Restaurants are in the business of selling the highest-quality food they can produce at the lowest possible costs. Two of the biggest factors that cut into those margins are labor and time. Eliminating repetitive and dangerous non-value-added tasks can go a long way toward increasing profitability.
Henny Penny’s Velocity Series pressure fryers (an open fryer version is also available) are designed to tackle the costs of high-volume frying using automation, both in the cooking itself and in the maintenance of the machine. One of the tasks that is most often overlooked when it comes to commercial fryers is the need to regularly filter and change the oil. Dirty, poorly maintained oil directly impacts the quality and consistency of the food, potentially damaging the customer experience and harming the restaurant’s reputation. Velocity’s solution is an automatic filtration system that drops the oil after every cook cycle and washes the crumbs and other food bits out, before pumping the cleaned oil back into the pot. This not only removes variables from the cooking process but further eliminates the need to shut down the fryer multiple times a day to manually filter the oil. The result is labor savings and brand-standard dishes every time.
The filtration cycle takes between 2-4 minutes, about the same amount of time to unload one batch and reload the next. The quickness of the process ensures that it doesn’t disrupt the flow of the kitchen and create service backups. At the same time, Velocity is constantly monitoring the oil level and automatically topping-off the supply throughout the day. Because the oil is being constantly cleaned and resupplied, it lasts nearly four times as long and reduces discards by 80 percent, according to Henny Penny.
The efficiency of the machines has drawn across-the-board interest from operators, especially in the QSR and chicken segments, notes Josh Frank, product manager for Henny Penny. “You can create a menu item that is out-of-control delicious – but do it in a manner where you know you’re going to keep your oil costs in check, keep your labor costs in check, and do it at a tremendous ROI,” he says.
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Velocity works with only 75 pounds of oil in the fry pot – 25 pounds less than its legacy equipment – and it has no cold zone. The 24-inch-wide machine also features an eight-head pressure fryer capacity with four racks to cook food.
Although the automation is extensive, the equipment does require some personal touch: A thorough filtration and polish should be completed every day. However, kitchen staff can still get started quickly by using the automated morning startup routine, which slowly heats oil so that it’s ready once the kitchen begins to get active.
As part of its mission to reduce labor costs, Velocity is designed with an easy-to-use but sophisticated control system. Users can choose from up to 50 cook programs (expandable to 160) that are capable of multi-step cooking.
All those features add up to substantial savings over the life of the machine. The typical return on investment for a Henny Penny Velocity is only two years. “This is the revenue-generating engine of the kitchen,” Frank says.