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Distributor Spotlight: PHT Systems

In this exclusive Q&A series, operators get the chance to get behind-the-scenes and investigate one of our many unique distributor partnerships.

At Henny Penny, we go to market differently than most equipment manufacturers. Through our network of distributor experts, we’re able to provide hands-on-support before, during, and after purchase and installation. Our distributors are in the field everyday solving customer challenges and demonstrating that cooking precision and consistency lead to both quality food and operational savings.

PHT Systems was founded in 1981 by Jim Rimarcik. Once an employee at Henny Penny, Mr. Rimarcik was granted the distribution rights for Minnesota and the Dakotas. In 2013, he was awarded the Southern California territory. Chris Reichert would go on to purchase PHT Systems in December of 2018 and expanded their service territory to Iowa in 2020.

Get to know PHT Systems:

What is your corporate vision and strategy?

Our vision at PHT Systems is to provide solutions to the foodservice industry in the territories we serve and be a leading distributor for the manufacturers we represent. To do that we maintain a customer focus and provide dedicated resources for sales, training, and service, delivering added value to the customer. We strive to diversify and grow, seeking new customers and market opportunities while furthering current customer relationships. We will enhance customer satisfaction and company performance through commitment to building partnerships that last.

How many employees does PHT Systems have?

We currently have 27 employees: 18 in Minnesota, 8 in California, and 1 in Iowa. Our numbers are down from a year ago and we are trying to hire 5-6 people for positions in Minnesota and California.

What did it mean to you to expand PHT Systems territory to Iowa?

I was very proud that Henny Penny chose PHT Systems as its distributor in the state of Iowa. I felt strongly that we could improve customer service and sales in the territory. That was January 2020 and then two months later Covid hit. Despite that challenge, we have been able to grow the business and strengthen relationships with improved training and service for our three biggest customers: HyVee, Fairway Supermarkets, and Pizza Ranch.

You have been growing a lot, how did you adapt to the foodservice industry so well?

Before PHT Systems, I had experience and an understanding of the product distribution model, which at its core is about relationships and providing additional value. I was also fortunate to have a very knowledgeable and experienced team at PHT, making my transition into the industry very comfortable. We have a large enough team at PHT that I can operate more like a conductor in an orchestra. I don’t need to know how to play all the instruments. My job is to lead the team and make sure that they are all playing the right notes together.

What foodservice sector is your focus on?

In our original Minnesota market, PHT Systems was built on sales to the retail grocery sector. We have very good long-term retail relationships in Minnesota. In contrast, quick service restaurants drive most of our sales in our California market, although we have also built good relationships with several large Hispanic retail grocery chains. In Iowa, we are fairly split between sales to the retail grocery and restaurant sectors.

What % of your business does Henny Penny represent?

Henny Penny represents over 85% of PHT Systems’ equipment sales.

Who are your key customers?

The Cub Foods retail grocery store chain is a key customer of ours in Minnesota. In California, we sell to Jollibee, Vallarta Supermarkets, and an exciting new customer is Dave’s Hot Chicken. In Iowa, we sell to HyVee Supermarket and Pizza Ranch. But we take the attitude that all our customers are “key customers” because the potential long-term revenue streams from supplies, service, and referrals are very important in our business.

What is your favorite HP product to sell and why?

One of our favorite pieces of equipment that we sell is the Henny Penny combi oven. It’s so versatile and useful in many different food service settings. We also really appreciate the effortless WaveClean cleaning system.

Aside from the pandemic, what is the biggest challenge for your business?

A big challenge for us is staffing. We’ve had multiple people retire and 5 others left for other positions or moved. We have open positions in sales, training, service, warehouse, and administration. We’ve had a particularly difficult time in Minnesota getting candidates to apply. Our business is up this year, but we have fewer people, which strains the system. However, we have a great team and they have stepped up to make sure we continue to offer our customers excellent customer service and technical support

What is your goal for the rest of the year, how will you move forward?

We’re off to a good start this year with growth in each territory and in each of our three business segments (equipment, breading/seasoning/supplies, and service/parts). My primary goal for the remainder of the year is to fill our open positions, get our newer team members fully up to speed to reduce the demands on the rest of the team, and position ourselves for continued growth next year and into the future. Additionally, this year we began implementing the EOS model of running our business and I want to continue that implementation and rollout. I believe that it will help us stay on track, improve our performance, and culture, and grow. Finally, I want to hit the road and travel to other distributors to see their operations and learn what they are doing to be successful. Henny Penny is fortunate to have a lot of great distributors in its network, and I am excited to learn from them.

 

To learn more about PHT Systems, visit their website.

Guest Blog: 6 Ways a Combi Oven Can Benefit Foodservice Operations

One of the worst business strategies out there is to leave yourself without room for growth. Within eateries and foodservice establishments, expanding your footprint is possible when you have the right equipment and technology. Versatility is a characteristic of successful businesses, after all.

One of the most innovative technologies in the modern commercial kitchen is a combi oven. Combination ovens have the state-of-the-art ability to cook using convection or steam methods (or a combination of both.) These appliances efficiently create high-quality menu items, providing a minimal investment solution to expand offerings. Here’s a closer look at the top six ways a combi oven can benefit foodservice operations.

Maximize Kitchen Space: Versatile Appliance

Commercial kitchens are typically small without extra space. Operations with limited space can benefit from a combi oven’s cooking flexibility. A combination oven is a single appliance that replaces a steamer, grill, griddle, fryer, and convection oven. Users can easily roast, steam, smoke, poach, braise, grill, or dehydrate food.

Consistent Results: Reduce Food Waste

Higher productivity and consistency are essential to reduce food waste and spoilage. Compared to conventional ovens, combi ovens ensure you get the full bang for your buck. The menu possibilities and portion variations are endless. The hassle-free precision controls also prevent shrinkage to ensure food product results.

Precision Controls: Maintain Moisture and Quality

Combi ovens come with the advantage of precision control over temperature and humidity. Users can control the exact combo of steam or heat with pre-programmable programs and easy-to-use touch screens. These controls make the creation of high-quality food and popular dishes repeatedly achievable regardless of staff changes.

Time and Labor Savings: Cleaning Systems

Digital combi ovens offer another perk that businesses can use to their advantage. The automatic cleaning process of this commercial appliance is perfect for ease of use. Combi ovens help reduce labor time to save you money on personal protective equipment supplies and employee training.

Cost Savings: Valuable Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is one of the six ways a combi oven can benefit foodservice operations. Combi ovens cook faster than conventional ovens, leading to lower energy costs in the long run. Energy bills savings are put back into your pocket for other resources. This makes a valuable difference in generating sustainable profit.

Greater Yield: Double Production Outcomes

Combi ovens are not one-size-fits-all. These commercial appliances come in various models and functions to fit the needs of your current foodservice operations. When you use one, greater oven capacity is at your fingertips.

 

If your foodservice business or establishment can benefit from a commercial combi-steam oven, DSL Canada is the official Henny Penny distributor partner for Western and Northwestern Canada. Turn to DSL for innovative and reliable foodservice solutions. DSL supplies a variety of Henny Penny combination oven models to cook anything on your menu to perfection. Browse available options or contact DSL for a quote today.

Mycoprotein: Getting the “chicken” without the bird

You used to call it a veggie burger. Not bad, if you were looking to dodge a few saturated fats. A little like the “soy burgers” they served in the school cafeteria back in the day.  Today, non-meat burgers have found their way onto mainstream burger QSR menus, which suddenly makes fake meat a big deal.

Ah, you say, thinking about the still-raging chicken sandwich wars. What about poultry-less “chicken?”

If you follow the alt-protein space at all, you’ve probably heard of something called mycoprotein. It was first used as a meat substitute in pot pies back in the 1980s by a UK company called Quorn. Today it is the number one alternative meat source in supermarkets for everything from chicken nuggets to Salisbury steak.

Mycoprotein is actually a naturally occurring nutritious fungus that Quorn ferments into a protein-rich food with a neutral taste and, particularly, the texture of cooked chicken. This makes it a better alternative than soy or other plant-based proteins because it grows in strands and layers to begin with. The fermented mycoprotein is frozen in bulk to compress the strands then flavored to give it the firm authentic texture. At that point it is made into a variety of products like nuggets, tenders, boneless wings and “chicken-breast” patties for sandwiches.

Are they any good? Most people who’ve tried them either think so or can’t tell the difference. But it’s one thing to appeal to the mostly female, coast dwellers with above average incomes that make up Quorn’s primary market in the U.S. Going after the wing-munching, beer-drinking, sports-consuming middle-aged male would be something else entirely. In January 2020, Hooters rolled out a limited-time-only item called Unreal Wings nationwide. It was a bold move that illustrates the incentive for large chain menus to offer a serious alt-protein choice besides salad: Overcome the “no vote” represented by the one vegetarian in the group, and you get everyone’s business.

Burger King did it with the Impossible Whopper. Hooters did it with Unreal Wings. KFC is testing its Zero Chicken Burger in select global markets. Quorn’s mycoprotein-based chicken is non-GMO, which makes it an interesting alternative to the Impossible Foods burger, which is very GMO. Just because they are meatless does not make the finished menu item vegan or vegetarian. KFC’s Zero Chicken burger, for example, is fried in the same vats as real chicken. It also comes with cheese and mayo made from eggs. It seems as if the true appeal, for the moment, is to the flexitarian simply looking to reduce meat consumption without giving up taste or the idea of eating a meat sandwich.

Like its bona fide flesh counterpart, the mycoprotein chicken alternative is naturally neutral in taste and adapts easily to Mediterranean, Asian, or BBQ added seasonings and flavors. Products also come in a variety of breading styles, so you can offer that birdless chicken sandwich extra crispy or soft and Southern with a pickle.

Quorn “chicken” products are extremely easy to handle and cook. Naked, you can grill the fillets or 4 oz patties in the combi oven for an awesome meatless sandwich, wrap or salad topper. You fry them just like real chicken, in the same equipment and same oil but with slightly faster cook times. Most mycoprotein products come freezer-to-fryer, which makes them ideal for low-oil-capacity fryers. They absorb less frying oil, so the finished product is also less greasy. To top it off, mycoprotein holds long and travels well, making meatless chicken tenders and wings the ideal vegetarian finger food for virtual kitchens and delivery-only menus. This may be the essential point: If there are 15 people watching the big game at someone’s house, and they know you can order a dozen meatless Teriyaki wings to go with four dozen real ones, you win.

We were so excited to cook up some yummy Quorn products at the NAFEM show this year. But just because we can’t do it in person doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it together! Click here to watch Chef Ben and I prepare Amazing Vegan Bites and all the other delicious recipes we had prepared for NAFEM. Who knows, it might inspire your next hit menu item!

 

Shular Institute redefines modern culinary education with the help of Henny Penny

The needs of the foodservice industry are changing. The appeal of traditional culinary school is waning. One chef is trying to bridge the gap.

And Henny Penny is helping.

Culinary heyday

Culinary education saw its heyday in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The number of career cooking schools in the U.S. grew by nearly 150 in the decade preceding 2001 and enrollment at existing schools and programs skyrocketed, according to a Chicago Tribune article.

In those heady days of the culinary craze, students were drawn to what they saw as a straight-line career path: graduate, start in a restaurant as a line chef, work up to sous chef and then executive chef. If you’re talented and lucky, maybe even vaulting yourself into celebrity chef status.

But times are changing. A news story from 2017 noted dramatic declines in culinary school enrollment and the shuttering of many programs across the country.

“The new generation of students wants to create their own path,” said Certified Master Chef Daryl Shular, who has set out to redefine what a culinary education is and what it can do.

“The curriculum when I was teaching in the early 2000s doesn’t correlate to the current generation’s desires. They have a more entrepreneurial mindset.”

A new idea

To address the changing landscape, Shular founded the eponymous Shular Institute in an effort to reform what culinary education would be.

“There’s a huge divide between what culinary education traditionally is and what the industry actually needs,” he said.

At the Shular Institute, students learn not only the culinary arts, but also the business curriculum they’ll likely need to one day run a restaurant, lead the menu development team of a chain, or follow one of any number of paths into hospitality that are open to them today.

“There’s not just one path anymore where you get educated and go straight into a kitchen,” Shular said. “Teaching students the basics of cooking plus how to manage a business operation will give them the tools they need to succeed in the industry.”

At the Shular Institute, students put their classroom learning into action right away at the in-house full-service restaurant, Farmed Kitchen & Bar, which is open the public and is supported and staffed in part by students.

“With this real-world environment, you never know what’s coming through those doors, you never know what that guest is going to require,” Shular said. “The days of students standing around a table with everyone slicing onions and an instructor watching them are over. The meaningful evaluation comes from someone who doesn’t know you.”

Besides how to adapt on their feet and meet the needs of guests, Shular Institute students will also get a first-hand education on things like negotiating pricing with vendors or communicating with government and community organizations to secure licenses or grants.

Traditional schools don’t teach those skills, Shular said. “Those things are kept secret. I’m trying to lift the covers off all that secrecy.”

Partnering with the industry

To bring his unique culinary school to life, Shular enlisted insight and support from foodservice industry leaders like Henny Penny.

“What Shular stands for is what we stand for,” said Gregg Brickman, Henny Penny’s corporate executive chef. “It’s about education. It’s about developing the next generation of our industry’s leaders.”

Some of what appealed to Brickman, who spearheaded Henny Penny’s involvement in the project, was how the school prepares students for more than just a fine-dining kitchen.

“They’re seeing there’s more to the restaurant world than a four-hour sauce. There’s speed scratch, how to make food fast and still good,” he said. “Students don’t usually go to culinary school to work at at a fast food restaurant, but they may go to culinary school and be a part of the development team at that fast food chain. And we and Chef Shular want them to come out of school and be ready to do that.”

Henny Penny donated more than $300,000 worth of equipment to the Shular Institute, equipment that allows the school to offer a real-world cooking experience. The equipment, which helped establish multiple cooking lines and a culinary test lab for students, included two combi-ovens, one combi smoker, fryers, holding cabinets, a rotisserie, a smoker, a Wood Stone pizza oven and more.

“Students being able to use and train on the kind of new equipment that’s becoming more popular throughout the industry gives them a leg up,” Brickman said.

To learn more about the Shular Institute, visit http://shularinstitute.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 bottom line? For operators still on the fence about making the switch to a low oil volume fryer, there’s plenty to consider regarding 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. We’ve got a free spreadsheet template you can download to calculate oil savings for your business.
  • 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 affected?
    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 food and more consistent 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 at 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 workload and helps them be more efficient than ever.

Want to learn more about effective oil management? Low oil volume fryer or not, Henny Penny can help. Click here to access our free download package, including everything you’ll need to become an oil savings expert and analyze your own operation.

 

Why Prime Filter Powder means twice as much savings

Oil is an expensive consumable, doubling and even tripling in cost over the past year.  If you use it in your kitchen, we don’t have to spell this out for you. It costs a lot of money, it can cause operational challenges when disposal time comes, but for a lot of you, it produces a signature item on your menu. The big question is, what can you do to optimize your oil usage?

There are a number of ways to attack this challenge. You could invest in a low oil volume fryer, which will reduce the amount of oil you need to fill your pot and combined with certain built-in technologies (i.e. auto top off), can double the life of your oil. Another option, which many of today’s heavy frying outfits are implementing, is the use of frying oil life extending powder. A fine, pure, white compound that, when used directly in the oil or spread on your filter material can reduce a kitchen’s oil purchases significantly.

Used in any open or pressure fryer, oil life extender products can combat the ‘enemies’ of oil. Contamination, oxidation, polymerization, hydrolysis and thermal decomposition can all contribute to a shortened oil lifespan. Products like Henny Penny’s Prime Filter Powder work to diminish the effects of these ‘enemies’.

When applied to unfiltered fryer oil, Prime Filter Powder is activated during a filtration cycle. Before passing through the filter paper, the particles in the powder act as magnets, attracting and clinging to food debris, soluble liquid impurities, dissolved tastes and odors. The build-up of impurities makes the particles too large to pass through the filter paper, creating a barrier between the filtered, clean oil and the unfiltered, contaminated oil.  In essence, you are reducing FFA’s (free fatty acids) and TPM (total polar material), which helps the overall health of your oil.

In short, Prime Filter Powder will help make your filtered oil that much cleaner, meaning fewer change-outs, longer oil life and more money in your wallet. Cleaner oil isn’t just great for your business, your customers will be able to tell the difference as well and will love your new, consistent flavor, smell, and golden brown delicious appearance.

Want to learn more about effective oil management? Filter powder or not, Henny Penny can help. Click here to access our free download package, including everything you’ll need to become an oil savings expert and analyze your own operation.

The 5 Enemies of Oil and How to Avoid Them

For Superman it is kryptonite. For Achilles it was his heel. It seems for every hero there is a potential weakness that stands in their way. Frying oil may not be faster than a speeding bullet or more powerful than a locomotive, but restaurants depend on it and when someone depends on you, you get billed as a hero in their book. And just like Superman and Achilles, oil has plenty of enemies to worry about.

On average, oil is the second largest item in a restaurant’s consumables budget right after proteins. With the rising cost of edible oils in mind, extending oil life should be a point of emphasis for restaurant operators.

Fortunately, protecting your oil from the items that degrade its quality is not all together a difficult task, especially if you know what you’re fighting against.

There are five enemies that endanger your oil life on a regular basis, and one simple acronym to remember them all: HAMSS.

  1. Heat

Considering oil requires heat to cook, this is a necessary evil. However, monitoring your heat and not cooking at temperatures beyond what is needed is the first step to saving oil life. As a general rule, any time you can reduce cooking temperature by 18 degrees Fahrenheit, you effectively double the life of your oil. Another way to avoid heat-related degradation is simply using the features that are built into your fryer. Setting your equipment to “idle mode” will lower the set point of your oil while it’s not in use, thus reducing your oil’s exposure to unnecessary heat.

One last way to avoid excessive heat is to make the switch to a pressure fryer, which allows you to cook at lower temperatures. Pressure frying can give you twice as much life out of your oil over open frying.

  1. Air

This is another ubiquitous enemy that is not 100% unavoidable, but with a little diligence anyone can help extend their oil life by protecting it from air exposure. Oxidation occurs when oil meets air, so just by using vat covers at night or during off-peak hours, you can greatly reduce the effects of air and any other materials that might creep into your oil. Pressure fryers also hold an advantage here, as the lid can be closed most of the time.

Pro Tip: Once filtered, do not needlessly pump oil through the filter. This introduces more air and will increase the damage to your oil. Five to ten minutes of polishing per day is optimal.

  1. Moisture

Contact with moisture is the biggest culprit in the deterioration of cooking oil. Every item you fry contains moisture, especially proteins. So, in open frying circumstances, the more protein you fry, the more moisture you release into your oil. A pressure fryer — which by the very nature of its operation seals the moisture into the protein, preventing it from infiltrating your oil — is yet another solution.

Beyond turning to a different frying method, always load your frying baskets away from the fryer, especially when loading frozen food. Excess ice crystals falling into the vat only help to decrease the life of your oil, so be sure to always shake out water or ice crystals before dropping any product.

  1. Salt

Salt is like sand; it gets in everything. As salt breaks down oil and causes foaming, it’s best to keep it away from your fryer. Review your kitchen’s workflow to ensure that food items are being seasoned after the fryer and that brined items are drained adequately before being placed in the vat.

One very simple step you can take is integrating a procedure of salting product at a station away from the fryer. Even small amounts of stray salt can begin to reduce oil life, and after a while a little bit turns into a lot.

  1. Soap

While your thoroughness and cleanliness should be applauded, unless you’re using a vinegar rinse, you could be costing yourself oil life. Soaps and detergents can rapidly break down oil. Alkaline liquids, such as cleaning chemicals, create soap when combined with oil. Soap reacts with oil and causes off flavors, dark colors, off odors, and foaming.

Pro Tip: Use only the cleaning solutions recommended by the fryer manufacturer and follow the directions carefully. Keep lid covers in place especially during clean up and always use a vinegar rinse to neutralize the detergent.

 

Now that you’ve limited your oil’s exposure to HAMSS, the absolute best thing you can do is stick to a routine of fast and frequent filtrations. These filtrations will not only add the most life to your oil, saving you big bucks in the long run, but they will improve the quality of your oil, allowing you to reliably turn out the quality food that your customers love.

So, how often should you be filtering? It’s different for everyone. With the Filter Frequency Worksheet, you can calculate the ideal filtration frequency for your operation in minutes! Click here to download everything you’ll need to become an oil management expert and analyze your own operation.

 

Distributor Spotlight: Jestic

Distributor Spotlight: Jestic

In this exclusive Q&A series, operators gain behind-the-scenes insight into our unique distributor partnerships.

At Henny Penny, we take a different market approach than other equipment manufacturers in our industry. By utilizing our experienced distributor network, we can provide technical support for our customers throughout the entire product lifecycle. Our distribution partners make it their mission to provide first-class service so customers can focus on cooking consistent, legendary food and increasing profitability.

Jestic was formed in 2005 and became the official Henny Penny distributor for the United Kingdom in 2011. The Jestic leadership team is made up of four directors: Neill Pearson, Steve Morris, Michael Eyre, and Ben Dale. Together, they bring over eighty years of industry experience.

In 2019, Jestic was able to expand its territory after establishing a base in Manchester. To provide customers with a unique experience, they have equipped that location with a full-service test kitchen and meeting facilities. These amenities are featured at Jestic’s Paddock Wood Headquarters as well.

Get to know Jestic:

What is your corporate vision and strategy?

Jestic is all about working with amazing people to add value and provide solutions for our customers. We take the responsibility of providing stable, secure employment very seriously and the best way for us to achieve that is via strategic, profitable growth. A lot of time is being invested into identifying what Jestic does well and where we can focus our efforts to continue growing and improving this company. Jestic will continue growing while staying true to our strategy and values.

How many employees does Jestic have?

We have around 100 employees; 13 field salespeople, 35 field technicians, 3 culinary trainers, 32 officer-based admin roles, along with 7 in the warehouse, 5 in finance, and 5 in senior management.

What is unique about your territory?

The UK is a continuously strong market for premium foodservice equipment due to its heavy chain presence, both globally renowned and local. The people of the UK also share an appetite for convenience food like the people of the United States. Our territory is different from the rest of Europe where there are more independent stores. Also, due to the market’s maturity and the size of some chains, there is a willingness to invest in good quality foodservice equipment to deliver a consistent, quality product.

What foodservice sector is your focus on?

Primarily we are focused on QSR chains, casual dining and HORECA (hotel, retail and catering). This pertains to all the brands we sell, not just Henny Penny products. Service & maintenance are also very important for us in terms of revenue and differentiating ourselves from the competition.

What % of your business does Henny Penny represent? 

Henny Penny is the largest by volume. They are a significant part of our business, contributing approximately 55% of our equipment sales and a similar percentage of service revenue.

Who are your longest-held customers? 

KFC has been established in the UK for over 30 years. They have been purchasing Henny Penny products from Jestic for around 10 years. We have been supplying conveyor ovens to Domino’s for over 20 years. JD Wetherspoon has been buying EE fryers for over 10 years.

What is your favorite HP product to sell and why?

The Evolution Elite has been a great product for Jestic, it has truly unique value proposition versus the alternative fryers available, enabling our culinary team to conduct some great trials for customers and our sales team to demonstrate to customers the value in the product versus the competition. EE is a platform that keeps delivering for Jestic and has established us as the go-to company in the UK for premium frying solutions.

What is your biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge for us, like every other business in the foodservice industry, is rebuilding amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Lockdown restrictions have recently been lifted in the UK, so business has been good, and we are cautiously optimistic about the future. It is important for us at this stage to make sure that we are positioned to identify and benefit from new opportunities as they arise. We must continue to be aware of what is happening with our customers and our market. Additionally, we also need to be readily available to potential new manufacturing partners, respectful to our current partners and continue to be financially strong so we are stable and ready to make new investments.

What is your goal for 2021?

To rebuild after the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to do the right thing for our customers, colleagues, and suppliers building strong relationships that last.

 

To learn more about Jestic, visit their website.

 

Distributor Spotlight: TFI

In this exclusive Q&A series, operators gain behind-the-scenes insight into our unique distributor partnerships.

At Henny Penny, we go to market differently than most equipment manufacturers. Through our network of distributor experts, we’re able to provide hands-on-support before, during, and after purchase and installation. Our distributors are in the field everyday solving customer challenges and demonstrating that cooking precision and consistency lead to both quality food and operational savings.

For the past 60 years, TFI has been one of the largest Canadian suppliers for premium foodservice equipment and programs.

TFI became a Henny Penny distributor in 1982 and works with a variety of foodservice operators and outlets as a supplier of Taylor, Henny Penny, and Franke Specialty Coffee Equipment. With a clear focus on The Perfect Serving, TFI delivers value to every customer through premium and supportive foodservice solutions, so they may consistently provide a high-quality serving to their customers.

TFI has a total of two warehouses, one being in Toronto, Ontario and the other in Halifax, Novia Scotia.

Get to know TFI:

What is your corporate vision and strategy?

The Perfect Serving and our company core values apply to everything we do in sales, service, and customer service. Additionally, after-sales support is vital: we want to do a great job selling equipment and selling service. We support our customers from ideation, installation, service, and maintenance for the entire lifespan of the equipment. This model has allowed for countless repeat customers year over year. This partnership is the main differentiator against competitors because we are true partners for each of our customers; we support them from install to replacement. We take pride in the infrastructure we have created to ensure service excellence. It allows us to maintain our customer base and to increase new customers each year. We work as a team, we have monthly calls, and there is consistency across Canada. It is simple; we want the customers to be happy with their purchase and support.

How many employees does TFI have?

We have 125 employees; 17 in the sales department, 65 in service (includes technicians and field service management), and 10 in customer care. Additionally, we have employees that are spread out in finance, marketing, IT, supply chain, warehouse, and management.

What is unique about your territory?

Canada is very diverse, so we have many different types of cuisine, culture, and food offerings. Toronto is a major city in our area, where we have many national accounts headquartered. Another thing that is unique about our territory is the size. It is a vast landscape with many food service operators spread across many regions. We are also at the epicenter of Canadian commerce, with many businesses headquartered in Ontario. As a result, we are developing equipment programs for non-traditional customers.

What foodservice sector is your focus on?

In service, our focus is all of our customers along with the national chains (McDonald’s, Tim Horton’s, Wendy’s, KFC, Circle K, Oil & Gas Convenience). Over the next three years, our service business goal is to transition our service offering to an outcome-based, predictive model. This is a crucial focus for us as we know this will be the future of equipment service.

In sales, we focus on the supermarket sector (Loblaws, Sobeys, Metro) where we’ve had significant success with Henny Penny equipment. We also sell equipment to contract catering corporations (Compass Group, Aramark) and recently the retirement living sector. Another important initiative is to develop business within the food product supply industry. We know how well product is prepared in Henny Penny equipment, and we are leveraging product supply companies to market our equipment with their products. We are still focused on developing the mid-market chain (around 25 store chains). We went to Europe about five years ago, and we visited fellow Henny Penny distributors Jestic, Interfastfood and Red Bill. We saw the success with Evolution Elite in Europe, so we want to continue growing the low oil volume frying market in Canada.

What % of your business does Henny Penny represent?

Henny Penny represents 35% of our business; Taylor 45%, Franke 10% and Pizza Forno 10%. I must say that we’ve had great success with Henny Penny and that the partnership is excellent. The team appreciates the great support in sales and service, and the quality of the equipment is unbelievable. With McDonald’s as one of our key customers, through the collaboration of the 3 brands, we can now service 5 of their key pieces of equipment in Canada.

Who are your longest held customers?

National chains and, more specifically, the Supermarket chains. They’ve been with us since 1996. We have been pioneers in the HMR market in Canada.

What is your favorite HP product to sell and why?

The Combi ovens, because of the supermarkets. And, of course, the pressure fryer is built like a tank, the cooking is fantastic, and it is so reliable!

Why are your Combi sales so strong?

Our relationship with the supermarkets in Canada. We have known them since 1996; 23 years spent building relationships adds up! We also offer packages to some of our customers (Combi + pressure fryer), and we spend a tremendous amount of time training in the stores. Also, they are fantastic pieces of equipment. So, a great piece of equipment, excellent support, a strong relationship, and inventory!

What is your goal for 2021?

To continue growing in service and to avoid hiring third-party service companies in the most remote areas. The outcome-based, predictive model is transitioning the industry, and TFI intends to be at the forefront of this shift. We want to continue to match and anticipate the needs of our customers. One of the main issues with the competition is that they don’t stock. We do. We can deliver a pressure fryer the next day if a customer needs it. We always have 4 or 5 pressure fryers in stock, the same for Combi ovens. Investing in parts, in inventory, in infrastructure is key to have success. We want to continue in that direction while looking to increase HP sales to independent operators, grow our mid-market chains, and expand our equipment sales to more non-traditional customers within the foodservice industry.

 

To learn more about TFI, visit their website.

 

 

Distributor Spotlight: TFGroup

In this exclusive Q&A series, operators gain behind-the-scenes insight into our unique distributor partnerships.

At Henny Penny, we go to market differently than most equipment manufacturers. Through our network of distributor experts, we’re able to provide hands-on-support before, during, and after purchase and installation. Our distributors are in the field everyday solving customer challenges and demonstrating that cooking precision and consistency lead to both quality food and operational savings.

TFGroup was founded on January 26, 2009 after purchasing Taylor Fortune Distributors, a Taylor Distributor servicing southern Louisiana and southern Mississippi.

In 2010, TFGroup took over Fortune Equipment Company, which was a distributor for both Taylor and Henny Penny, covering 2/3rd of Tennessee, Northern Mississippi, and Eastern Arkansas. TFGroup then became the Henny Penny Distributor for Louisiana as well as the remaining area of Mississippi in 2014 and followed up with Arkansas in 2017.

Today, TFGroup has six offices across Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Get to know TFGroup:

What is your corporate vision and strategy?

Great Products .. Great Service .. Delivered’ is the tagline we live by and we are committed to providing world class equipment, exceptional sales, and state-of-the-art service performance. At TFGroup, we pride ourselves on partnering with the world’s best in the specialty foodservice equipment category.

How many people do you employ?

As of this year, we have a grand total of 64 employees across all our locations, with one service manager at each.

Many people were here from the start and others came with the growth. We hire not only skills but also attitudes.

What is unique about your territory?

We don’t have a large National Account base – we have a lot more retail-based customers. We do a great deal of business with convenience stores through our Henny Penny line-up of equipment.

What foodservice sector are you primarily focused on?

Service-wise we are more focused on National Chains; this is key to growing that department. In Henny Penny sales, I would say the focus is convenience stores followed by supermarkets.

What % of your business does Henny Penny represent?

45% is Henny Penny
50% is Taylor
5% is Franke

What is your favorite Henny Penny product to sell and why?

Heated Merchandisers (HMR’s). With the amount of convenience stores and retailers in our territory, the HMR truly separates us by being the best on the market. This allows for us to also provide fryers to those same customers and the price difference is no longer an issue because of the quality of our equipment which is proven by the history we have with the HMR.

Do you carry any other lines or categories aside from Henny Penny? 

We also carry Taylor and Franke Coffee Systems. We partner with the world’s best in specialty foodservice. We don’t want to sell too many lines to be able to stay focused. We don’t want to be average.

Who are your longest held customers and what equipment do they use?

One of our greatest success stories with Henny Penny is Dodge’s Southern Style which has 47 locations in the US, and they are a huge fan of our HMR’s. We’ve been partnered with them for 10+ years now, since 2011.

How does TFGroup coordinate service and training?

At TFGroup, we have four service managers as well as three dispatchers across the six office locations. The service techs are distributed amongst the territory. As for training, we have an in-house trainer and we send all of our folks to Henny Penny headquarters in Eaton, OH for training.

We do not partner with any 3rd party companies. We want to be in control of providing a remarkable experience to our customers which is not possible when you work with 3rd parties.

Service is very profitable, and it covers a lot of our costs. We want it to be done right.

We also offer incentive programs for our technicians. We measure everything we service equally whether it’s under warranty or not. We’ve got 34 trucks on the road, with parts, and that makes a huge difference: we can fix straight away. We have a 90% one-time fix rate.

What is your goal for the future? 

To keep growing our service, sales, and parts. It’s a constant challenge and there is always room for improvement. We also want to focus more on growing sales and developing people.

To learn more about TFGroup, visit their website.