While Col. Sander’s famous “finger-lickin’ good” chicken taste has stayed the same for decades, some KFC restaurants have entered a new era when it comes to handling its fryer oil.
Restaurant Technologies, Inc (RTI) is helping Central Iowa–based KFC franchisee Kevin Schlutz optimize his oil-management operations with its innovative closed-loop process and services.
The RTI Total Oil Management (TOM) solution eliminates the often messy and time-consuming process of manually handling oil, while maximizing Schlutz’s food quality and bottom line.
“Managing oil effectively is vital in our business because it affects cleanliness, employee safety, and operational efficiency,” Schlutz says. “Plus, we can’t afford to overuse or misuse shortening because it affects the flavor, quality, and consistency of our products.”
RTI TOM automates KFC oil handling, thus maintaining oil at peak freshness and making the handling process safer and more efficient.
Operators add, filter, and dispose of oil, even while hot, without touching a drop. The closed-loop system comprises two tanks—one for fresh oil and a second for waste oil—and a secure fill box mounted to the restaurant’s exterior.
The RTI Web-based TOM portal provides operators with at-a-glance, real-time visibility via reports showing store-level activities like oil usage statistics, shortening quantities, oil quality, and filtration data.
Restaurant managers can access the information with an Internet connection.
“We can monitor, up to the exact minute, which of our stores are using too much shortening and those not discarding enough,” Schlutz says. “Employees no longer need to waste time ordering shortening or scrambling when not enough is in stock. Real-time reporting notifies central managers before they even know it.”
The new system also increases worker safety. KFC fryer operators previously had to pour oil from jugs into fryers. The heavy jugs, hot grease, and slick floors were a recipe for employee back strains, falls, and burns.
They also used traditional “grease shuttles” for used oil disposal. Eliminating the “grease shuttle” removes a kitchen safety hazard.
Because KFC doesn’t buy and discard oil jugs and boxes, franchisees avoid storage headaches and improve restaurant cleanliness. Eliminating oil packaging waste also supports the KFC sustainability initiative.
“Restaurants that care about quality need to focus on food and employee improvements,” says Jeff Kiesel, CEO, RTI. “Franchisees like Kevin Schlutz understand this. Proper oil management—from delivery and storage through handling and disposal—gives them peace of mind when it comes to customer satisfaction, employee safety, and efficient operations.”