Strategic Restaurants, which owns 292 Burger King locations across the U.S., tested Restaurant Technologies Inc. oil management solution in its Florida Panhandle units.

The company yielded improvements in employee safety as well as oil usage optimization and has begun rolling it out to more restaurants.

"After only three or four months, we knew the RTI system was the way to go, and we began rolling it out to all of our Burger Kings," said Steve Grossman, chief financial officer of Strategic Restaurants, based in California. "The results were remarkable."

The company has reduced shortened quantities, equipment maintenance expenses and insurance costs. The deployment has also resulted in one to two fewer insurance claims per year — which can cost upwards of $100,000 each, according to a press release.

RTI's oil management solution completely automates the oil-handling process. Instead of relying on employees' guesses about when to filter oil — usually based on the way it looks — the system determines the optimal timing that will maximize freshness and minimize waste.

"Employees used to have to schlep the old oil out to the back of the restaurant and dump it in a container, where it would eventually be picked up and disposed of," Grossman said. "Now it's all automatic — employees just push a button, and new oil is added to the fryer, while old oil is filtered or discarded."

The closed-loop system consists of two tanks inside the restaurant — one for fresh oil, and the other for waste oil — and a secure fill-box attached to the restaurant's exterior. RTI's trucks deliver fresh oil and remove old oil through the fill-box, eliminating the risks of spillage and waste.

Administrative responsibilities are also reduced as RTI manages all oil sourcing and removal for the franchise. This efficiency is further enhanced by the RTI's web-based Total Oil Management (TOM) portal, which gives managers real-time, store-level visibility into oil usage statistics through an Internet connection.

"We have an entirely new level of information that we didn't have before," Grossman said. "We can see which stores are using too much or too little oil, filtering too many times or too few, and work to remedy any problems — all by just looking at a website. It's much simpler — there's no more lugging hot oil, no more judgment calls on whether it's time to filter or not, less spilling and cleaning, and fewer injuries."

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