Kwik Trip Takes Their Hot Food Program to the Next Level
When you serve customers 24/7, like many convenience stores and gas stations, it’s important to offer high-quality food around the clock. So, when Kwik Trip — a family-owned company of convenience stores based in La Crosse, Wisconsin — decided to offer fried chicken, they also decided to partner with Restaurant Technologies.
This decision was rolled out by Retail Food Service Director Paul Servais. He said, “Our hot food program has been around a while, and I think we’re good at it. We decided to enhance and expand that program into fried chicken in fall of 2018. Our goal was to grab the customers at lunch time looking for a two- or three-piece tender, and also help build our dinner daypart with eight-piece chicken dishes and whole birds.”
The company learned about Restaurant Technologies and its Total Oil Management end-to-end cooking oil solution from others in the industry.
“As we started asking questions of our industry peers and other people in our market, Restaurant Technologies’ name kept popping up. We started looking into it and made some phone calls. They presented, and we got it into our stores.”
Quality and Consistency
Servais said installing Total Oil Management has helped Kwik Trip improve both quality and consistency of its fried chicken, due in part to Restaurant Technologies’ training program.
He said, “Coworkers can watch three-minute videos as they get started on a shift cooking chicken and learn a great deal about the consistency of breading, quality of oil, and things like that. We’ve used all their training materials. They even provided video for us to use in our stores to help everyone understand when to change the oil, how to filter, when to filter, and so on.”
The results were outstanding.
“The Restaurant Technologies system helped us exceed expectations of how much chicken we would sell. But we’ve kept it very simple. We still believe to do fried chicken right it has to be fresh and hand breaded. You have to go through all the steps. There are no shortcuts to quality chicken.”
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When expanding its food program with chicken, Kwik Trip knew its first and foremost priority would be how it impacts coworkers.
Servais said, “That was really our first consideration. Not cost. It was more about what kind of system would last a long time, be efficient for our team to use, and be easier for our coworkers. That applied to fryers, sifting tables and every piece of equipment we needed, including oil management.”
“The simplicity of pumping the old oil out and pumping the new oil in –– and us not having to worry about it –– sold me on the Restaurant Technologies system. It’s one of those things you don’t want to have to think about. It’s just there. When you need the oil, it comes in. When you have old oil to pump out, it goes out. And it works. It’s simple and reliable,” he said.
Safety and Sustainability
Total Oil Management has made Kwik Trip operations more efficient. It has also enhanced safety through less slips and falls due to grease on the floor.
“Everybody knows about the hazards of slipping or falling on fryer grease. But with the Restaurant Technologies system, safety has improved, and our coworkers love it. They were not looking forward to dumping canisters of oil in a vat outside, so when they saw how we were going to handle this, they got very excited in a hurry,” Servais said.
The system also aligns nicely with the company’s sustainability goals. “We’ve been in sustainability before it was cool –– using paper cups, less plastic in stores, concrete instead of asphalt parking lots, LEED-certified toilets. And over the years, we keep making more changes. We knew that installing the Restaurant Technologies system was going to be a big part of that by helping us use less oil long-term,” Servais said.
- Quality and consistency: Total Oil Management has helped Kwik Trip ensure the quality and consistency of its new, rapidly expanding fried chicken program.
- Operational efficiency: The system met the company’s objectives of being efficient for its team to use and being easier for coworkers.
- Safety and sustainability: Safety has been enhanced by reducing potential for slips and falls due to grease on the floor, and sustainability results have aligned with Kwik Trip’s goals.
- Customer service: Restaurant Technologies has delivered on building a partnership with Kwik Trip throughout implementation of the system
Overall, Servais said the company has been more than happy with the results of the Restaurant Technologies oil management system and said forming a strong partnership was key to this success.
He said, “The vendor partnership is important to us. We made it clear in the beginning that when we sit down with a vendor, we want them to be partners with us. We want to work together, be honest with each other and have a good relationship. Restaurant Technologies delivered on that, and it makes me feel good that we went down the right path. Establishing long-term relationships is very important to us.”
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“Our goal was to have fried chicken in every store so we can market it companywide, and Restaurant Technologies has been instrumental in helping us get that done.”