November 2003 Edition
Don't Drain Your Bottom Line When You Drain Your Fryer

The cost of frying oil is rarely included in menu analysis, but managing consumption of this critical 'ingredient' can go a long way in optimizing food-cost control. Simply observe the following 10 rules and, in no time, you'll see your shortening costs shrink.

  1. Cover the fryer when not in use, since overspray from cleaners and contamination by food particles greatly shorten oil life. Ordinary sheet pans can work well for this purpose.
  2. Never salt over the fryer - it breaks down the oil.
  3. Fry at moderate temperatures, preferably ranging from 350°F (180°C) to 360°F (185°C), to avoid the higher temperatures that degrade oil rapidly. Have your equipment calibrated at least once per week.
  4. Don't overload the fryers. They work best when the baskets are half full, and piling in too much cold product lowers the temperature of the oil, resulting in more food absorption.
  5. Keep the fryers topped off with oil. They are made to perform best when full.
  6. Cook frozen products from the frozen state. Thawing causes more water to flow into the oil, resulting in faster breakdown.
  7. Skim frequently. Keeping burned food particles out of the oil will extend its life.
  8. Filter daily to get rid of the food particles that settle to the bottom of the fryer.
  9. Thoroughly clean the fryer at least once per week and be sure to use vinegar and water to neutralize caustic detergents.
  10. Don’t cook bacon or sausage in the fryer. Mixing fats will degrade your oil more quickly.

Contributed by Tepper Kalmar Associates, Operational Consulting and Training for the Foodservice Industry, Emeryville, CA. For further information, call 510-655-0936.