Category Archives: Leadership

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.

How Better Training Makes a Better Product

You probably don’t think too much about the equipment in your kitchen until you’re faced with maintenance.

Fortunately, there is a way to prepare for the unexpected.  One of the best ways to create a first line of defense is to have reliable, trained service technicians.  Whether they are third party or in-house, fielding a team of techs who are expertly trained can help your business thrive.

But how can you be sure that you’re using a capable technician that can keep your equipment running smoothly and properly maintained?  First, consider your equipment brand. If a brand is truly invested in their product and customers, they will offer equipment service training and support those that support your equipment. And even though most companies in the consumer foodservice space do offer some form of training; not all training is created equal.

A major part of the Henny Penny culture revolves around the total customer experience.  By providing training options on site at our headquarters in Eaton, OH, as well as offering a complement of training modules online, we build a better customer experience through the creation of experienced service technicians around the world.

For a small business, training an in-house technician shouldn’t have to be a financial burden. It should be an affordable, worthwhile investment. Which is why we’ve made it just that. We offer online, one-day, and two- to three-day training courses for any service technician or end user — completely free. You’d be hard pressed to find this with another brand. For our distributor network, we also offer four to five-day courses.

An essential part of the Henny Penny experience is convenience, and we’ve worked that into who we train. Have a local technician that would be convenient for your business? Following the warranty period on your equipment, we will train your technician of choice at our 46,000 square-foot training center. They — like any distributor or service tech end user that we train — will receive the same high standard of training we offer to anyone.

Finally, and most importantly, you can be sure that your technicians are receiving the level of training needed to make them as proficient as possible. This includes hands-on training sessions, which makes up 60 percent of the learning, as well as access to our state-of-the-art kitchen. We offer an improved learning experience by including technology such as in-class cameras. These cameras allow our students to get the best view of what our instructors are working on, making the learning experience more visual and demonstrative.

Since we know you invest a lot into your business, we do our very best to make sure you get the most out of your Henny Penny partnership. Between the value and quality of the training offered to our customers, it’s really no surprise that the Henny Penny training experience goes above and beyond what you might find from other brands.

Interested in learning more about the service training options available through Henny Penny? Call 1-800-417-8405 or email

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 or watch Chef Ben’s Top 3 Reason’s to Own a Combi.

What to expect from Henny Penny at the 2017 NRA Show

NRA 2017 marks a special milestone for Henny Penny, as we celebrate our 60th anniversary.  Our success is rooted in innovation and customer experience, and if you attend the show this year, you’ll find we continue offering innovative solutions to provide users quality performance while lowering operating costs.

Visitors to our booth will see our ongoing focus on oil management.  Here’s a peek of what visitors will experience at Booth #4241 (for more information on the products listed below, click on the provided links):

Oil Quality Measuring System: An integrated oil management device that doesn’t rely on sight, smell and smoke to identify declining oil quality. Our new OQMS is a built-in fryer feature that eliminates the need for any manual or subjective oil quality testing. OQMS allows you to know the exact quality of your oil every time you filter, without additional work or time for your staff.

Prime Filter Powder: Henny Penny Prime Filter Powder helps operators double the life of their oil. This powder can either be added to the vat or to the filter media and removes unwanted particulates during the filtering process, keeping your oil cleaner, effectively increasing the life of your oil.

Evolution Elite: Our flagship open fryer requires 40% less oil, automatic top off and 4-minute filtering to save costs, increase efficiency, and drive consistency.

During our 60th anniversary, we’re celebrating the story of the Henny Penny brand, a success based on our long-term trusted partnerships and the experiences we provide our customers.

Interested in learning how Henny Penny excels at long term, trusted partnerships? Be sure to swing by Booth #4241,South Hall.

We’re looking forward to seeing you there!

How your kitchen equipment can drive your labor efficiency

Cartoons of the past always portrayed the future as the epitome of efficiency. The Jetsons, for example, were always the king of automation with their robot maids, conveyor belts and in home food vending machines. And though we’re all still waiting for flying cars that fold into briefcases, the main theme throughout all those distant, futuristic settings was the increase in efficiency.  In today’s fast paced lifestyle and in just about any industry, efficiency is the main goal. The food industry is no exception.

Restaurants have a perpetually growing need to improve efficiency, but often times don’t know where to begin. Before looking at the labor force or the businesses operations, it might be better to start with a close look at your equipment and consider just how much that 10, 15 or 20 year old fryer, or the absence of a combi oven might be holding the restaurant back.

Current equipment may still produce great food, but its aging operational and technical features may be costing you in the long run, specifically in two areas; labor training and labor efficiency.

In years past, training your new teammate could mean tens of hours on the clock, learning how to use equipment by watching videos on DVD, studying manuals or by shadowing experienced employees.  Most of the “real” education however, came from trial and error.  This form of training unfortunately can add to your costs in the form of waste, customer frustration, cleaning mistakes and a general ding to productivity. Over the last several years, many manufacturers, including Henny Penny, have focused on simplifying operations and cleaning, resulting in easier and faster training. For Henny Penny specifically, great examples of these training and efficiency improvements can be seen in our Evolution Elite fryer and FlexFusion combi oven platforms.

For both of these products (one with a digital display, the other with color touchscreen), the focus has been placed on how people really use their equipment. Where do they hesitate, where do they get confused?  Henny Penny works hard to learn and understand the operational requirements of its customers and the habits of their teammates.  We understand how important it is too lead the user to the next step, eliminating guessing and improving confidence, which ultimately improves efficiency and production.

The FlexFusion combi oven’s touchscreen and memory contains the option of uploading your own videos to show exactly the steps of a recipe going into the oven. Additionally, it can self-diagnose or provide tips to help people understand this uber-flexible kitchen must-have.  The Evolution Elite accomplishes the same training and usage improvements with set questions that lead the user to a successful completion of their task, whether that be filtering or initiating a cook cycle.

While we are still a few years away from equipment that operates without human interaction, it is essential that equipment manufacturers do what they can to help your business.  That means freeing up your most valuable resource, your staff, to do outward/customer facing activities that help your business deliver your brand experience.

At the end of the day, it is critical for a restaurants staff to be trained and be comfortable with the equipment they are tasked to use to help the team continue to deliver the consistent, delicious food their loyal customers come to expect.

To learn more about Henny Penny’s labor, cost and time efficient equipment, be sure to visit our product page. Also, don’t be shy about checking out our YouTube page, HennyPennyTV, to see real customer’s takes on Henny Penny’s ability to put the focus on its customers’ needs.

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.

Driving change and creating excellence

Translating vision into reality. That’s how someone once defined leadership, and I believe this phrase includes a strong definition of innovation as well.

Innovation and leadership. Two things I’m passionate about. Two things that Henny Penny takes seriously.

Our commitment to innovation is easily seen in the products and services on this website and in our company’s history. From creating the first commercial pressure fryer in 1957 to the introduction of the Evolution Elite open fryer, we continue to put innovation at the forefront, and we aren’t resting on that achievement. You can expect Henny Penny to lead through innovation as we roll out new products and services.

But here, in this blog, I’ll be talking about more than innovation at Henny Penny. I’ll be talking about it as a way of life in business, and how important it is to let the drive to innovate seep into every facet of your organization.

Leadership is much harder to see but no less important. Without it, Henny Penny – and any organization – cannot maintain success. I’m personally invested in developing leaders here at Henny Penny and in the community, local and global. Helping people develop and grow, in business and in life, reaps rewards that aren’t just about the bottom line.

Starting in January, you’ll be seeing regular blog entries from me, as well as other Henny Penny employees (and perhaps some special guests!). I’m excited about the tools and information available to you here. And I’m just as excited about sharing what I’ve learned on my own journey about driving for change and making excellence part of daily life.