MINNEAPOLIS--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--TEAM Schostak Family Restaurants is a company focused on quality – from quality food and quality operations, to improving the quality of the local communities in which it operates.
“RTI filtration monitoring tracks critical information, like our food-to-oil ratio, and the data is available 24 hours a day, via the online portal”
So, it was no surprise that when Restaurant Technologies, Inc. (RTI) proved that TEAM Schostak could improve food, operational and employee-workplace quality through an automated cooking-oil handling system, TEAM Schostak’s operations managers jumped on the idea.
TEAM Schostak’s goal was to correct three key issues that were a problem in its restaurants. First, manual oil handling had become a liability. Some of its locations were reporting unacceptable levels of employee injuries from slips, falls and burns related to fryer oil, which resulted in worker-compensation claims.
The second issue was improving oil handling to minimize oil waste. But, some of TEAM Schostak’s fast-casual and quick-service restaurants were unintentionally throwing away good oil due to a lack of proper oil management and visibility to usage data. Third, TEAM Schostak wanted to create a system that would improve fried-food quality and consistency through better oil management and filtration procedures.
In an effort to correct the issues, the Michigan-based franchisee installed the RTI closed-loop oil management system in its Burger King and Applebee’s franchisee locations. The comprehensive system automates the delivery, storage, handling and disposal of fryer oil – plus tracks usage and filtration data, and helps managers understand and control oil quality and cost.
RTI’s Total Oil Management (TOM) online portal provides managers with store-level visibility into oil-related activities, thus optimizing oil usage and ensuring consistent fried-food quality. Locations that had issues with throwing away good oil and frying in overused oil now had a way to use the RTI data to correct the issues through training and improved oil management. In addition, an optional filtration monitoring system helps managers track filtration practices and helps employees adhere to standard operating procedures (SOPs).
TEAM Schostak estimates that oil-use and employer-behavior insights gleaned from the RTI system will help them conserve 10 to 15 percent of the oil they use annually in each restaurant. That savings is tremendous, considering that TEAM Schostak has over 75 franchisee locations that are utilizing the RTI oil management solution, coupled with the fact that oil is the second-largest commodity expense for these restaurants, after food.
“The results we saw from RTI exceeded our expectations,” said Jim Hannan, vice president of operations for TEAM Schostak’s Burger King locations. “Thanks to RTI, we’ve gained optimal control over the cooking-oil handling process, benefiting our bottom line, our customers and our employees.”
Inside the RTI System
Before adopting automated oil handling, TEAM Schostak employees would manually empty used, hot cooking oil into pots, and carry them to disposal bins outside the kitchen doors. Because the oil was constantly exposed, spills and splashes were common occurrences.
At one point, the company had five claims related to grease (e.g. burns or slip/fall incidents) in one month. With employee workplace safety a top priority, managers knew they had to take manual oil handling out of the equation.
Just four months after implementing the RTI system, TEAM Schostak’s worker-compensation claims related to slips, falls and burns decreased. Managers hope to eliminate grease-handling injuries for good now that employees don’t touch the oil. Because the system stops spills and the inevitable spread of oil, restaurant cleanliness – from the fryer stations to the floors – is better than ever.
“Customers form instant impressions about our restaurants from the first moment they step inside,” said John Andrews, vice president of operations for 65 of TEAM Schostak’s Applebee’s locations. “If cleanliness isn’t up to par, they may never come back to our location or any others within the brand.”
The RTI oil management system is comprised of two tanks – one for fresh oil and one for waste oil – and a secure fill box mounted to the exterior of each restaurant. RTI trucks routinely fill the fresh oil tank, while siphoning out the old oil and hauling it away.
Restaurant owners can also install sensors, either built into the fryer or attached to roll-up filtration units to monitor filtration practices. The sensors automatically capture filtration times and feed the data into the TOM portal, where mangers can pull reports, compare results to their SOPs, and make changes as needed.
Filtration monitoring is a major advance over traditional filtration-tracking procedures. Most restaurants use minimal or outdated processes to determine whether filtration occurred, exactly when, and for how long. This lack of information puts oil quality – and customer satisfaction – at risk.
“RTI filtration monitoring tracks critical information, like our food-to-oil ratio, and the data is available 24 hours a day, via the online portal,” Hannan explained. “Our managers know exactly how many times each fryer at each restaurant is filtered, emptied and re-filled because of RTI’s built-in software.” When procedures fall short of TEAM Schostak’s SOPs, managers are immediately notified.
“Employees always know when to filter and replace oil, and can do it by just holding a fill wand and pushing a button,” said Roger Wood, director of operations for a large number of TEAM Schostak’s Burger King restaurants. “We love hitting that sweet spot where we’re maximizing the life of the oil and frying our food the same way each and every time – consistent texture, taste and color. If the fries aren’t golden, well, then neither are we.”
RTI – Restaurant Technologies, Inc.
Restaurant Technologies, Inc. (RTI) is the leader in smart, safe, sustainable oil and operations management technology for the food service industry. The company’s fully automated oil storage, handling and disposal management system helps increase worker safety, improve restaurant cleanliness and minimize frying oil inconveniences. RTI data-management solutions provide restaurant decision-makers with increased visibility into oil usage for better food quality and consistency. Headquartered in Mendota Heights, Minn., RTI serves more than 20,000 customers via 41 oil service centers throughout the U.S. Visit RTI online at www.rti-inc.com.
Restaurant Technologies, Inc., RTI and Total Operations Management are trademarks of RTI.