When it comes to familiar brands in central Pennsylvania, especially ones that evoke nostalgia and civic pride, you can’t do better than Rutter’s. With a history spanning back to 1747, the Rutter’s name is a hallmark for great dairy goods – as well as the proud name of the area’s most acclaimed chain of convenience stores. With 68 locations across the heart of the state, Rutter’s Farm Stores serve up fuel and food with friendly service, gathering award after award along the way.
As with many convenience stores, Rutter’s Farm Stores place significant focus on quick dining options for people on the go. As their kitchens grow and continue to cook up more tasty options, Rutter’s employees achieve an ideal balance of variety, speed, and service all day, every day.
Why Fry With Anything Else?
For stores that are as lauded across the state (and industry) as Rutter’s, nothing less than the best will do – especially if it means a method for fryer oil management that’s safer, cleaner, and more efficient.
So, when director of food service Ryan Krebs heard about Restaurant Technologies closed-loop oil management solution, it didn’t take much to get him and the rest of Rutter’s management on board. Just a few months after a test run in four locations, the realized savings and superior safety of the solution resulted in installations for the rest of the Rutter’s Farm Stores with quick-service kitchens. For Rutter’s kitchen staff, it’s a gift that keeps on giving in better service and safer shifts.
An Opportunity to Make Operations Safer and More Efficient
With more than two decades of food service experience, Ryan Krebs is more than familiar with the hassle that comes with filtering and replacing oil. Even though safety and efficiency are already big values in the culture of his locations, elements of “old school” oil management were still standing in the way.
Heavy jugs were still being shuttled to fryers, and filtering was limited to just draining and cleaning remaining residue and gunk. Then, after its use, hot oil would be placed back in jugs to empty outside in unsightly and potentially hazardous rendering tanks. So, when Krebs looked into Restaurant Technologies Total Oil Management solution, he knew he was on to something good.
“I saw this system and I said, ‘this has to be better.’ By providing better productivity and safety, it just really resonated with me as being an opportunity to make things more efficient. One of the things that employees dread doing anywhere is fryers. So, when I saw it, I knew I had to know more.”
Krebs and his team did the research about how, with Total Oil Management, fryer oil can be filtered, removed, and added with single-switch operations. Two self-contained tanks store fresh and used oil outside the building, directly connected to the kitchen via piped lines. Fresh oil is added with a special food-grade hose, and used oil can be safely filtered or drained to an outside tank without touching a drop of oil.
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A Man With a Plan
When Krebs presented his plan to the CEO of Rutter’s Farm Stores, Scott Hartman, greater savings, efficiency, and safety were already assured. But there was one particular problem that stood above the rest for the head executive – “does it get rid of the bad rendering tanks?” With one successful test run and a chain-wide rollout later, that answer is a definite “yes!”
Safer Fryer Management, Safer Cooks
“Number one, you always want to provide a safe workplace for your employees,” relates Krebs. “And we do a great job at that.” But even with things like well-trained employees, the right safety equipment and regular cleaning schedules, the risk of injury is always there for his team. As occasional as they are, hot oil burns from removing used oil still results in thousands of dollars in lost time and urgent care visits. Thanks to Total Oil Management, those risks are now all but eliminated, taking a major burden off employees and encouraging others to take on fryer responsibilities without risks of injury.
“I’ve got an easy way to make the most dreaded process of your entire shift better.”
But it’s not just time that’s seeing major savings. With improved technology and Krebs’s access to a web portal with visibility to each kitchen’s filtration patterns, oil shelf life has increased by two days per fill, resulting in an average reduction of 15% in oil usage for each store.
Zero Issues, Complaints, or Injuries
Working directly with Rutter’s existing electrical contractors, Restaurant Technologies was able to quickly roll out the system to stores – even in older locations with smaller footprints. Thorough manager and store-level training was also led by Restaurant Technologies staff. As for the employees? “It’s empowering to say to employees ‘I have a gift for you,’” relates Krebs. “And that’s really what it’s become – it’s just saying ‘Hey, I’ve got an easy way to make the most dreaded process of your entire shift better.’ When you can offer employees something like that across the chain, I think that’s huge. Anything that you can make easier, I believe, boosts employee morale and keeps them around a lot longer.” Zero issues, complaints, or injuries later (“and I mean ZERO”), Total Oil Management is another reason behind every Rutter’s employee’s standard smile.
A Clear Choice, a Better Way
As one of the industry’s undisputed leaders in innovation, service and quality, the decision-makers behind Rutter’s Farm Stores know a good thing when they see it. “It’s an absolute proven system. At the end of the day, we want the best thing for our stores. We took an incredibly deep dive, asked a ton of questions, and made sure that it was the right system for us.” And it’s paying off, bite after bite.
- Food quality: Through Restaurant Technologies simple filtration technology and web-based monitoring, the quality and shelf life of Rutter’s fryer oil has greatly improved, resulting in even better flavor for their award-winning fare.
- Cleanliness: The replacement of dirty rendering receptacles with fully contained and spotless tanks has been a huge contributor to Rutter’s chain-wide culture of cleanliness.
- Safety and satisfaction: Dangerous and heavy oil replacement is a thing of the past, eliminating oil-related visits to urgent care, as well as complaints from relieved fry cooks.
- Response time: 24/7 monitoring and alerts help Rutter’s managers to track filtration compliance, correcting money-sapping behaviors before they become habits.
- Savings: In just three months after installation, Rutter’s saw an average of 15% reduction in oil use, as well as an average savings of two hours a week in labor costs per location.
- Efficiencies: Total Oil Management has relieved time-consuming oil management tasks from employees, giving them more time to focus on food preparation and stellar customer service.
- Sustainability: Landfill-clogging jug-in-box (JIB) packaging is now history, along with the potential environmental hazards of outdoor rendering tanks.