Western Expo exhibitors offer cost-saving solutions

Aug. 31, 2009 | by Christa Hoyland
Exhibitors at the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo in San Diego, which concludes Sept. 1, continued to focus on ways to help restaurant operators cut costs.
Equity thru Energy showcased its energy management solution, a machine-to-machine device that uses sensors to control all aspects of a restaurant's energy use. Tom Debin, ETE's CEO, said the solution can help a store reduce its energy costs about $4,200 a year. ETE provides the device at no cost to operators, who then pay a small monthly management fee.
"American restaurants waste 20 to 30 percent of their energy bill daily because they don't understand where the waste is," Debin said. "They can tell you everything there is to know about their demographic and won't waste an ounce of beef, but they don't know how to trim energy. Unfortunately, you can't do that anymore and stay in business."
Swisher Hygiene Franchise Corp. showcased its line of automatic dish machines, designed to automate the washing of a restaurant's smallwares to save labor. And Sanitech Corp. featured its single-step plant sanitation systems, which clean and sanitize without chemicals by using a pressurized blast of steam.
California Rice Oil Co. featured an alternative to vegetable oil, a trans-fat free rice bran oil that lasts twice as long as vegetable oils. Kirk Scarborough, California Rice Oil Co. president, said the rice bran oil is lighter, adds no flavor to the food and has a high flash point. While the rice bran oil has a slightly higher price point than canola oil, operators recoup the difference with a better quality, longer lasting deep frying oil, he said.
Just Enjoy showcased its new iPhone application, a mobile ordering application that uses filtering technology to customize a restaurant's menu to a customer's needs. For example, customers preferring vegetarian options would see only those menu items on their iPhone. For QSRs, customers can use the app to order once they enter the store, eliminating the need to stand in line and increasing speed of service.
Pacific Alliance International Marketing Ltd. featured the Frylow, a slender, stainless steel, perforated case that holds three types of spheres that emit a negative ionic charge in a deep fryer vat to lower the oil's viscosity. Ayza Shah, Pacific Alliance president, said customers are often initially skeptical until they see that the NSF approved product extends the fryer's oil life by 100 percent to 300 percent and allows food to cook more quickly at a lower temperature.

"A lot of people think it's like voodoo at first because they don't understand what it is," Shah said. "But when we show how it works, they're quite impressed."

Topics: Equipment & Supplies , Operations Management , Trade Show

Christa Hoyland / Christa is editor of QSRweb.com and contributes to FastCasual.com and PizzaMarketplace.com. She has experience in the restaurant industry as well as 15 years as a journalist.
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