 percent of their annual revenue. This, and the general desire to keep patrons safe, makes preventing illness the foremost goal of any chef and organization.

Fortunately, if attention is paid to food safety, you can ensure you have happy, healthy customers, and a happy, healthy business. The good news is that establishing safety protocols or safe workspace doesn’t require reinventing the wheel. Be sure to stick to the most basic food safety rules and objectives and you’ll lay the foundation for a safe restaurant environment.

Washing hands: Beyond being a requirement by the FDA, this is the most effective practice for eliminating the spread of bacteria. While the sight of gloves may create a sense of safety, nothing is more effective than hand washing.

Correct use of gloves: Just because the gloves are on does not make it a free-for-all in the kitchen. There are still rules to abide by, such as changing your gloves every time you touch a new order. When it comes to ready-to-eat food — which cannot be touched with bare hands — be sure your staff is following proper glove protocol and changing them as often as necessary.

Proper storage: An audit of any storage equipment should reveal that items with the most potential for carrying bacteria and pathogens are stored at the bottom. Items with the least potential should be stored at the top. If your chicken is above anything, gather the troops — it’s time for a staff food safety meeting.

Accountable purchasing: If, as an operator, you don’t have the time or resources to ensure the quality and safety of the food you’re purchasing, the best way to cover your bases is to make your purchases through a reputable company, such as one of the many qualified broadlines.

Washing produce: Despite coming from a reputable source, produce still needs to be washed. It’s a simple task that can help operators avoid major headaches.

Clean and sanitize work areas/equipment: Prioritizing this activity can help ensure the necessary cleaning tasks are accomplished. Though it may seem extremely rudimentary, proper cleaning tasks can easily fall by the way-side if they are not regularly scheduled.

While it is typical for operators to have a strong understanding of these best practices, the difficulties seem to arise in the next steps — adopting them into the culture of the business to the point where the staff can police itself. According to our own corporate chef, Ben Leingang, there are several ways to drive these priorities home.

  • Develop practices that constantly promote food safety. For example, post signage of proper storage and sanitation requirements around the kitchen in easily visible or often visited locations.
  • Appoint or hire managers that can lead by example. For instance, front-of-house managers should follow proper hand washing protocol every time they visit the kitchen.
  • Get ServSafe certified and have a manager that is certified for every shift.
  • Perform safety audits on a regular, but unpredictable, schedule. For best results, run these daily.
  • If you’re opening a new restaurant, go through the local health department to file the appropriate paperwork and understand every requirement with them immediately, even before you’ve opened. Submit your operational plans and figure out how you should be initiating anything that requires an element of food safety. Don’t wait for the health department to come to you.

With all that is required to run a business, it’s understandable that focus on some of the very basic items (in this case food safety) can be lost. However, not losing sight of this area of the business is extremely important for operators. If a priority is put on the basics and establishing a culture of safety-focused team members, then more difficult practices (as we’ve written about before, such as maintaining a gluten-free menu) become much easier.

For more blogs on kitchen safety and operational best practices, be sure to subscribe to Our Take, in the column just to the right.

How to Hold Your Fried Items with Confidence

Whether it’s chicken, fish, shrimp or mozzarella sticks, consumers universally expect the same out of fried items. We fry foods specifically to retain their moist or juicy insides and (most importantly) to add that crunchy, golden delicious outside.

Perfecting the right “crunch” for every item can sometimes take constant experimentation, so it’s understandable that operators might be hesitant to use a holding cabinet if they think it will diminish the quality of their prized fried concoctions. But will it?

Yes, holding fried items can be a bit trickier, but they can be successfully held. In fact, a holding program may be more crucial than some operators realize, especially for fried items. By establishing a proper holding program, operators can eliminate consistency issues and improve flow of service. Once the ideal holding time and humidity levels have been established for a product, it can all but be assured that every customer will receive the same quality item, always.

To help find that holding sweet spot for fried foods, we wanted to offer a few tips to operators that should inspire confidence in maintaining the perfect crunch even after some time in the holding cabinet.

Tip 1: Hold High
We find that too many operators, in fear of drying out their food, err on the side of lower holding temperatures when in fact, the opposite should be practiced. A higher temperature hold creates more available moisture, also known as the juices in meat products. Following the initial cooking of the meat, at rest, those juices will settle out. Worse yet, if the temperature drops too low then the taste and appearance become more of the day-old variety, rather than warm, crisp and juicy.  It won’t be dry, but it will lose palatability.

For those that are holding fried chicken at 145°F, try holding instead somewhere in the range of 165-185°F.

By holding at a higher temperature, operators can increase the overall holding time of that item. For those that are holding fried chicken at 145oF, try holding instead somewhere in the range of 165-185oF.  This will work for a variety of other proteins, such as large roasts of pork and beef, BBQ and roasted poultry like chicken or turkey.

Tip 2: Know Your Hold
Know which items hold easier than others and which can sustain longer holds while maintaining quality. For instance:

-Breaded items hold better than battered items
-Bone-in items produce a better hold than boneless items
-Large items hold easier and better than smaller items
-Softer fried items hold longer than hard, crispy fried items

Tip 3: Think Ahead
Holding shouldn’t come as an after-thought. In fact, operators that utilize holding best, factor it into the overall recipe. The quality and flavor of the item should be considered final only after it has been through its allotted hold. This may mean trying different types of flours to understand what holds and tastes best when it is eventually served. For instance, operators may find that alternatives like rice flour or potato starch, in certain applications, may yield a crispier and tastier product than wheat flour after a designated hold period.

Tip 4: Yes, Equipment Matters
There are several levels of holding cabinet options available to operators, and in most cases, you get what you pay for:

Option 1: The most basic cabinets provide one heat source and will keep your food warm but that’s about it. With no way to increase or decrease the available humidity, these are not a viable option for fried foods.

Option 2: These units are a basic cabinet with the addition of a passive water pan. These will offer a heat and a water source, giving you the ability to create steam. This is definitely a step up, but operators are given little in the way of environmental control.

Option 3: Humidified cabinets come with a dedicated heat source for the cabinet and a water pan with its own dedicated heat source, giving operators the ability to individually fine-tune heat and humidity levels. However, this will rely on constant operator observation and adjustments.

Option 4: Fully automatic cabinets are based on a closed loop system that automatically checks and adjusts moisture and temperature levels to turn out the exact same product time and time again. Once the best hold specifications for each item have been determined, all that’s left to do is set it and forget it.

Holding fried items may feel like a recipe for disaster to some, and done without the right knowledge or tools, it may be. However, if holding is instilled in an operation as a standard procedure, where temperature and humidity levels are always programmed and accurate — made possible by design and technology — the holding cabinet may become the unlikely hero of your frying program.

To learn more about the holding cabinet options that Henny Penny has available, visit our holding line-up or contact your local distributor.

The Low Oil Volume Frying FAQ You’ve Been Looking For

Hanging on to that old fryer may seem like the frugal decision for your business, but is it? Have you really considered the impact that an aging, inefficient high oil volume fryer has on your business’s bottom line? For operators still on the fence about making the switch to a low oil volume fryer, there’s plenty to consider in regards to the ROI that can be realized by updating your equipment.

Here are some frequently asked questions from operators considering low oil volume fryers:

  • How much money could I be saving on oil?
    The standard fryer holds anywhere between 50-65 pounds of oil. Low oil volume fryers are designed to have a 40 percent lower oil capacity (just 30lbs), yet still manage to cook the same amount of food. The higher the volume, the better the savings.  This adds up to an annual savings of $3000-$5000 on oil costs.
  • How long could my oil last?
    Using less oil is great. Making your oil last longer is even better. This means less dumps per year, which means less maintenance for your kitchen staff and more time frying. The efficiency of a low oil volume fryer can result in oil life of up to 21 days — three times longer than the industry average.
  • Could the consistency and quality of my food be improved?
    As we’ve mentioned, making the switch to a low oil volume fryer translates to longer oil life due to maintained oil quality. Beyond cost savings, longer-lasting quality oil also means better tasting and more consistent food quality. If you’ve noticed flavor shifts or texture inconsistencies in your fried products, it might be time to consider the advantages of a low oil volume fryer.
  • How much time is my current system wasting?
    Standard fryers with higher oil volumes can require long, cumbersome filtering processes. Lengthy filtering practices can threaten production — especially if a filtering need arises during an inopportune time, such as rush hour. Low oil volume fryers can require as little as three minutes to filter. Add in automatic top-off features to replenish oil and you have a piece of equipment that improves your staff’s user experience and helps them be more efficient than ever.

Interested in learning more about what a low oil volume fryer can do for your business? Check out our newest innovation, the F5 open fryer at www.hpf5.com.

Maximizing kitchen space: what can U.S. operators learn from their Asian counterparts

Asian food culture dictates a different approach to restaurant operations than what is seen stateside; however, understanding the practices abroad may help provide U.S operators with some new inspiration.

We asked our Asian distribution partners to share the challenges and needs required to overcome them in the typical Asian kitchen. We’ve broken down the responses into three regional categories: Chinese, South Asian (Indonesian and Malaysian) and Japanese. These kitchen types are all slightly different, but each provides an idea or two on how to create an efficient kitchen in a limited space — insights that could be beneficial for American operations to consider.

Chinese Kitchens
On average, Chinese kitchens are going to be smaller than your typical American kitchen, which places an emphasis on efficiency. Because of this need, and because of the type of cuisine, there are generally just four major pieces of equipment that are needed in most Chinese kitchens:

  • A wok range is not only a must in nearly every kitchen but is prized for its versatility. It can be used to stir fry as well as deep fry since wok casseroles can contain enough oil to submerge foods.
  • Steamers, whether it is a steamer cabinet or dim sum steamer, can be used as a stock or soup burner or to prepare just about any wet or humid food. Moist foods allow for better flavor transfer from food to the taste receptors, which places significant demand for foods with higher moisture levels. Steaming using a steaming cabinet for both proteins and vegetables is typical, although in some cases a combi oven can provide a suitable replacement.
  • Rice cookers may be the most prevalent piece of equipment in Chinese kitchens. Steamer cabinets can also be used for rice since they can provide more volume, although this comes as the expense of quality. Combi ovens are also sometimes utilized for rice but result in less volume and less quality.
  • A generic cooker or stove can support Chinese-style cooking, so they too are often present in the back-of-house. Though a versatile piece of equipment, the production output for these is typically small compared to the previously mentioned pieces of equipment.

South Asian (Indonesian and Malaysian) Kitchens
Kitchens here are faced with similar size constraint challenges to those in China and operate with very basic and minimal food and beverage technology. Therefore, kitchens in the South Asian region not only operate with minimal equipment but also use more traditional methods. A major difference from their Chinese counterparts is the lack of a steamer or steamer cabinet based on typical menu needs.

  • Generic cookers, such as stoves, are the main piece of equipment in these kitchens, yet some employ griddles and/or deep fryers on occasion. South Asian kitchens, which are modernizing at the fastest rate of these three regions, are slowly beginning to introduce combi ovens. It’s anticipated that speed and space saving will soon become important factors, especially in Indonesian restaurants. As this piece of equipment becomes more widely adopted, deep fryer presence will rise as well because menus are heavily reliant on deep fried foods, but the consistency cannot be created in a combi.
  • Wok ranges for stir frying or deep frying are very popular in South Asian kitchens due to the demand for fried foods. However, even these are sometimes not present as a simple stove or griddle can easily replace the wok range.

Japanese Kitchens
Again, with limited size and space, Japanese kitchens use as little equipment as possible, making efficiency and versatility major points of emphasis. With high average salaries for labor, equipment is also relied on heavily to maintain low overhead. Coupling the wage issue with the employment of highly educated chefs creates a culture of chefs utilizing high end, premium equipment.

  • Combi ovens execute on the need for versatility and operate on the idea of simplicity. These ovens allow operators to cut back on operations and enables them to invest heavily in just one piece of equipment that can accomplish quite a lot in Japanese cuisine.
  • Rice cookers are a must here as well. Again, in order to meet the demand for quality rice, there is little that can substitute for this piece of equipment.
  • Other specialty equipment for Japanese kitchens such as a yakitori grill, ramen/noodle maker, boiler or tempura fryer can all be found throughout Japanese restaurants depending on a restaurant’s niche. Because of the advancement and development of the food and beverage industry in Japan, one operational tool that can be found here and not in other Asian regions is a cook-chill system.

It’s no surprise that cuisines, tastes and cooking methods are regional, but what is consistent is how different Asian kitchens can do so much with so little — seen with their use of combi ovens and other highly versatile pieces of equipment. As U.S. operators are continuously tasked with doing more with less, the answers to efficiency may just be an ocean away.

Looking for equipment that can help you with efficiency? Check out our complete line of combi ovens or contact your local Henny Penny distributor who can explain the versatility advantages of a combi oven today.

Thriving on the Unexpected: How Holding Cabinets Can Prepare Operators for Increased Traffic

Its 12:30 p.m., you’re in the middle of rush hour, and sure enough, here it comes — a bus full of hungry customers. This should be an awesome sight, right? More business is always welcome, however, it can cause some heartburn if your team isn’t able to easily shift gears and scale quality production.  What the savvy operation needs is the right tools and a little bit of preparation.

There’s no such thing as being over prepared

It’s tough to prepare for the truly unexpected, but you may be surprised to find that what you already know may be all you need to excel.

Throughout a day, week or year there are peaks and valleys in a restaurant’s business. This historical data you’ve collected over the years only serves to strengthen your forecasting. Understanding standard business volumes brought on by factors such as weather or local events, gives operators an even closer prediction of what the business volume should look like for any given day and time. With this information at hand, you’ll stand a far greater chance of exceeding your customer’s expectations when you may have been surprised with a volume opportunity.

Henny Penny’s SmartHold holding cabinets allow restaurants to cook in larger batches and maintain temperatures and moisture levels for extended periods of time before serving.

Hold and hold well

Eventually, the unexpected rush does come, pushing your throughput to its limits. While delays are often unavoidable in these situations, food consistency should never be compromised. Fortunately, there is a piece of equipment that allows operators to maintain a production cycle that can absorb a certain percentage of traffic increase and mitigate delays on most products, while helping maintain a consistent product: the holding cabinet.

For a quality hold, humidity control is vital. Equipment that can create an appropriately humid or arid environment, day-in and day-out, will allow operators to serve the same high-quality foods on a consistent basis, accommodating spikes in traffic. This humidity-controlled environment — unlike a cabinet that provides dry heat only — provides for longer holding times without sacrificing food quality.

No matter what food it is, roasted meats, bone-in fried chicken or the starches and vegetables that accompany them, a quality hold can be designed specifically for each. At peak performance, an item can be held for hours, which makes the turn around on that particular item much less of a problem in the crowded bus scenario. In short, a quality hold gives operators a better chance to get out ahead of any impending increase in traffic without losing quality that is often associated with unexpected increases in business.

Looking to increase your hold times and prepare your operation for that next unexpected rush? Check out our SmartHold Holding Cabinets, as well as this video which illustrates some of the many features that make them an ideal option in any kitchen.

Nashville HEAT is a Menu Game Changer

Nashville hot chicken might be a recent concept or just starting to trend in your region, but make no mistake, the idea is anything but new.

This fiery, cayenne-spiced fried chicken dates back to the 1930s when the wife of Thornton Prince tried to get even with her husband for his philandering ways. While making his breakfast one morning she decided to teach him a lesson by cranking up the heat on his fried chicken. As it turned out, he loved it; his brothers loved it; and the customers of their newly inspired restaurant, Prince’s Hot Chicken, loved it.

While the meal has been in a mainstay in the Nashville area ever since, it has gained traction coast-to-coast ― positioning it as one of the trendiest fried food items in country. In response to the demand, we rolled out our own seasoning earlier this year, Nashville HEAT.

The addition of Nashville HEAT opens up new menu possibilities for just about any restaurant. Paired perfectly with our red or green label breading, there couldn’t be a simpler opportunity for a business to expand their product offerings. With the seasoning applied following the frying process, no changes to preparation processes are required. By simply adding an additional shaker to your equipment inventory and determining the level of heat you’d like to include in your new items, any business can get in on the hot chicken trend.

Shaking the seasoning directly onto fried food fresh out of the fryer allows the microscopic palm oil crystals to melt into the breading, which is the main difference between typical “spicy chicken” products that incorporate spices into the breading. The heat in hot chicken isn’t dependent on interior heat, but rather is completely dependent on amount of spice you include in the paste ― giving restaurants an easy way to differentiate their product from other businesses. Nashville HEAT can be added seamlessly to your current ingredients, frying temperature, frying length, preferred cut or any of the other variables that set your standard fried chicken apart from your competitors. The only recommendation for the products is to allow your chicken to sit warming in a holding cabinet for 10 to 15 minutes after Nashville HEAT has been applied.

For those looking to spice up some other menu items, Nashville HEAT isn’t chicken-specific. It can be used on anything from pork cutlets to fries. It’s a complimentary seasoning for just about any item on your menu.

Interested in expanding your offerings and jumping on the Nashville hot trend? Contact your nearest Henny Penny distributor, which you can find here.

A Mid-Year Snapshot: The 2017 Foodservice Industry

And just like that we are halfway through 2017. And foodservice numbers are still strong. This year’s news headlines coupled with some of the overarching industry statistics have given us a good picture of where the industry is headed in 2017. To help us take a look back at a few of the things learned in these first six months, we have broken down some of the major challenges and opportunities of 2017 into three categories: By the Numbers, Technology and Consumer trends.

This week, we’ll tackle some of the industry’s trending data and give a basic understanding of the industry’s current economic state. Next week we will dive into both the technological and consumer trends of 2017 thus far.

By the Numbers

2017’s gradual economic improvement has helped the restaurant industry and will continue that trend through year end. The National Restaurant Association currently projects industry sales to reach $798.7 billion in 2017, which would represent a 1.7 percent gain over 2016. Table service restaurants remain the industry’s largest segment of growth and are projected to reach $263 billion in 2017, with quick service and fast casual sales following with a projected combined total of $233.7 billion. If these projections are to hold true, 2017 would represent the eighth consecutive year of sales gains for the industry as a whole.

Drilling down a little, mainstream fast casual chicken continues to drive the greatest percentage of growth, albeit with a projection for 2017 (16.5%) that is slightly less than its sales growth of 2016 (16.7%). In a recent report on the Top 10 fastest-growing chains by Nation’s Restaurant News, four of the Top 10 are chicken chains. These four chicken chains eclipsed brands in the Top 10 from other segments, including pizza, casual dining, limited service/sandwich, beverage-snack and limited service/specialty. In 2017, chicken is still king. The chart below compares the major fast casual segments between last year and the projections for this year.

An outstanding trend (as reported by Technomic’s Top 500 Report) that has continued into 2017 has been the growth of sales in the “specialty” segment, where sales have grown 9.6 percent in the past 12 months. The top specialties from this segment include “health focused,” barbecue and Mediterranean concepts. With most specialty brands showing solid growth, we have seen a new group of brands from this segment jump into Technomic’s Top 500 for 2017 including Mission BBQ, Snap Kitchen, Urban Plates, Modern Market and Salata. These up and comers are addressing variety and authenticity demands driven by adventurous millennials with unique palates and experiential demands.

Another theme that has been identified for 2017: foodservice lines continue to blur. Primary drivers continue to be supermarkets and with a definite uptick gained from their evolving approach, the C-store segment. Convenience store menu items are on the rise in both sheer number, but also in variety. They aren’t just hot dogs and doughnuts anymore. In-store experience is much more geared to providing ‘healthier’ and more complete options. With over 154,000 locations in the U.S. alone at the beginning of 2017 (FoodDIVE, Feb. 6, 2017) they simply cannot be ignored as a legitimate food outlet.

Supermarkets continue to fight for share of the stomach as well. Given their core audience is in the market for food anyways, the idea they can be a destination to order, sit down and enjoy a meal before/after/while shopping is gaining a lot of momentum. By moving past prepared and takeaway options, we see that many regional and few national chains of supermarkets are hitting their stride with this truer dining format. An example of an established ‘grocerant’ is Whole Foods Market. In certain locations, they offer a hot and cold food bar filled with fresh, unique, healthy options that you can choose to take home or eat-in store. According to USA Today, the ‘grocerant’ segment generated 2.4 billion visits and $10 billion in sales in 2016 by promoting restaurant-quality freshly prepared foods.

While it is easy to point out how the industry is changing, it becomes a little more difficult to answer the question of WHY it is changing the way it is. Millennials are unquestionably shaping the state of today’s foodservice industry. These statistics from Convenience Store Decision’s article on Five Food Trends Driven by Millennials explain very simply some of the trends that we will explore more deeply in part two of this mid-year report:

  • 48% of millennials say they prefer eating meals on-the-go
  • 44% say convenience is more important than cuisine
  • 68% prefer locally sourced ingredients
  • 66% are willing to pay more for food that comes from local producers
  • 67% say they love ordering healthy options at a restaurant
  • 63% say they love restaurants that offer “over-the-top” menu items

If you are experiencing these trends first hand in your day-to-day dining, look no further than the millennial demographic. In April 2016 a population estimate released by the U.S. Census Bureau confirmed that Millennials had overtaken baby-boomers as the U.S.’s largest generation. The number of Millennials being 75.4 million and Baby Boomers being 74.9 million.

Beyond assessing the restaurant industry based on sales and demographic demand, we can also evaluate growth based on the industry’s workforce. In 2017, restaurants will remain the nation’s second largest private sector employer, providing jobs for about one in every 10 working Americans. The total number of jobs across the industry is projected to rise to 14.7 million over the course of this year.

Based on the numbers, the foodservice industry continues to show promise and coupled with an improving economy its hopeful that we should see these numbers continue to rise into the next decade. However, without getting too far ahead of ourselves its best to focus on today and on how we here at Henny Penny can continue to manufacture quality products that can contribute to a flourishing industry.

Next week we will continue with our look at 2017 thus far with a rundown of the year’s stand out trends in technology and consumer behavior. Be sure not to miss it by subscribing to Our Take and receive an email alert when we post Part 2 of our mid-year review.

Constantly Changing Menu Items? Consider a Combi Oven.

In Part 1 of an interview with Henny Penny Product Manager Dann Woellert, we discussed the basics of combi oven ownership and why they’re growing in popularity. We’re continuing the conversation and dive deeper into how combi ovens can support kitchen operators who are challenged with delivering a strong customer experience amongst ever changing menus. By utilizing a number of cooking methods, several of which can be used while cooking a variety of foods at the same time, combi ovens are increasing kitchen efficiency, customer experience and cost savings.

Is there a particular type of menu item that cooks best in a combi?
One of the biggest benefits of a combi is the wide variety of products that it can cook effectively. It allows proteins to cook faster and with more moisture, allowing the food to maintain its moistness. It lets operators cook baked goods in a moist environment. It also can also cook different foods in the same chamber, at the same time, without flavor transfer between items.  It is a product truly rooted in versatility, waste reduction and quality all in one footprint.

What are restaurants most often using combis for?
The flexibility of the combi makes it beneficial for the cooking of a variety of menu items at a variety of different types of restaurants. Fine dining to QSR can benefit from combi effectiveness. QSR restaurants for example, see the value in using combis to cook large amounts of one protein like bacon, which has large product variability, but requires consistent quality in a fast paced environment.

Are restaurants adjusting their menus to accommodate the benefits of a combi?
A key benefit of the combi is that it can help a restaurant expand their menu. A large number and variety of recipes can be stored and utilized in a combi. An operator can store seasonal recipes that are only used for a limited time, and then retrieve them again when needed.

In what areas does a combi lead to cost savings?

  • Reduced food waste as a result of more consistently cooked product
  • Higher yield on proteins due to less shrinkage
  • Shorter cook times, resulting in energy savings
  • Higher productivity
  • More energy efficient than convection ovens
  • Ease of use/labor re-distribution

Is there a lot of training associated with combis?
It doesn’t require a great deal of training to learn how to use a combi. An operator only needs to know the basics of what products lend themselves to each of the three cooking modes —steaming, convection and combi cooking. Most of the training on the actual equipment is centered on developing and programming recipes into the combi. Once these recipes are established, it is easy as selecting a product photo and hitting ‘go’.

Combi ovens have been a staple in the foodservice industry globally for decades. In the U.S., adoption has primarily been by commercial outlets (hotels, hospitals, catering) and retail. However, changes in available sizes (i.e. Henny Penny’s SpaceSaver model) and hood technology (units with integrated hoods) have removed some of the objections that are expressed in regards to adopting a combi. With combi use on the rise, it’s certainly the right time to learn more about this technology and how you can integrate it into your back-of-house operations and reap the benefits of this proven technology.

For more information on combi ovens and to see Henny Penny’s complete combi line up, visit www.hennypenny.com/products/roasting/combi-ovens or watch Chef Ben’s Top 3 Reason’s to Own a Combi.

Is your equipment manufacturer committing to YOUR business’ success?

Your business’ success is so reliant on the choices you make as you begin setting up your restaurant.  The right personnel.  The right food supplier.  The right marketing plan.  The right equipment.  And many of the equipment purchases you make need consideration beyond the product itself.  Asking your potential partners about things like warranty, service network, customer service, training, install and beyond is incredibly important.  Not understanding some of these keys value adds can be the beginning of trouble if you don’t understand what to expect.

To convey some of the differences our customers experience when working with Henny Penny we’ve engaged with our Vice President of Strategic Sales, Ryan Kutter and our Director of Technical Service, Todd Hennigan to talk about some of the frequently asked questions they get and how in these situations the Henny Penny difference can be a game changer.

Technical Support
Todd Hennigan

If something happens to my equipment, am I going to be easily able to get in touch with my manufacturer?  What happens if I experience any problems once the sale is complete?

We are truly passionate about customer service.  We have worked hard over the years to separate ourselves from the pack here. We offer a free 800 service number (domestic only) that can get you to a real person to talk to, 24/7. That’s unique.  We prioritize our calls to service current customers first.  The average hold time is less than two minutes, and even better, we have a 35 percent solve rate over the phone allowing you to avoid a service call.

If we do need to send a service technician out to you, the technician will be there within 24 hours and more than 85 percent of the time your equipment will be fixed on the first visit. Customers can also expect a follow-up call to make sure everything is still running smoothly.

 What pro-active things can be done to maintain my investment?

Annual planned maintenance will not only reduce the overall total cost of ownership of your purchase but also minimize the cost impact of unplanned equipment breakdowns. Henny Penny can work with you to develop an annual inspection plan that can include service checklist to inspect all electrical cords and O-rings (when applicable), as well as clean certain areas of the machinery.

Is the manufacturer willing to train my in house staff on equipment maintenance and repairs?  How does my team become proficient at using your equipment?

Henny Penny will not only provide a two-hour startup and operational employee training session with your equipment, but also offers training classes, free of charge,  throughout the year so your business can send  in-house equipment service employees to learn everything they can about your Henny Penny equipment.  This is invaluable as you build internal expertise which can further eliminate costs after the new equipment warranty period has ended.

If being onsite doesn’t work, Henny Penny offers a robust series of training videos that are available to our partners online, which is a great tool for people who want to learn, find manuals or watch detailed (but short) videos on their products.

Talk to us about parts….

As with any manufacturer’s equipment it’s always a best practice to use OEM parts.   Our distributor and service network supports our global customers by ensuring appropriate stock is on-site, in fact our network can resolve an issue the first time over 85 percent of the time, that means they have the know how and the needed parts!

Account services support
Ryan Kutter

I’m a small business; can I expect any attention after my purchase?

Absolutely.  We truly value every partner.  Whether you are big or small, we work hard to make sure you have what you need to be successful using our equipment.   Our mantra throughout the organization is, “do the right thing.” Our distributor network, many of whom have been with us since the beginning of our company, subscribe to this philosophy too. Our goal is to make sure that no matter what you buy from us, when you are ready to invest in more equipment, you don’t consider looking anywhere else for the value you received.

Why does the price of the competition seem too good to be true? 

There is no doubt you can find cheaper equipment on the market.  After years of working with customers who have chosen that route and come to us to solve problems that either weren’t solved or exacerbated by the “cheaper” choice, there is most likely a reason it is less expensive.  You have to look at the whole package, including durability, reliability, quality of the materials, and post-purchase support.

Does Henny Penny stay in touch with me after the sale?

Henny Penny keeps in touch with its national clients with a phone call immediately after the startup of the product and periodically throughout the relationship. Smaller, general market customers can expect the same of our distributors.  We like to make sure you are happy with the product, training, and make sure you are comfortable with your new equipment.  At some point in the life of a Henny Penny product our customers will have questions or require service.  We pride ourselves on being there.  For 60 years Henny Penny has been building strong relationships, many have lasted for more than 40 years.  We work hard to innovate and engineer products that last and to deliver on a promise to help our customers deliver on their brand promise.  We focus on that every day.

Still have more questions about your Henny Penny post-purchase benefits? Visit our distributor/service locator tool to find and contact your local distributor.

Improve your guest experience with consistent food quality

The dining experience that creates a loyal customer, one that chooses your restaurant when discretionary dollars are being spent, is based largely on the ability to ensure that they are not disappointed by the consistency of the food quality.

While it’s important that you perform all the basic ‘blocking and tackling’ that create a great overall dining experience like great tasting food with excellent service, it is every bit as important that your game plan is executed consistently.  What is delicious on Tuesday night should be just as delicious on Saturday night. Furthermore, consistency doesn’t just go a long way with your guests,

but your crew will appreciate it and your wallet will thank you for it.

As a business, falling short of providing that consistent experience can be easy to do, even despite having a seasoned and well-versed chef. Weekends provide larger crowds, which produce stress on labor and preparation. Stress can lead to mistakes or cut corners, which can lead to inconsistency in flavor, texture, even timing.

Since the number of guests is not under your control, the first step to improvement is to lessen the stress on your staff. In any trade, the right tools can be used not to replace a laborer, but to assist them. The kitchen is no different. Having the right equipment can allow your staff to put their focus where it needs to be.

A Henny Penny FlexFusion combi oven for example, allows you to cook foods at low-temperatures over many hours, even days, and still maintain the utmost levels of moisture and tenderness. Whether you are roasting overnight or doing light sous vide production, your staff should be focusing on items that need to be prepared in the moment, not on items that could have been started yesterday. Not only are today’s combi ovens a time saver for your staff, but they cook with greater accuracy and consistency than traditional ovens. Ovens today have the ability to save and store programs as well as deliver messages in the moment. These processes go to the heart of consistency, creating the right environment for an item that can be duplicated every time.

Open fryers such as Henny Penny’s Evolution Elite series are no different. The programmability in these machines makes operation simple, efficient and consistent. Once you add in the built-in filtration, you have oil that lasts twice as long. And with oil quality being one of the main factors of consistency when it comes to a fryer, you’ll want to be sure you’re producing the same product with the same color and flavor every time. Perfecting your oil filtration and usage will also mean long term cost savings.

Henny Penny's SmartHold holding cabinets allow restaurants to cook in larger batches and maintain temperatures and moisture levels for extended periods of time before serving.

Henny Penny’s SmartHold holding cabinets allow restaurants to cook in larger batches while maintaining perfect temperatures and moisture levels for extended periods of time before serving.

Pairing your fryer with the versatility of a SmartHold holding cabinet, you’re now able to offer dishes that take longer to cook, such as fried chicken, and serve them quicker. The holding cabinet allows you to cook in batches and hold food at perfect temperatures and moisture levels, again allowing staff to place their focus elsewhere.  Proper utilization of a holding cabinet means not having to worry about that food until the moment it’s needed, increasing service speed and customer satisfaction.

With just these three pieces of equipment, you’ve made it easy to prepare food, freed up your staff and delighted you return customers with a consistent meal that has been cooked identically to their previous visit. Of course purchasing new equipment won’t be the source of success by itself. Execution trumps implementation, and in order to properly execute, a chef or restaurateur must first have a plan in place to properly manage around peak hours and slow hours, to eliminate food overages and shortages and to properly motivate and get the most out of their staff. Manufacture consistency in these areas and the rest will follow suit.

You pleased your guests the first time, that’s why they’ve come back. Make sure you’re doing what it takes to validate their faith in your restaurant, your process, and your food.

To hear more on this topic, be sure to take advantage of our archived webinar, Quality to Table: Creating Repeat Customers, with guest speaker and Corporate Executive Chef, Benjamin Leingang. To register and view the webinar for free click HERE. For more ways to improve your guests’ experience, be sure to subscribe to Henny Penny’s Our Take blog HERE. More information on the products mentioned in this article can be found at www.hennypenny.com/products.