If fried food is part of your menu then you have a duty to customers to serve it in good, clean oil. FEJ looks at how one major hotel chain has slashed its oil costs while maintaining its cooked product at optimum quality for longer.
It is fair to say that there has been a real sea change in attitudes towards sustainability in the foodservice sector over recent years. Chefs have taken huge steps in terms of sourcing local, organically-produced food, while improvements in kitchen technology have helped drive down energy costs.
But sometimes even that is not enough. One of the areas that continues to receive more and more attention is the oil in which food is cooked in. Operators that produce a high volume of fried food will understand this challenge more than most given the benefits of frying in clean filtered oil.
Fortunately, there have been some significant developments in this area of the market, not least in terms of Vito, one of the foremost providers of oil filtration systems for commercial use. Its equipment is deployed by a number of chains and groups in the UK, who are seeing results in terms of cost, time and environmental savings.
One chain benefitting from its systems is Crowne Plaza, which can’t afford for food to taste greasy or burnt given guests expect the highest quality service level at all times. Its London Docklands hotel caters for up to 300 guests a day, so opted for Vito oil filter machines to ensure the quality and consistency of its food.
Describing itself as ‘luxury at the dock’, Crowne Plaza Docklands offers four-star accommodation with 210 rooms and a bustling Docklands Bar & Grill restaurant. The hotel invested in a Vito 80 machine following a recommendation from The Dorchester, which also uses the technology. It identified the equipment as the ideal tool to reduce oil consumption, remove carbonised particles and achieve healthier fried food.
Pedro Da Silva of the International Hotels Group, which owns the Crown Plaza, comments: “As well as the cleaner tasting food, Vito has saved us £137.50 a week on oil, reducing our costs by 55%. We use the Vito daily and filter the oil twice a day; after breakfast and before service in the evening. We purchase oil filters from Vito, too.”
The Docklands Bar & Grill uses its deep fat fryers for hash browns, fish and chips, and onion rings for its gourmet burgers. The chefs find the machines easy to use and have all undergone training on how to operate the filters.
The Vito 80 system specified for the Crowne Plaza is ideal for all fryers from 20 litres upwards, but the brand also offers other options. This includes the X1 model for customers with multiple kitchens or heavily-used fryers with up to 80 litres capacity, as well as the Vito 50 system, suitable for medium use fryers with up to 20 litres capacity.
Vito has just become an approved supplier of the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), underscoring the environmental credentials of the oil filter systems that it supplies.
Rob Frank, MD of Vito, says its systems contribute to a healthy environment. “Our filters are completely biodegradable as they are made from cellulose, so you won’t pollute the environment.”
Frank adds that as the Vito system saves up to 50% of a user’s oil, it indirectly results in offsetting emissions caused by the production and transportation of frying oil. “By using Vito oil filter systems you are reducing the demand for farming crops required for the product,” he says.