The restaurant business is constantly changing. Menu trends change. Consumer tastes and dining habits change. But one constant is the drive to find ways to be more profitable. While the restaurant industry as a whole is strong, the growth rate has slowed significantly in recent quarters and there are a number of economic indicators that will challenge the bottom line going forward, including a tightening labor market, increasing fuel and energy costs and unpredictable food costs.
Operators continue exploring ways to remain competitive and profitable in a hyper-competitive market. Many will invest in technology like automated ordering systems and adjustable menu and pricing boards that allow operators to curtail wait staff and quickly adjust prices based on food costs. Some will revamp their entire menu with premium offerings that keep it fresh and inviting while increasing ticket averages. Still others will find opening a patio or rooftop deck an effective way to generate new customers and repeat business. And virtually everyone is partnering with one delivery service or another to capture their fair share of the stay-at-home dining market, especially among millennials. However, while some of these approaches can be effective strategies for many operators, virtually all of them require significant capital investment and training.
There’s one simple, commonsense approach to increasing your bottom line that any operator can implement… a premium shortening and oils program. Unlike risky menu revamps or costly capital investments, an upgrade to high performing shortenings and oils involves low risk and instant return on investment, in terms of both operational efficiency and customer satisfaction. Premium shortenings and oils oil break down less quickly due to oxidation, hydrolysis and polymerization over time, thereby empowering the operator to consistently deliver great-tasting food, which in turn promotes loyal customers. Plus, they can lower overall system and operating costs. Think of it in terms of the “penny wise, pound foolish” adage: you’ll save a few pennies with a commodity oil, but you’re likely get a better return from every pound of food with high performing oils.
Premium ingredients demand a premium oil.
Many operators go through considerable time and expense developing and offering menu items featuring premium ingredients. This trend is proving to be a successful strategy as customers are using their increased discretionary income to enjoy their dining experiences to their fullest. However, you won’t keep your customers for very long if your menu items have an off taste or poor texture. Too often operators will pay extra for premium ingredients but don’t seem to realize the shortenings and oils they use are an integral ingredient in any dish, not just a cooking medium. High performing shortening and oils have a neutral flavor profile, allowing the true flavors of your ingredients to shine through. They also provide a more consistent mouth feel and texture. They can even contribute important nutrients to your menu profile. In short, your customers want to be able to taste what they’re paying for. High performing oils help ensure they’ll walk away delighted with their dining experience.
High performing oils offer big payback back-of-the-house.
High performing shortenings and oils can increase the profit building potential of your fryers from the moment you fill them up to the moment you change the oil. Their longer fry life also means fewer oil changes and reduced labor, which in turn means less exposure to the risk of safety incidents occurring. Plus, with the cost of labor due to increase in the coming years, the less time your kitchen staff spends cleaning and refilling your fryers, the more time they can spend prepping and filling orders. And with less oil to discard, you’ll have less waste and disposal costs, helping to reduce your carbon footprint while also streamlining your inventory. Most importantly, high performing oils act as a vital quality advantage during peak traffic periods or unexpected spikes when you’re unable to stop and change oil, because there’s no excuse for sending out order after order of off-tasting food with poor texture. Premium oils also provide an additional advantage because your customers are less likely to send back unsatisfactory orders. And even if they don’t, they’re almost certain to remember an unsatisfactory eating experience. And that can result in long-term damage to your restaurant’s reputation.
Simple math goes straight to your bottom line.
Still not convinced on the quality benefits, labor savings and operational efficiencies that high performing oils provide? Consider the math. The longer fry life that high performing oils provide — 6 days or more versus 2-3 days for commodity oils – actually saves you money. Example:
If a case of commodity oil costs $17.00 per case and you have to change it every 3 days, then that case of oils costs $5.67 per day. If a case of premium, high performing oil costs $30 per case and lasts 7 days, that case only costs $4.29 per day or, $1.38 savings per case, per day.
Depending on the number of cases you use per month, the savings add up fast. And that doesn’t even include the cost efficiency savings of reduced labor and waste disposal!
The high price of using commodity oils vs. premium oils.
|Commodity Oils||Premium Oils|
|Quickly degrades at end of fry life||Formulated for slower degradation; Maintains integrity during busy periods|
|Results in off-tasting food if used for too long before changing||Guards against flavor transfer|
|Costs, on average, $5.67 per case per day based on example above)||Costs, on average, $4.29 per case per day (based on example above)|
For greater quality control, incomparable value and profit-building practicality, there’s no substitute for high performing shortenings and oils.
|Better looking food||Longer fry life||Lower oil cost per case, per day|
|Better tasting food||Fewer oil changes||More satisfied customers|
|Consist results, order after order||Reduced labor costs||Greater repeat business|
|Maintains integrity during busy periods||Reduced discard oil and disposal cost – less waste||Better reputation and word of mouth|
|Guards against flavor transfer||Reduced waste can translate to smaller carbon footprint; fewer cases to store and handle|
Nine Quick Tips for Extending Oil/Shortening Life
Regardless of the oil you use, here is a quick guide for extending your oil’s fry life.
For more information on the benefits of high performing shortenings and oils, contact a Cargill Global Edible Oil Solutions representative.
Your Cargill representative has a complete tool chest to show you how to increase your profitability while helping to reduce your oil footprint so you can get the most out of your fryer program.
Content courtesy of Cargill Global Edible Oil Solutions