“It’s easy,” we say. “Like turning on the kitchen sink. Push a button and oil flows to the fryer vat. Waste oil works similarly in that our waste oil tanks are like hot water tanks that work in reverse. Push a button and the vat empties and oil flows to the containment tank. Simple, right?
Conceptually, yes. But there are tons of questions we hear and they are smart good questions because, ultimately, this isn’t easy stuff. Cooking oil is an expensive commodity and you are a trader in this sought after by-product. Second, and more importantly, cooking oil is critical to the quality of your food.
What are the main challenges faced by users of frying equipment?
I would say the “big three” challenges are safety—reducing slips, falls, and burns from hot oil; environmental conditions and sanitation—in the outside parking lot and in the kitchen; and wasted resources from the inability to monitor waste oil volume.
What makes your equipment different than other similar systems?
Our offerings include many unique and customizable setups depending on your need, volume, and conditions for a safer cooking oil management system. But one thing that really sets us apart from others is that, with Frontline International, you purchase your equipment and own it wholly. Other companies’ equipment is offered only as a monthly rental, a cost you incur year-after-year-after-year, no matter what your usage. This makes us not only a better value than other similar products, but also, since we are not interested in gaining you as a “lifetime rental” customer, our representatives are truly and purely interested in just finding the best solution for your kitchen, not the most profitable.
I like the idea of owning the equipment instead of continuing to incur monthly rental costs. But how long does it typically take to pay off?
We installed a fast-food restaurant that paid their equipment off in 18 months back in 2004 and their system is still working perfectly after 13 years. Now that’s a return on investment! Less allegorically, it depends on your oil volume. Obviously, the more oil you use the more rebates you collect. But there are intangibles, like fewer worker compensation claims, increased productivity, reduced insurance premiums and more. In aggregate, customers report an approximate one to two years to pay off the initial equipment purchase, and then you own the equipment free and clear.
How much cooking oil does a typical operator need?
It really depends on the product being fried and the volume of the product. Using chicken as an example, a rule of thumb is about 120lb of cooking oil a week is a good base number for a store doing average volume.
Is your equipment available in every country?
We boast 26,000 installations on six continents. In 2016, we were part of installations in many new locations, including France, Saudi Arabia, and parts of Asia in which we did not previously have a footprint. We are making plans to expand our European, African and Middle Eastern presence in 2017. Our operations in Puerto Rico are a proving ground for new technologies and gives us easy leap to South America.
Do you provide, sell or buy oil?
Frontline International is not a buyer or seller of oil. One of the advantages of our equipment is that you can use your preferred vendor for buying and rendering cooking oil. Our EZ Oil system for handling of fresh, boxed oil can hold boxes or jugs in the upside-down rack system, increasing yields by up to 10%.
Is there a warranty?
All Frontline International equipment includes a one-year warranty on all parts and components. Extended warranties are available.
Are your systems UL listed?
Globally, there is not a single standard that applies everywhere. When it comes to waste oil equipment, there are different certifications that should be considered. For example, CE Marking is European. Frontline International sells globally and all of our equipment carries UL, UL Sanitation Listed (U.S. and Canada), and CE markings. We always recommend that in addition to certification marks, dealers ensure there are no additional site-specific standards that must be met as well.
As it relates to Fresh Oil, what hazards or negative conditions would operators hope to eliminate?
QSR kitchens can be hazardous places. When filling a fryer manually, cooking oil can easily spill or splash. Same thing when fryers are drained manually. Oil on the floor can cause injuries from slips and falls, and handling hot oil can cause burns and scalds. The National Safety Council and other agencies consistently list slip-and-fall accidents as the leading cause of injuries in foodservice establishments. Burns aren’t far behind. Compensation and medical costs associated with employee slip-related injuries alone total over $70 billion annually.
So what can an operator do about oil degradation?
Frontline’s M3 data management system, combined with the EZ Oil fresh-oil dispensing system and direct-plumbed waste oil equipment, now offers a tool that enables you to program your fryers to automatically top-off and filter oil—all in an effort to enhance the taste of your product and to ensure consistent results. Every time an employee uses a fryer—frankly, the tool can be programmed to work as soon as the cash register rings up a fried food order—the equipment immediately ‘talks’ to the M3 management system, which signals to the EZ Oil system precisely how much oil to add to the vat. The automated top-off feature ensures consistent results from batch to batch. The tool also works with a battery of fryers by reading the needs of each individual piece of equipment, potentially cooking a different product then the next unit in line.
I use bulk oil, why should I change?
You have to have a lot of volume to justify bulk fresh oil, but some operations have that volume and for that, we too offer fresh oil bulk tanks. However, with out that volume, bulk oil tends to spoils fast unless it is blanketed in nitrogen. Once the oil leaves the rail car in which it is transported, the nitrogen protection is gone. Another consideration is waste; most tanks can leave up to three inches of oil in the bottom that doesn’t get pumped out and thus goes to waste. Lastly, you want to make sure you aren’t getting locked into a rental deal where fresh oil is tied to a contract rate. The equipment cost is minor when you consider that Cooking oil is the second most expensive component in a frying program after the food. Filtration extends the life and maintains the quality of fresh oil, increasing your investment.
I’m tight on space. Where do I have to put the equipment?
Anywhere. I mean, kinda really within reason. Many people think waste oil containment system needs to be positioned near the fryer, but that’s not the case. Remote plumbing moves oil from the fryer to wherever the tank is positioned. Collection ports on the facility exterior allow oil collectors access without care or consideration for the actual tank location. If no room exists inside, no problem, we have tanks specially designed for outdoor placement. Operators really can be made comfortable that, wherever the tank is, they won’t have to really deal with it; rather, it’s just silently doing its job.
What about the quality of the used oil, does that affect rebates?
Frontline equipment can help you earn average rebates of $.15 to $.25 more per pound because Frontline International’s filtered, cleaner oil is worth more to oil collectors. We are recognized to deliver the best yellow grease yields in the industry, up to 95% pure. No oil flows into our tanks without undergoing a deep filtering. Renders (oil collectors) know the value of Frontline equipment. In fact, they become our best sales professionals, advocating for our quality equipment to their customers in foodservice.
Do you offer a double walled storage tank for outside use?
Double-wall containment, double containment, reinforced tanks—however your code writes it, yes, we have them. Basically, many stormwater codes require that tank storage outside must use diked secondary containment or a double walled tank. This need to be specified by the customer at the time of order.
I am an independent operator with older equipment and need a low-cost solution. I want to make oil handling safer, but can only do so much. What’s my best bet?
Taking steps to make the kitchen safer shouldn’t be cost-prohibitive. Affordable and customizable solutions are available for every size kitchen and operation. One of our most affordable options is the wheeled Caddy System, which is great for really tight spaces, older equipment, or limited budgets.
Will Frontline International’s equipment help me lower my Workers’ Compensation insurance premiums?
Yes! Not only will you achieve a savings on premiums, the more important thing is the chances of an accident are dramatically reduced with our fresh and waste oil solutions, as the kitchen is safer without employees handling oil. This means less potential for lost time, lowered risk of accidents and dramatic overall savings.
Why invest a lot in oil management, isn’t waste oil a target for theft?
All Frontline International collection ports, including those on tanks positioned outside, feature anti-theft electronic locking mechanisms. Only you or your renderer (oil collector) have the ability to unlock the tanks—either by entering a passcode at the point of the tank or using our web-based management tool. That’s right, you can lock or unlock the oil port from anywhere in the world.
Do you have a system to remove my grill grease?
We didn’t stop thinking at the fryer. Accidents can happen whenever and wherever grease may be in your kitchen. That’s why we designed the Frontline Grill Grease System. Our hands-free system easily fits underneath your grill, allowing for grease to drain into the top opening throughout the day. Frontline’s fully automatic grill grease system helps ensure cleaner grounds, less employee downtime, labor savings, and greater employee safety. Another dirty, tough job in the kitchen just got easier!