Investing in a new frying range is an opportunity to benefit from the latest technology. But what are the newest innovations and how can they improve your business?
With trade shows only just returning after Covid and shop owners limiting who they let into their premises, it’s been a difficult few years for those in the market for a new frying range to get up close with equipment and try anything out. But, rest assured, while operators have been viewing online brochures, trawling social media and asking for recommendations, manufacturers have been busy innovating.
It’s not often a new range comes onto the market, but last year saw the launch of the Edge range from Florigo. Designed specifically for online purchasing, customers can build their own wall, counter or island range, choosing up to three pans (four on an island range), the position of their chip box, plus whether they want extras such as baskets, a mobile scrap box, mirror doors and triple filtration.
In doing the leg-work yourself, you benefit from a cheaper price compared with a conventional Florigo – prices start at £29,750 for a wall range – ideal for those that want the design and technology associated with a Florigo without the sales calls and visits.
It’s not just the way the range is sold that has changed, advances in pan construction mean all new Florigo range orders include an extended warranty of up to 10 years. In addition, all new ranges feature an OLED controller available as standard. The new piece of kit provides easier access to timers while giving engineers better access to diagnostics.
Having spent 25 years innovating in frying ranges, the past two have been no different for KFE, having introduced touchscreen Fry digital controls as standard on all new Kiremko ranges. Making the process of setting frying temperatures and times easier, they also help with filtering oil.
Paul Williams, managing director, comments: “Previously on a Kiremko range filtration required pressing a separate valve whereas now it can be done via the touchscreen, making it much easier. It also has a time delay between switching the pan off and operating the filtration system which helps protect the pans as it allows them to cool down before filtering the oil.”
Controllers are clearly an area for innovation with Henry Nuttall also announcing its ranges now come with an OLED upgraded version of its previous Stork control. It has a lot of similar functions to its predecessor but has the addition of an easier to use interface and the ability for Henry Nuttall to remotely tap into the range and troubleshoot problems more efficiently.
Sales manager Jack Price comments: “It’s great for troubleshooting because we can detect faults more easily and we can fix certain things remotely, which speeds up the service side of things and reduces downtime for our customers. The controller holds a year’s worth of information, everything since the last service, so we can dial into trends, see how often the range is being used, when the burner is being turned on and off, and suggest different ways that the operator could use the range to their advantage.”
It’s not just how a range performs that is under constant review, how the equipment looks is also becoming more important and a considered part of a shop or restaurant refurbishment.
Dave Atkinson of British range manufacturer Martyn Edwards-Frank Ford (ME-FF), is being called upon more and more to rise to the challenge of creating bespoke frontages for his ranges. He comments: “Customers are getting far more adventurous and whilst in the past they have aspired to be like the big boys, such as Burger King, Pizza Hut and Frankie and Benny’s, fish and chip shops have risen to that and in many cases are actually better at design now than them.”
Whereas a few years ago ME-FF was simply asking what colour customers want, now it’s what design do they want, with Dave adding: “We put laser cut images on the front, we light those images up, we’ve got so many different materials we can use for the front of the equipment now. Something we’re introducing a lot more now is granite. It’s a material customers have used for tiles and door frames but now it’s starting to reach the front of frying ranges. That brings its own challenges as we have to make it moveable for servicing but it turns a piece of industrial equipment into a piece of furniture.”
Another relatively new option is the ability to powder coat a frying range, giving shops more options other than the traditional stainless-steel look. Range supplier KFE estimates around 20-30% of its customers opt for this hardwearing coating, which it offers in over 1,500 colours. Paul adds: “A lot of friers still like the stainless-steel look, but for those that have a clear focus on their image, powder coating is a great way to complement their own branding and colours and really make the range part of the business.”
With operating costs rising by the day, some friers will be weighing up the pros and cons of investing in a new frying range versus sitting tight. However, KFE’s Paul believes there’s never not a good time to invest in a new frying range not least because of the improvement in technology but also because of the opportunities to configure your new range layout to suit a growing business.
Paul comments: “We’re seeing this a lot lately where customers are finding that with the growth of click and collect and delivery their current range layout isn’t working for them anymore because their business is totally different now to two years ago.
“As ordering systems change, so should the frying range so that operators can be 100% confident they are meeting capacity in the most efficient way.”
With some local authorities and organisations offering grants, schemes and loan programmes to encourage investment in green technologies that increase energy efficiency or reduce carbon emissions, Paul says it’s another reason why now is a great time to invest. He adds: “Kiremko ranges have the highest efficiency pans on the market and because we have the certification to prove that, we have been able to help several fish and chips shops secure grants to put towards the cost of their frying equipment. These can vary from a few thousand pounds to tens of thousands of pounds and friers benefit not just from the initial grant but the on-going cost savings our frying ranges bring.”
It’s a similar sentiment from Henry Nuttall’s Jack Price who says the industry needs to remain positive, adding: “New ranges are going to be more efficient on gas and give a much better performance each time while built-in oil filtration will maximise your oil life, giving you at least twice as long. So investing can help improve margins by saving shops money but also the investment going forward can help lift a shop to a higher turnover, especially if this allows them to add click and collect and delivery services.
“It’s an important time to invest in your equipment and make sure your business is fit for the next ten years.”
Florigo 01527 592 000 www.florigo.co.uk
Henry Nuttall 01909 560808 www.henrynuttall.co.uk
KFE 01778 380 448 www.kfeltd.co.uk
Martyn Edwards-Frank Ford 01642 489868 www.me-ff.com