Tag Archives: fryer maintenance

Treat Your Oil Like The Hero It Is

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 that in mind, extending oil life should be a point of emphasis for restaurant operators.

Most restaurants may not even realize how much they are spending.  For instance, a kitchen with two frying wells, with 50 pounds of oil in each that they replace every three days, equates to 200 pounds of oil per week.  If that restaurant is spending 75 cents a pound on oil, this works out to be $150 per week in oil costs. Doubling the life of that oil can save you $75 per week, or $3,900 per year.

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 particular enemies that endanger your oil life on a regular basis, and one simple way to remember them all: HAMMS.

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 by utilizing 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.

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. 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.

Moisture – Yes, there is moisture in 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.

Trace Metals/Salt – One very simple step to keep in mind to avoid degradation caused by trace metals or salt; salt your French fries 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.

Soap – While your thoroughness and cleanliness should be applauded, unless you’re using a vinegar rinse, you could be costing yourself oil life. Equipment cleaning chemicals are alkaline in nature. Alkaline chemicals combined with oil creates soap, which breaks down oils and causes foaming. The acid in the vinegar will neutralize the alkali chemicals and protect your oil.

Now that you’ve limited your oil’s exposure to HAMMS, 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.

When your oil does make it to the end of its hopefully long and useful life, you’ll want to know. Determining the end of your oil’s life is equally important to ensuring a quality product. To understand the many methods of oil testing, be sure to check out our previous blog, How should you be testing your oil quality?

SIX FIGURES. ONE STEP. How Saving Oil Can Have a Major Impact on Profits

You need to stay profitable. But there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to do so—with rising food costs, higher wages and evolving trends and demands, virtually any move you make can have an unintended consequence.

If you decide to decrease labor, for example, it would have a negative impact on the quality of service you provide to their customers. If you increase prices to stay even with the market, it could scare customers away — as discretionary income levels haven’t kept pace with the cost of activities like eating out.

The steps left for operators to take include those that will optimize their facility, equipment and processes. One particularly easy-to-control cost is frying oil. After food, it’s likely that oil ranks near the top of most operators’ lists of costs surrounding their frying operations.

Practicing proper oil management is a great start to realizing oil-related savings, but the biggest savings comes with reduced oil volume fryers like Henny Penny’s next-generation Evolution Elite with Smart Touch Filtration™, which uses 40% less oil in the frying vat.

For the average operation, that’s about $5,000 in annual oil costs saved. If your profit margin is 5%, that $5,000 savings has the same profit impact as increasing sales by $100,000, without the extra work!

Many operators may feel uncomfortable making a capital investment for such equipment, but it’s important to consider the ROI. For many establishments, the Evolution Elite will pay for itself in less than three years, then continue to deliver savings every year for the life of the fryer.

By investing in smart, oil-saving technology like the Evolution Elite with Smart Touch Filtration today, operators can realize greater profits for years to come — and it all starts with a few drops of oil.

OIL’S SWEET SPOT: How to Get There and Why It’s the Key to Great Flavor

Like many in the world of foodservice, you may assume that cooking oil performance is at its peak when you first start using it — but did you know there is actually a “sweet spot” closer to the middle of oil life?

It’s in this period of time that food taste is at its best. While customers may not know oil is to blame, they do notice when food tastes undercooked or burnt — despite your operation’s consistency with cooking temperature and timing.

The good news for operators is that, with the right tools and processes, it’s relatively easy to extend this sweet spot, resulting in prolonged oil life that delivers consistently better food quality while significantly lowering oil costs.

Understanding the enemies of oil

The sweet spot itself is somewhat of a moving target. Rather than being defined as a specific number of hours or days, it all depends on how well you counteract some of the most common enemies of oil life and performance.

Enemy #1: Heat

Frying may be a high-temperature process by definition, but as you cook, your oil is gradually breaking down. While quickly raising the temperature of new oil with constant heat can speed up breakdown, a less shocking approach can protect oil more effectively while it reaches cooking temperature. The “melt mode” feature on Henny Penny’s Evolution Elite open fryer achieves this with pulsing heat, while the “idle mode” feature protects the oil from excessively high heat by dropping the temperature during cooking breaks.

Enemy #2: Air

Simply exposing oil to the air is enough to break it down. Even at room temperature, oxidation begins to take place. That’s why Henny Penny recommends using vat covers between cooking cycles to help reduce breakdown. But oxidation actually occurs at an even faster rate when oil is exposed to high temperatures — another reason to keep tabs on Enemy #1, excessive heat. Remember — even if your oil looks and smells okay, it could still be breaking down from exposure to air while not in use.

Enemy #3: Moisture

Whether it’s carried by frozen and marinated foods or shaken loose from packaging while loading the fryer, it’s easy for water to find its way into your oil — causing a more rapid breakdown. Consider loading fryer baskets away from the vat to minimize the amount of moisture introduced into the oil.

Enemy #4: Foreign Substances

Though not as commonly linked to oil breakdown, foreign substances like seasonings, cleaners and soaps can also damage oil quality, so always be sure to salt fries away from the fryer and make sure equipment is thoroughly rinsed after cleaning.

Maintaining Oil Quality

Now that we’ve identified the main culprits behind oil breakdown, it’s time to focus on the best way to prolong oil life — namely, maintaining proper oil quality.

Tip #1: Frequent Filtration

It’s hard to overstate the importance of frequent filtration — and not just to remove large, visible chunks of food debris. Even down at the microscopic level, leftover food particles can react with oil and break it down. That’s why Henny Penny’s next-generation Evolution Elite with Smart Touch Filtration™ features built-in, 4-minute filtration and push-button operation — making it fast and easy to filter even during peak hours.

Tip #2: Oil Top-Off

Oil top-off is also critical, ensuring your fryer is operating at the proper oil level while infusing fresh oil into the cooking mix. This continuous mixing also allows the oil to be “broken in” much faster than with complete refills, further extending the coveted sweet spot. With Oil Guardian™ automatic oil top-off, the Evolution Elite helps high-volume operators maintain the right balance and get the most out of their oil.

Tip #3: A Well-Trained Staff

Even with a lineup of powerful, innovative features at your disposal, it’s important to make sure your kitchen staff understands the proper procedures for monitoring and controlling oil performance. A knowledgeable team is one of the best ways to ensure your cooking oil is properly used and maintained. And with the Evolution Elite’s iControl™ oil management system, it’s easy for operators to track proper filtrations and help keep staff on top of necessary actions.

Knowing When You’ve Hit the Oil Sweet Spot

You’re likely wondering what measurement to look for to know if you’re cooking in the sweet spot and if you’re successful in extending it.

From sight/smell observations to test strips and more scientific methods, there are various options for measuring oil quality, each with its own set of pros and cons due to reliability, consistency and the ability to operationalize.

Your choice of measurement will guide you in the oil quality results to look for, but what’s most important in hitting and prolonging the sweet spot is properly maintaining your oil through frequent filtration and consistent oil top off. At the end of the day, if you take care of your oil, you are virtually guaranteed to produce better-tasting food.

And with Henny Penny’s next-generation Evolution Elite with Smart Touch Filtration™, the innovative oil management features that operators need come standard and virtually run themselves—making consistently better food quality and thousands of dollars in annual oil savings fast and easy to achieve.