Rutter’s Brings Automation to the Fryer

An automated fryer oil management system is bringing efficiency and safety to the convenience retailer’s foodservice operation.

October 10, 2017

ELMHURST, Ill. – At Rutter’s, automation—a buzz word in today’s retail environment—is at play to help bring safety and efficiency to its foodservice operation. The convenience store chain, based in York, Pennsylvania, is relying on an automated system to filter and recycle fryer oil.

Ryan Krebs, director of foodservice at Rutter’s, explains in Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazine that the 68-store chain recently transitioned to a dual tank, automated fryer oil management system. Krebs, with 30 years of foodservice experience, told the magazine that 55 of Rutter’s locations have made-to-order foodservice operations, while the remaining 13 locations use a more traditional c-store foodservice model, including roller grills.

A manual system requires a crew to manually pump grease from the fryer to a vat, wheel the grease for dumping and then lift 35-pound jugs of oil into the fryer—“a dirty and dangerous task,” says Krebs. With the automated system, he explains that when it’s time to filter the oil, “a staff member puts a hose in the fryer that connects to a box that filters the shortening. It gets the debris out of the oil and treats it to help extend the life of the oil. By flipping a switch and using a wand, a staff member can replenish the oil in a fryer.”

When it’s time to replace the oil, Krebs says that the staff member presses a button and pumps the old oil into the recycling tank. Another press of a button allows new, clean oil to be pumped into the fryer from an onsite holding tank.

“Using this system extended the shelf life of our fryer oil by two days, and with our volume that is significant,” Krebs told the magazine. “We have been able to reduce labor to the point that this system has already generated a positive return on investment.”

Krebs believes that the c-store foodservice environment is ripe for automation, particularly in “creating efficiencies for years to come. … Automation will help streamline our operations to help our team spend more time with our customers and we will continue to set goals to keep Rutter’s on the forefront of innovation.”

Rutter’s is the oldest vertically integrated food company in the United States, and next week at the NACS Show, attendees will see first-hand how Rutter’s delivers high-end foodservice solutions during the debut of the 2017 NACS Ideas 2 Go program. The latest installment of Ideas 2 Go, with decades of showcasing the convenience and fuel retailing industry’s brightest ideas, will be shown during the NAC Show General Session on Thursday, October 19.