Category Archives: Leadership

What You Can Expect On Installation Day

A much anticipated day – installation day. You have invested your time, energy and have weighed all of the options to make sure your new equipment is the right investment for your restaurant. You are confident the new equipment will maintain your brand’s high standard of quality food and have even built excitement amongst your team when talking about the efficiency and ease-of-use.

What you might not have thought about are the details and logistics for the day your new piece of equipment arrives. Not sure how to prepare your kitchen for its newest addition or just how long the installation process will take? Here are the answers to some of our most frequently asked installation day questions.

Who will be my point of contact?

For every installation, your Henny Penny distributor will appoint a project manager who will reach out to the business owner/operator, GM, contractor or who ever will be overseeing the install. Typically, the first contact will be made to schedule a site visit to inspect utilities, take measurements and communicate with the business’s point of contact the step-by-step details of the installation process. The project manager will also contact any plumbers and/or electricians that are involved to makes sure they have the information needed to execute their jobs successfully. Once an installation date has been scheduled, the project manager will stay in touch with all of the involved parties several days ahead of time and then again the day prior to installation, to avoid any last minute surprises.

Who will be showing up to perform the installation?

Two or three representatives from the Henny Penny distributor that covers your area will accompany your new equipment. Should your business need any electrical or plumbing work prior to install, as the Operator you will be responsible for coordinating those services and scheduling the work prior to installation of the new equipment.

What can I do best prepare my business for delivery and installation?

If you’re receiving new equipment, there’s probably a good chance you’re getting rid of old equipment. If you’ll be receiving a new fryer, you’ll want to be sure that any oil has been discarded from the old fryer. If you have not arranged for the old fryer to be removed by your distributor, you will still need to remove or relocate the old or existing unit prior to installation.

You can also help ensure a smooth delivery by making sure all aisle ways are clear and free from any obstacles. If possible, you should also move any other equipment that might be in way of the delivery team during installation. The more space available to work in, the quicker and smoother the installation will go.

Who from my team should I have around when our new equipment is installed?

Following the installation of your new equipment, the installers will give an on-site training session to go through equipment start up and operation. You will want to have any employees who will need to be familiar with the operation of the new equipment, either to operate or to train others available during the training.

How will installation affect my business that day?

Most installations will occur between 5 a.m. and 5 p.m., however, the Henny Penny Distributor will work with you to ensure installation happens during non-peak hours. The overall time of the installation can vary from location to location, but you can typically expect two installers to have your new equipment in place and running in about one hour, plus additional training time which may vary depending on the equipment.

Do I need to keep anything in mind or watch for anything after my equipment is installed?

Following installation, we walk away confident that your new equipment will be running perfectly. However, if you should have any questions or concerns about the equipment or the installation process, we encourage you to call our Technical Hotline at 1-800-417-8405.

For more technical information on any of our equipment, or for answers to more frequently asked equipment questions, visit our CUSTOMER SUPPORT page.

How the Top QSR Chains Decrease Turnover

Retaining talent is vital to the success of just about any business. However, in some industries like foodservice, this is much easier said than done. According to an article by AZ Central, employee turnover rates in the fast food industry are commonly as high as 150 percent. If a business can retain employees at a higher rate than what is typical for the industry, it stands a far greater chance of success in the market.

Case in point: Chick-fil-A (CFA)

The Atlanta-based company has been the number one chain in sales per unit volume for the last several years. There are a number of reasons that contributed to this, but one certainly not to overlook is their 55 percent turnover rate. We spoke with Mike Walpole, CFA’s international supply chain director, to get a better understanding of what principles the QSR chain holds closely to retain talent so well.

According to Walpole, the process begins with recognizing the reasons for retaining talent, which go well beyond the inevitable incurred costs of hiring and training new employees. Atop this list are food safety, producing consistent quality and leadership development.

Upon understanding why talent retention is so important, you can then go about implementing a strategy for minimizing turnover, which will address why team members are leaving. Typically, this is because:

  • They find the environment of their current situation unsuitable or unsafe.
  • They find a better opportunity.
  • They find their current role too stressful.

To overcome these challenges, CFA focuses on four areas of their own business.

Environment: By creating the best environment for people to work, you increase your opportunity for retention. This means creating a clean work place, a place that feels safe to employees, and a place that is friendly and supportive. CFA focuses on treating their team members like valuable contributors and creating an environment where team members feel like they are working with good people.

Empowerment: Every team member wants to succeed. “Success” may look different to everyone — maybe it’s becoming employee of the month; maybe it’s holding a job for six months or maybe it’s moving up the ladder of leadership one rung at a time. Regardless, encouraging your employees and empowering them with the tools and opportunities necessary to reach those goals doesn’t go unnoticed.

If an owner/operator can allow employees to make their own decisions, albeit with guard rails, and expect that they live up to the standards of the environment, more employees will feel they are succeeding and reaching their goals — because they are.

Cater to the Employee: Long gone are the days of training textbooks and VHS tapes. Sit a 17- or 18-year old down in front of a TV to watch a 45-minute on-boarding video and you’ve already begun to lose engagement. It’s important to consider how to make training effective for younger generations and embrace their needs. If they’re attached to their cell phones, then find a way to make training available to them there. Catering to particular learning styles will not only show that new hires are valued, but it will also result in better retention of the information — a win for the business.

Equip your Employee: Old, dysfunctional equipment leads to stressed, angry employees and eventually, employees who are just so fed up with nothing working that they move on. Investing in premium equipment can play a huge role in making the lives of your team members easier.  High-quality equipment will allow your team to work more efficiently, which again only benefits the business as a whole. If an employee can recognize the ease of their job against comparable alternative positions, they’ll recognize their current opportunity as the best available.

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These are not novel, or all together unique strategies for retaining talent, but when you consider the success that CFA has had relative to their industry peers, its obvious that these tactics work when they are made a priority. We’re honored that CFA recognizes our premium equipment as a contributor to their low turnover. To find out how our equipment can add simplicity to your operation and help you retain your valued talent, visit our complete lineup at https://www.hennypenny.com/products/.

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.

Taking Equipment Training Back to Basics

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

It’s clear Benjamin Franklin knew the importance of great training as well as how to make it stick. The sentiment of this quote holds up today, even when it comes to training equipment operators in a restaurant setting. Proper equipment training is critical to food quality and consistency, which ultimately results in customer satisfaction and loyalty. Plus, good training can also lead to greater staff efficiency and job satisfaction, both of which contribute to lower turnover.

Many managers make great trainers, but even the best can sometimes use a refresher course on training basics — just to ensure the most important operational practices are consistently being taught, observed and practiced. For this reason, we spoke with our own Pete Krause, global technical training manager

When it comes to equipment training, what’s your primary focus as a manufacturer?
We want to be sure we’re offering the best basic equipment training that’s available.  As a manufacturer, it’s up to us to help ensure every one of our purchasers have at least one or two people that understand the proper operation and maintenance of the equipment.

Are there any areas of equipment training that operators tend to not spend enough time on?
I think operators could spend more time on explaining why daily operations are so important to understand and practice consistently and correctly. For example, in the case of a fryer, it is impossible to overstate the importance of making sure things like the daily filter and clean out procedure are completed on a regular basis. The importance of basics — cleaning behind the equipment and wiping down the exterior of the unit — are sometimes not stressed enough during training. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to reinforce the simple, but critical points.

What are the best practices for testing to make sure workers have learned all the crucial elements that training has taught?
Right after showing a team member how to perform a procedure, let that trainee get hands on and practice it until they get it right. For things that don’t involve a hands-on procedure — something like going over a series of steps to shut down the equipment at the end of the day — have the team member repeat the end-of-day shutdown procedure back to you to make sure they have it right.  Also, memory fades over time, so it’s best to make sure the team member knows where to find a written copy of those procedures, general maintenance checklists and other operational documents.

What are some options to help speed up training so that more time can be focused on actual business needs?
Intuitive equipment is a great option. For example, touchscreen controls on equipment can greatly speed up learning so that a new employee can quickly get to an operational skill level. With older models of equipment, it’s possible that team members will only have certain degrees of training. This could be a problem in a situation where a new assistant manager is closing the store but the experienced team member responsible for taking care of the end-of-day operations for the fry station is out sick. Without a touch screen, the new assistant manager may be in a world of trouble. Instead, equipment with simple and intuitive touch-screen controls can easily guide him or her through a tutorial for team members who have never performed tasks like cleaning and re-assembling the drain pan or learned how to perform a daily filter.

How can operators maintain a continued focus on training?
Encourage and incentivize team members to cross train and learn every position in the kitchen.  I worked in the back of the house at a restaurant that had a similar system. We had to memorize the menu items, learn how to operate the equipment, learn how to break the station down at the end of the night and pass a short test before we could get scheduled for shifts at a new station. We were incentivized both with recognition and compensation if we knew every kitchen station. The more team members who know all the equipment in the kitchen, the more knowledge that stays with the team as team members turn over.

If the team member learned the information properly, then some of the best ways to get proper training practices to stick is to have that team member train others. If he or she can explain it to someone else then it has a better chance of becoming universal knowledge.

Is there a specific person or position within the business that should be training new team members? Should training always come from a direct supervisor or should it come from the highest possible leadership?
Effective training can come from all levels of an organization. The best trainers are often the ones who have done the job, know how to motivate others and have an upbeat personality.

Interested in learning more on how the simplicity and power of touch screen-enabled equipment can cut training time by as much as half? Check out our newest innovation in frying, the F5 open fryer with a kitchen-proof touch-screen at www.hpf5.com and be sure to take a look at our F5 related Staff Training E-Book.

Why the F5? How about speed, efficiency and hard savings?

We changed the frying game back in 2008 with our Evolution Elite. This 30-lb. open fryer focused on producing quality food while improving operations and saving time and money. The overwhelming success of that first 30-lb. platform had us wondering — where do we go from here?

The answer?  The F5.

More than just a fryer with a touch screen, the F5 is a thoughtful and finely tuned frying platform that will provide game-changing value for frying operators who want to challenge the status quo. The F5 is an intuitive, easy-to-use, easy to train on fryer that helps operators successfully produce quality products, expedite operations and save money.

Let’s start with the latter — savings. The oil management technology that accompanies the F5’s 30-lb. vat, translates to a 40 percent savings on oil costs at fill compared the costs of a traditional 50-lb. vat — all while maintaining throughput. The F5 is also effective in extending oil life. In high volume applications oil has lasted up to 21 days, meaning your seasoned oil will spend more time in the optimum “sweet spot”. Having that extended sweet spot means you’ll be able to turn out exceptionally tasty food more consistently over extended periods of time.

The fast and simple filtering process leads to even more savings opportunities, by producing clean oil that is up to temperature in three minutes — a filter speed 25 percent faster than any other fryer available today. Less time filtering means more time frying and making money.

With F5’s low oil volume platform, operators can expect to see annual oil savings of between $3,000 and $5,000. This is even before incorporating the savings that can be derived from the simplicity of operation and maintenance:

In addition to saving money, there is the aspect of saving time and expediting operations. To cut down on the attention our equipment requires from operators, we made the F5 simple — really simple. Easy to operate, easy to train on and easy to maintain, our newest innovation is the definition of simplicity. Controls that are icon and picture-based help guide users through regular cooking operations, maintenance procedures, how-to guides and training programs. The F5 is easy for anyone to operate. Tasks are completed quicker than ever, and time spent on training is greatly reduced.

For more information on how the fast and efficient F5 can help operators save on oil, labor and time, download the complete ROI guide, or visit www.hpf5.com.

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.

5 Must-have Attributes You Need From A Distributor Partner

Investing in new equipment can be a daunting task for any restaurant operator. Weighing all the factors — such as price, quality, and overall value — can be tricky. And not only that, but deciding where to purchase equipment brings a new set of considerations, such as delivery, installation/start-up, training support and ongoing service. The impact a distributor can have on the overall purchasing process makes picking the right one equally as important as selecting the right equipment.

But how do you know you’re partnering with the right distributor to help you and your business? There are several signs that your equipment provider is a good one — here are five traits we see with successful distributors in our network.

  1. Has an excellent reputation and is often recommended
    The best and perhaps easiest way to find a top-notch distributor is by following the advice of your peers. A distributor that receives consistent praise from buyers has earned their excellent reputation.Assessing the distributor’s partnerships may tell you a little about them and how they manage their business. Longstanding partnerships with manufacturers are a sign of a business that places a high priority on professionalism, dependability and performance.
  1. Consistently exceeds your expectations
    No business has time to wait around for under-performing partners. They can slow your operations down and interfere with your businesses growth. A worthy distributor should follow through on their commitments and act as a member of your team. They should be more than a Do they check-in to ensure your satisfaction?Do they communicate information you might find interesting? Do they alert you to new opportunities with products or supplies? A distributor that views themselves as a partner will.
  2. Is an industry expert and ongoing resource
    It’s worth a buyer’s time to research whether their distributor is the real deal. Partnering with a true industry expert means that you’ll receive guidance and relevant insights from a knowledgeable source. A good distributor can act as a back of house consultant.They have seen it all and know what will help you achieve your goals and identify potential challenges.  In addition to hands-on experience, a great distributor will participate in dealer shows and industry related events expanding their knowledge for your benefit.
  1. Has the equipment and service level you need
    A truly dedicated distributor will have the desire and the resources to address any customer service issues. Operators should be cautious of resellers whose commitment to their customers ends following the sale. Do they invest in training their service team?  Do they carry parts?  How do they respond to crisis? The value of a distributor is their commitment to their clients months and years after the purchase of your equipment.
  1. Puts the needs and wants of the customer first
    Find a distributor that makes the purchasing experience custom to you. No sale should have a one-size-fits-all A distributor with good communication skills and fair practices will be able to adapt to your needs and provide you with solutions that help drive your business.

Looking for an equipment distributor that will provide you with not only quality equipment, but ongoing support and customer service? Check out our list of exclusive distributors and contact one in your region today.

Kick Off Your Spring Cleaning With This Annual Fryer Maintenance Check List

Our maintenance checklist is meant to help pressure and open fryer operators get back on course for proper upkeep — not just for this spring but throughout the year. Following these important steps will not only go a long way in helping protect your investment, but also help ensure that your fryers are producing a consistent and quality product.

4 Head Pressure Fryers

  • Monthly – Lubricate spindle threads and ball seat
  • Every 90 Days – Reverse lid gasket
  • Every 90 Days – Check limit stop adjustment
  • Every 90 Days – Check and tighten element spreaders
  • Once a year – Remove and clean safety relief valve

8 Head Pressure Fryers

  • Daily – Clean deadweight assembly cap, weight and deadweight orifice
  • Monthly – Check dilution box, clean as needed
  • Monthly – Clean the nylatrons
  • Every 90 Days – Reverse lid gasket
  • Annually – Clean blower wheel (for gas units)
  • Annually – Lubricate lid rollers in back of fryer
  • Annually – Remove and clean safety relief valve
  • Annually – Inspect lift cables

Low Oil Volume or Open Fryers

  • Weekly – Clean behind fryer
  • Quarterly – Change filter pan O-rings
  • Quarterly – Vat deep clean
  • Semi-Annually – Clean blower motors (for gas units)

Henny Penny PXE-100 Pressure Fryer

  • Weekly – Clean the ATO reservoir
  • Weekly – Clean the casters wheels
  • Monthly – Clean the lid gasket
  • Monthly – Clean the nylatron filler strips
  • Monthly – Clean the deadweight assembly
  • Quarterly – Replace O-rings

Need a little more guidance to get your Henny Penny equipment back in tip-top shape? We offer free 24-hour technical support on all our products. Visit our Technical Support page to learn more.

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.

How a Henny Penny Team Effort Provides a Unique Customer Experience

In an industry like equipment manufacturing, most manufacturers are focused on getting a piece of their equipment into your back-of-house as quickly as possible. Their equipment might fill a need of yours, such as adding frying capabilities or replacing a broken holding cabinet, but is it necessarily the right solution for your business as a whole? Is it even the right product? And if it is, what does your relationship with that manufacturer or distributor look like following the purchase?

At Henny Penny, we pride ourselves on a different approach—one that businesses new to Henny Penny experience long before any actual transaction takes place. Once engaged with a prospective customer, it becomes our goal to provide them with potential solutions for some of their greatest challenges. Typically this means creating improvements in food quality, operational efficiency ― or both. At the same time, our potential partners are looking for a manufacturer/distributor that can also provide a great purchasing and support experience.

As part of our efforts to help our potential partners find the right equipment, we’ll assess all sides of their business — from sales, marketing and product management to operational throughput and culinary style. This approach gives us a better understanding of how any decisions made in one area of their business will affect others.

After gaining a better understanding of your business’ needs, we then invite you to participate in an on-site visit and operational review. This phase allows your company to fully understand what Henny Penny brings to the table from a partnership perspective, while our team is able to gain further insight that will help us find the best ways to help you.

Following your commitment, Henny Penny is at your disposal. This means field testing with complimentary equipment, access to our training facilities, culinary expertise, tech support and a complete team to help make the best recommendations for your business as a whole. This is all available at the onset of our relationship, even when no equipment has even been purchased yet.

It’s the ongoing communication between our customers and us and our mutual commitment to each other that truly makes the relationship a partnership — not a seller and buyer exchange. At the end of the day, we believe our partners would agree that this is what sets Henny Penny apart.

For more information on what it’s like to partner with Henny Penny, check out additional detail here.