McDonald’s named Henny Penny Corporation its 2009 Worldwide Equipment Supplier of the Year at the restaurant franchisor’s global supplier meeting earlier this year. Henny Penny achieved the highest score in a supplier rating system called the Total Supplier Performance Index that ranks suppliers in five major categories, including innovation, reliability and how much savings is brought to the McDonald’s restaurant system.

The business relationship between Henny Penny and McDonald’s goes back 30 years. During that time the company supplied holding cabinets and pressure fryers in selected markets around the world. Recently, however, Henny Penny introduced a new Low Oil Volume open fryer that was approved for McDonald’s global system. In the two years since the LOV fryer was introduced system wide, thousands of units have been sold into McDonald’s restaurants in more than 30 countries.

“We are honored to receive the highest supplier award from McDonald’s,” says Henny Penny president, Rob Connelly. “This is recognition of the highest order for the work everyone here at Henny Penny does on a daily basis to earn the confidence of McDonald’s owners and operators around the world.”

The innovative McDonald’s LOV fryer is designed to use significantly less frying oil in the vats. Fast, easy filtering and automatic oil replenishment enable operators to make oil last far longer than in conventional fryers. Other features help reduce energy consumption and labor compared to older fryers.

The return on investment for McDonald’s owners and operators can be significant. “In my restaurant I will collect the return on investment for the fryer in 14 months, with energy and oil alone,” says Walter Schaub, owner of six McDonald’s restaurants in Switzerland.

Any substantially new technology requires technical support in the beginning, as stores transition from older to newer equipment. Leif Scovby Andersen, owner of four restaurants in Copenhagen, Denmark, was impressed by the reliability of the Henny Penny units and the responsiveness of the Henny Penny team. “At the time I purchased fryers for my locations, Henny Penny was releasing their version of the LOV frying technology. But I wasn’t easily convinced, until I recognized that the Henny Penny LOV was problem free.”

Steve Maggard, Henny Penny’s vice president of strategic accounts has worked with restaurant chains for many years. He knows that, to be effective, innovation must be accompanied by reliability. “If you’re going to improve over the long run, you have to be able to change the way you do things,” Maggard says. “That becomes a lot easier when you can depend on that change and be rewarded for it along the way.” McDonald’s supplier index recognizes this by associating reliability and cost-savings with innovation.

Those at Henny Penny involved with the McDonald’s business also understand that the equipment supplier index isn’t merely a way to determine who gets the award for a job well done, but also a means of encouraging suppliers to build on their efforts going forward.

“This is what Henny Penny is about,” says Sam Bailey, Henny Penny’s senior account manager for McDonald’s Worldwide. “We’re grateful to McDonald’s leadership for the vision they provide in the opportunity for McDonald’s owners to deal directly with our company and our products. We will continually strive to raise the bar on our customer service, technical support, and the value we bring to their business.”

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