Save Money with an Efficient Fryer
Whether restaurant operators are building a new commercial kitchen from scratch or replacing old equipment in an existing one, many must adhere to strict budgets that can make equipment with lower upfront costs tempting. Although less expensive pieces may be more affordable at purchase, not investing in an efficient fryer can cost you more in the long run and cause your kitchen to miss out on monetary savings and performance benefits.
Why Choose an Efficient Fryer?
Selling fried foods can be extremely profitable, but the cost of operating a commercial fryer can become expensive if you aren't using an efficient piece of equipment. Making sure your business is using the right type of fryer that has been paired with the right fryer accessories can boost your kitchen's efficiency and product quality, but if you don't invest in a fryer that's already built for efficient operation, you can only do so much to decrease the damage it does to your bottom line. Investing in an energy-efficient fryer will lower your utility and oil costs without requiring any additional work from your staff, saving your business as much as several thousand dollars over the equipment's life.
Efficiency with Oil
The most expensive part of operating a fryer is often the cost of oil. Dirty oil will give foods fried in it a rancid or burnt flavor, making your final product taste unappetizing to customers. Some efficient fryers are designed with built-in filtration features that make it easier for employees to consistently filter oil when it is no longer in an optimal state. Filtering oil preserves the quality of your fried products and extends your oil's life, ultimately lowering your oil costs because you can use oil longer and don't have to replace it as often. Efficient fryers may also reduce oil costs by requiring a smaller amount of oil to produce the same yield as less capable units.
Efficiency with Electricity and Gas
Looking for ENERGY STAR certification is the simplest way to know if you're buying an efficient fryer. To earn the mark, both gas and electric fryers must meet specific requirements for energy efficiency while cooking. Cooking energy efficiency is defined by the ENERGY STAR program as, "The quantity of energy input to the food product (e.g., french fries) during the cooking process; expressed as a percentage of the quantity of energy input to the fryer during the heavy-, medium-, and light-load tests. For purposes of this specification, heavy-load will be used as a measurement of energy efficiency." A heavy french fry load is "a 3-pound load of frozen shoestring potatoes, divided evenly into 11⁄2-pound loads and placed in two baskets for cooking." 1
Based on these requirements and a 15-inch fryer, the ENERGY STAR program specifies that an open-pot gas fryers must be at least 50 percent efficient when cooking and have an idle rate of less than 9,000 BTUs per hour. Meanwhile, open-pot electric fryers must be at least 80 percent efficient when cooking and have an idle rate of less than 1,000 watts.
Savings by the Numbers
To help operators run the numbers on the differences money-saving fryers can make for their profits, the Food Service Technology Center offers a life cycle and energy cost calculator for gas and electric fryers from Frymaster, Vulcan, and other popular brands. The chart below, provided by Frymaster, gives an example of the potential annual savings offered by an energy efficient gas fryer from Frymaster.
|Input (BTU Per Hour)||120,000||95,000||80,000|
|Oil Capacity (Lbs.)||50||50||50|
|Fries Per Hour (Lbs.)||65||70||70|
|Energy Cost Per Year||$2,579||$1,738||$1,507|
|Oil Cost Per Year ($0.75/Lb.)||$5,942||$3,992||$3,992|
|Annual Cost Per Year||$8,521||$5,730||$5,499|
ENERGY STAR provides its own estimates about the potential savings offered by energy efficient fryers. The efficiency program estimates that an electric fryer with a 12-year service life can save operators as much as $1,800 over its lifetime, and a gas fryer with the same service life can save up to $5,400. If you purchase an ENERGY STAR fryer, your business may also be eligible for program rebates offered by states and municipalities, although these vary by equipment and location.
- ENERGY STAR Program Requirements for Commercial Fryers. ENERGY STAR. Accessed March 2017.