Healthier Oils, Healthier Business

Case Studies • Quick-Service

Offsetting Commodity Cost Increases with Increase in Fry Life

Today’s quick-service restaurants are challenged more than ever with rising costs, as many commodity costs hit nearly 20-year highs, labor costs continue to rise and healthcare costs were added to the equation. To help offset some of these cost challenges, a leading drive-in quick-service restaurant partnered with Omega-9 Oils to evaluate the overall value proposition of their frying oil.

Like many organizations, the chain was trying to understand the value of high-stability oils and chose to begin their test with a blend of their current oil, commodity soybean, and Omega-9 Oils against 100 percent commodity soybean oil. The study evaluated fry life, overall oil cost, sustainability and flavor/quality of the products over a pre-determined period across multiple stores.

The test also included a focus on two operation drivers of extended shelf life:

Skimming: This simple process removes loose food particles in the oil. When particles from fried foods — more common with hand-breaded items such as this chain’s signature made-in-house onion rings — are left in the oil between fry cycles, they overcook in the hot oil. Over time, this leads to premature oil breakdown which will influence the quality of the fried food.

Discard Driver: The team shifted from oil color to food color and quality as the driver of discard. Oil color can be a measure of fry life, but as it is influenced by what foods are fried in oil as well as oil degradation, food color and quality are better metrics.


v Fry Life and Cost Savings

The impact of the test was immediate — within the three-week test, stores shifted from a three to four day fry life to six to seven days of fry life.

Taking the most conservative shift from four to six days shelf life (50 percent increase in fry life), annual savings would equate to over $6.5 million a year for the chain. These savings are driven by a 40 percent reduction in oil usage, which offsets the premium paid for Omega-9 Oils.

These striking results could be even further improved by using 100 percent Omega-9 Oils rather than as part of a blend.

> Food Quality, Nutrition and Sustainability

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