Apple American Group, the largest Applebee’s franchisee with 441 Applebee’s Grill and Bar restaurants, was looking to improve their oil handling process to decrease operating costs and reduce the risk of employee injuries associated with oil handling. What they found with Total Oil Management automated cooking oil system was so much more.
Employee Safety and Restaurant Cleanliness
Apple American Group is the second largest franchisee of any restaurant concept in the world. It has remained dedicated to making every Applebee’s location a true neighborhood experience, responsive to the needs of each guest, employee, and community. As part of this dedication, Apple American Group strives to ensure that its food quality, operational efficiency measures, safety, cleanliness, and sustainability efforts are top-notch. The traditional oil handling process is manual, time-consuming, and dirty process. It creates an environment where employees are at risk for oil burns, slip and falls, back strains, or other injuries.
“We never want to put our employees in a situation where they might get injured,” said Jeff Lingel, Market Leader, Apple American Group. “But with our old, manual oil handling process, accidents that involved hot grease, slick floors and strained back complaints from lifting heavy jugs of oil, were more common than we liked.”
The Total Oil Management system was the solution to eliminating both the oil handling task, and the potential risk to employees. Employees easily and safely add fresh oil and dispose of used oil — no lugging, no spills.
Goodbye to Grease Shuttle
Grease shuttles and disposal tools that help employees transfer hot oil to waste bins are difficult to keep clean, require space for storage, and can invite unwanted pests. The need for storage and handling of new and used oil in jugs and boxes can also impact a restaurant’s cleanliness, both indoors and out. With the Total Oil Management system, Apple American Group was able to eliminate grease shuttles completely, eliminating a safety hazard from the kitchen, and decrease waste by 4,420 pounds per month by not utilizing plastic jugs with cardboard packaging.
“We’re saving time because we don’t have to drag shuttles around,” said Lingel. “But cleanliness has also improved; our floors stay cleaner and safer, the back dock is cleaner without the grease bin and the equipment itself is cleaner. The removal of the grease shuttle was a big win for us.”
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A More Sustainable Neighborhood + Bar
Cutting out oil packaging waste is important for restaurant sustainability efforts. By decreasing the amount of plastic and other materials that go into landfills, restaurants like Applebee’s are showing how they can be more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Restaurant Technologies also recycles many of its customers’ used cooking oil into biodiesel and feedstock, directly supporting corporate sustainability initiatives.
Better Filtration Practices for Improved Food Quality
The fry stations at restaurants like Applebee’s, which serve a diverse range of menu items, have become more complex as customer tastes expand. This means that oil is used more often, for more types of fried foods. It must be monitored and filtered regularly to maintain a high quality of food taste, no matter what’s being fried. Despite this need, restaurant managers often find that employees skip or short- change parts of the oil filtration process.
To maintain accurate filtration practices, Lingel’s team uses the Total Oil Management web-based portal to provide Applebee’s managers and decision makers with real-time, store-level visibility into oil usage statistics, oil quality, filtration data, deliveries, and more. Data for individual or multiple locations is delivered via a dashboard, which is accessible by managers anywhere they have internet access. The Applebee’s filtration policies and SOPs are programmed into the system, allowing it to track events and flag instances outside of the SOPs. With the portal and the alerts, managers know right away when procedures are being met or missed. If a procedure isn’t followed, it creates training opportunities for staff, improves adherence to standards and improves overall business practices.
“The fryer filtration monitoring system has helped us to do a better job monitoring the maintenance of our oil,” said Lingel. “Using the oil test kits Restaurant Technologies supplies and the dashboard, we are able to extend the life of the oil and improve the quality of our fried foods.”
Oil Management Impacts Every Aspect of the Restaurant
Lingel also points out that Restaurant Technologies commitment to ongoing technology research and development continues to push Apple American to look at its business and find ways to improve.
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“The fryer filtration monitoring system is a great example,” he says. “We thought we were doing a good job filtering for the proper length of time each shift. Once we installed the technology and the portal, we found that not only were we not executing for the proper amount of time, but there were times we weren’t filtering at all. The benefit of having Restaurant Technologies continually look for new ways to do business is a benefit itself.”