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Frying Range

With energy prices remaining high, investing in an up-to-date, more efficient frying range can help mitigate some of the recent increases

High efficiency frying ranges were first introduced to the UK from Holland over 30 years ago. “Like putting a jet engine in a Mini,” was how one experienced frier described the first one to roll off the Hewigo production line. 

Having been adopted by British frying range manufacturers in subsequent years, technology once considered revolutionary is now considered the norm for many. Range manufacturer Hewigo, for example, estimates 70% of the equipment it sells is high efficiency, while Redcar-based manufacturer ME-FF says it rarely sells a range these days that does not include high efficiency technology. 

Reduction in gas

High efficiency burners and pans work with sophisticated controllers to ensure the maximum amount of heat is transferred to and retained at the pan. One of the major benefits is the reduction in gas due to the fact it is used as efficiently as possible. And lower usage equals lower bills. 

Levels of efficiency vary between 70% and 94% depending on the make and model of high efficiency range (compared to 50-60% for a standard range), leading to potential gas savings of up to 50%.

“If operators have doubts over any manufacturers’ claim they should ask to see the appropriate certified evidence,” says Hewigo’s managing director Philip Purkiss.

Naturally, high efficiency ranges come with a higher price tag than traditional ranges so the decision to spend on new equipment is often weighed up against the potential cost savings. In light of rising energy prices, friers who were previously tempted to stick with what they have are realising that the savings add up. 

Dave Atkinson, managing director at ME-FF, comments: “If your gas bill has gone up threefold, then there has never been a better time to invest in a piece of equipment that is more efficient than an older piece of equipment and to save on your gas bill. 

“Over a five-year period, you could get finance for a new range and the savings you make in that time will almost be enough to cover the cost of the range. And, over the five-year period, you are offsetting that cost against your tax, so in some cases, operators may actually have made money!”

Dave adds: “I know times are difficult, but they are only going to get more difficult if you don’t invest in something that is going to save you money. Operators are looking at saving 5p on a pot of curry, 3p on a plastic fork, but they should also be looking at their utilities, which is one of the biggest costs and which is totally out of their control.”

This is certainly the case for Mark Sullivan who replaced a traditional range with a three pan high efficiency Kiremko island range late last year at his takeaway Big Fry in Egham, Surrey. He is saving up to £800 a month in gas, which will see the range pay for itself in five years. With wages, product costs, gas and electricity all going up, Mark believes it is absolutely vital for operators to make cost-savings while at the same time investing in up-to-date equipment.

“It’s as difficult a period of trading as I’ve ever known in all my years in the business so you have to be smart,” he says. “And one of those smart moves is buying a new frying range.”

Kenny Bale, owner of The Phat Fryer in Poole, Dorset, has also seen his gas bill fall dramatically, from £1,400 a month to £400 after replacing an old Preston & Thomas with a high efficiency four pan Henry Nuttall island range last year. 

He comments: “For a single, family-run shop, making a saving like that helps towards things like the VAT and wage increases. It’s also enabled me to make shop improvements. I’ve replaced seven chest freezers with a big walk-in freezer and the monthly payment is covered by the saving I’m making on gas.”

Kenny has also shaved money off his electricity bill, adding: “The range comes with a large switchboard and everything has its own switch, so on a quiet lunchtime, I can have one pan and one hot box on rather than everything.”

Additional efficiencies

As well as gas savings, buying a modern range with the latest technology can bring other efficiencies too: savings in oil, quicker cooking times and an improved product. 

Hewigo’s Philip Purkiss explains: “When cold chips are put into the pan, the drop in temperature of the oil is much less and the recovery time to optimum cooking temperature much quicker so that the cooking time is at a higher average temperature and up to 40% quicker. Less oil is absorbed into the food leading to a tastier and healthier product.”

Emma Dorey, manager at Whistler’s in Westbourne, West Sussex, has found this to be the case after replacing her standard efficiency range with a high efficiency ME-FF. Not only is she saving a third on oil, but she has also noticed a vast difference in pan performance.

“The product is amazing,” she says. “It’s now consistent because all the pans work the same. On the old range, we would have one pan that might work quite efficiently, so we would put a bit of fish in and the temperature wouldn’t drop very much, and then another pan we would drop a piece of fish in, it would drop by 30°C and then when it came back it would overshoot by 10°C. Now all of the pans work exactly the same.”

Likewise, The Phat Fryer’s Kenny Bale, adds: “The cookability of my Henry Nuttall is amazing. We have always had queues out the door and, although we still have queues, we are getting through them in half the time.”

Maintenance

One concern for shops when they invest in a high efficiency frying range is the cost to maintain it, however, range manufacturers have stepped in to make it as affordable as possible. 

Henry Nuttall, for example, offers a seven-year pan warranty as standard and says that a pan change on its high efficiency range is comparable with a traditional range as the design allows pans to be replaced without welding. 

Dutch range manufacturer Florigo introduced a five-year pan warranty for new customers last year, while KFE offers the option of a ten-year pan warranty to all its customers. 

Service contracts to help spread the cost of servicing and maintaining equipment are also available (a range needs to be serviced annually at least) as are finance options which allow shops to budget for a new frying range with fixed monthly repayments. And remember, the savings made in gas, oil and raw materials will help cover part – and in some cases all – of the repayments.

Florigo 01527 592 000 www.florigo.co.uk

Henry Nuttall 01909 560808 www.henrynuttall.co.uk

Hewigo 0121 544 9120 www.hewigo.com/UK

KFE 01778 380 448 www.kfeltd.co.uk

Martyn-Edwards Frank Ford 01642 489868 www.me-ff.com

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