Tag Archives: restaurant growth

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.

Improve your guest experience with consistent food quality

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Achieving Consistent Food Quality

Discover the procedures, products and programs that can help your operation serve the best with every order.

While today’s most successful foodservice operations may offer a range of menus and pricepoints, one thing they all have in common is consistency, defined as “the achievement of a level of performance that does not vary greatly in quality over time.” In fact, no facility can be considered effective or successful in the current foodservice landscape without the ability to reliably replicate customers’ favorite dishes time after time.

By implementing proven systems — including the latest procedures, products and programs for cooking — operators can more accurately control the variables that affect food quality and consistency.

Procedures 

From ordering ingredients to standardizing recipes, operators can take several steps to optimize their procedures for maximum consistency. By sourcing food products from the same vendors — at the same specs for size, brand and delivery temperature — facilities can limit the challenges that can threaten consistent results when replicating dishes.

When standardizing recipes, it’s important to consider details like unique titles, ingredients, itemized weight/volume and specific preparation instructions. Other notes about cooking time and temperature, serving size, recipe yield and necessary equipment and utensils can also be helpful to staff on different shifts as they replicate each recipe.

Products

Cooking equipment is a critical part of the consistency equation for any operation, large or small. Whether it’s the performance and capability of the equipment itself or the information it conveys to kitchen staff, every factor plays a key role in ensuring customers get the results they expect.

For example, by using a combi oven in place of a traditional oven, operators can prepare a much wider variety of menu items without sacrificing control — plus, the latest technological advances in the category allow users to store a full range of settings and cooking programs based on food type, desired preparation and volume.

The FlexFusion combi oven from Henny Penny features the Chef’s Touch control panel with a state-of-the-art, full-color touchscreen that gives users total control with both customizable and preset AutoChef programs.

Other areas of the kitchen also offer opportunities to build in greater consistency, such as a facility’s fryer lineup. With today’s technology in place, the latest fryers can store between 40 and 160 unique programs — and with features like load compensation (adjusting cook time when the standard load is incorrect), proportional control (preventing oil from exceeding its set-point temperature) and filter tracking (giving management total visibility over filtration frequency), these advanced models can help cut costs, save labor and ensure control throughout the cooking process.

The new Evolution Elite with Smart Touch Filtration™ from Henny Penny features push-button filter activation with automatic drain operation — with on-the-fly filtering complete in just four minutes or less. With filtration being the most significant contributor to consistent oil quality, these types of automated features play a vital role in preserving the flavor, appearance and texture of fried menu items.

Programs

 Once the necessary procedures and proper equipment are in place, implementing equipment programs can help simplify workflow, reduce preparation time and ensure finished dishes are consistent when they leave the kitchen. Whether it’s a varied batch in the combi oven or a one-off fryer load, it can be extremely beneficial for operators to program select repeatable preparations based on the current menu — allowing kitchen staff to work smarter, not harder, with the touch of a button.

Consistency is a foundational goal for any foodservice operation — regardless of service style. By considering the cooking equipment, team procedures and specific programs at work in the kitchen, operators can guarantee a higher level of food quality with every order, every day.