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Weis Markets, Kroger banner Fry’s Food Stores and Price Chopper have formed new partnerships with Restaurant Technologies, a provider of cooking oil management solutions, at a time of rising consumer demand for hot prepared foods in grocerant solutions. Over the next few months, the supermarket chains will implement the Total Oil Management system, a technology that automates the entire life cycle of fryer oil.
“Prepared foods have skyrocketed in the grocery space, with annual revenue hiking from $12.5 billion to $28 billion in the last few years,” noted Jim English, director national accounts at Mendota Heights, Minn.-based Restaurant Technologies. “For this reason, more progressive grocery operators are modernizing the high-risk task of manually managing fryer oil in order to safely and efficiently offer a variety of quality fried foods. These three brands see the value of having a deli operation that functions as efficiently as any commercial kitchen.”
Seeking to enhance the quality of its fried chicken, Sunbury, Pa.-based Weis determined that it needed a solution that addressed quality, safety and efficiency. This led to an agreement to have Total Oil Management implemented in 100 locations to help deliver a consistent fried chicken offering across the chain as well as considerably improve efficiencies and safety.
Fry’s disposal of its used cooking oil was so frequent that the likelihood of unsafe working conditions and wasted oil grew unacceptably high. Restaurant Technologies’ training and support, along with the installment of the Total Oil Management system, helped Tolleson, Ariz.-based Fry’s deli teams maximize oil life and improve associates’ handling of cooking oil. The system is expected to be installed in more than 117 Fry’s locations.
When Schenectady, N.Y.-based Price Chopper began converting several of its locations to the fresh-focused Market 32 concept, the grocer sought technology solutions to optimize operations and improve food quality. Additionally, Price Chopper was using more cooking oil than necessary. With Restaurant Technologies, however, the chain anticipates cutting oil usage by 10 percent in around 100 of its stores.
“As we continue to evolve our Market 32 concept, it’s important to me that my deli equipment works even harder,” said Price Chopper Director of Food Service John Mazzacco. “The opportunity to take out any manual method of food preparation without sacrificing food quality and by using technology is key across the board.”
In 2016, the system was rolled out to about 2,000 grocery locations, with another 350 completed so far this year.