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DQ Franchisee Improves Oil Control and Consistency

When your name and reputation are as ubiquitous as that of Dairy Queen, ensuring the quality of your food as well as the safety and cleanliness of your restaurants is of utmost importance.

Square One Restaurants, a proud Dairy Queen franchisee with 43 locations in Texas, is committed to providing quality food, exceptional service and a great experience for customers each time they visit. When oil management inconsistencies started to be an issue, the solution was Restaurant Technologies’ oil management system.

Bill Spae, CEO of Square One Restaurants since 2013, is a veteran of the restaurant industry, having worked with Dairy Queen for 47 years. This experience has given him a unique perspective on what it takes to keep restaurant operations running at an optimal level. “I have known about Restaurant Technologies’ oil management system for a while and after meeting with the company, we made a decision to test the system in Dallas. Once we tested it, we felt like it was something that could be really positive for us, so we rolled it out in east and central Texas and have had their systems in place now for almost two years,” Spae said.

“Once we tested the system, we felt it…could be really positive for us.”

Quality and Consistency

Prior to installing the system, Square One had a fairly standard oil filtration process and a goal of filtering their oil once a day. However, stores were not consistent in getting the filtration done the way it should be, Spae explained. In addition, some of the restaurants have tabletop fryers instead of floor-standing fryers, which can create an additional filtration challenge since the tabletop fryers sit higher.

“This made for some difficulty in getting the filtration done right and we just didn’t have the level of consistency among stores that I felt we needed,” he said.

The ease of filtration that comes with the Restaurant Technologies system has resulted in the stores seeing very positive changes to their fried food products. “I think anybody that has the system will tell you that their fried product is of better quality. I don’t know how it couldn’t be better given the fact that you’ve got more control and more consistency in the way it’s being filtered,” Spae said.

Initial comparisons after installation of the Restaurant Technologies oil management system confirmed that Square One’s fried product quality was better. “Our fries and chicken fingers have a more golden tone. The fries had a nice crispy outer surface but still meaty in the middle, and that’s a big deal. Obviously, we always want to serve quality food, and because we sell so much of it, when you get improved food, that is a real opportunity,” Spae said.

“Our fried product quality is better since the installation.”

Improved Safety and Cleanliness

The system has also impacted safety in the back of the house.

According to Spae, “Before, we had to dump hot grease into a bucket and take that to the back of the house and then eventually out back to a dumpster. That system was fraught with safety hazards. Not only could you get burned by hot grease, but you could also spill it on the floor, which can cause people to slip and hurt themselves. Any time you don’t have to carry hot grease around, you are in a much better place from a safety standpoint. And the floor stays cleaner, as well.”

He also pointed out another key safety benefit provided by the system: “You have an opportunity to demonstrate to crew members that you care about them and their safety in the working environment. The environment is not as greasy so obviously safety is better than in the past. I think the crew members realize this and appreciate it. When the crew feels better about their job and safer in what they do, they’ll do it better.”

“Any time you don’t have to carry hot grease around, you are in a much better place from a safety standpoint.”

Cost Savings and Sustainability

Spae said that while improvements to food quality and safety enhancement were the highest goals on the list, the next two were cost savings and sustainability. He also said that if another franchise needed encouragement about trying the Restaurant Technologies system, he would tell them they can recover their costs in a hurry just by being able to extend oil life.

“Just with that, you’re going to get your costs returned quickly. We achieved significant cost savings from extending the life of the oil. Instead of changing oil every seven or eight days like before, we only have to change it every 10 days now,” he said.

“We achieved significant costs savings from extending the life of the oil.”

Square One has also seen a reduction in workers comp claims even though the number of claims has always been small. “Fortunately, I think our team has done a good job making sure we are being as safe as we can be inside the restaurants. But in terms of what we do have in workers comp claims, they have gone down,” Spae said.

In addition, Dairy Queen has undertaken several large sustainability initiatives, such as using products that are totally recyclable––like its paper cups––and committing to creating less of a carbon footprint.

“One of the reasons we feel so good about Restaurant Technologies is that it allows us to dispose of grease in a way that is environmentally friendly, which is in line with our sustainability goals.”

The Results

Product quality: The effectiveness of Restaurant Technologies’ oil management system has given Square One Restaurants, a Dairy Queen franchisee with 43 Texas locations, better oil filtering control and consistency, which has led to a higher quality food product.
Safety enhancement: Implementing the system has helped eliminate safety hazards and demonstrated to crew members the company’s commitment to their safety.
Cost savings: Square One has experienced significant cost savings through extending the life of the oil, which has helped it recoup its return on investment quickly.
Sustainability: Being able to dispose of the oil in an environmentally friendly way fits in well with the sustainability initiatives of Square One’s parent, Dairy Queen.