The Hidden Costs of Line Flow Fries
May 05, 2023
With restaurant margins thinner than ever, a low price on something like fries can be hard to turn down. It’s one of your most popular items, after all. Why not save some money and pocket the difference?
Seems logical. But the truth is “bargain fries” may cost a lot more than you think. In fact, the hidden costs of bargain fries usually wipe out whatever savings you think you’re getting vs. premium fries. And, if that sounds self-serving coming from a fry manufacturer, consider this: the world’s most successful restaurants all serve premium fries.
Why have the biggest names in foodservice chosen to invest in premium fries?
In this article, we’ll discuss all the ways bargain fries may not live up to their name—and why premium fries may be the better value in the long run.
1. Bargain fries provide fewer servings per case
In the typical 30 lb. case, bargain fries yield up to 10 fewer servings per case than premium fries. Why?
Higher water content/lower solids. You pay for fries by the pound. But with bargain fries, more of that weight is water rather than solids like starch and proteins. This is because bargain fries are made from lower-quality potatoes with higher water content. During cooking, all that extra water evaporates in the fryer, leaving you with fewer finished servings per pound than premium fries. Your profit is literally evaporating.
Poor plate coverage. A 4 oz. serving of short fries barely covers the plate or fills the basket compared to 4 oz. of premium fries. To create a portion your customers will find acceptable, you’re forced to add more strips to the serving, further reducing your yield per case.
Now think about how much you could make with up to 10 additional servings per case using premium fries. For example, at $3.99 per serving, you could earn more than $39 extra dollars per case!* Usually that’s more than enough to offset any “savings” on the case cost of bargain fries.
2. Bargain fries drive up your fryer oil costs
If there’s one thing that is not a bargain these days, it’s fryer oil. It’s a hidden cost of serving fries: the more you use, the lower your profits. As noted above, bargain fries are loaded with water. This affects your fryer oil in two important ways, both negative.
Bargain fries soak up more fryer oil. As fries cook, the water inside them evaporates. This causes fryer oil to get drawn inside the fry. The more water in the fries, the more oil they absorb, the more oil you have to add to keep the kettle full. Plus, no one likes greasy fries.
Bargain fries degrade your fryer oil faster. Water is the enemy of fryer oil. With bargain fries, all that extra water breaks downs your oil faster so you have to replace it more often. That gets expensive!
Learn more about how to extend the life of your fryer oil.
3. Bargain fries are consistently inconsistent
With bargain fries, you never know what you’re going to get. Sometimes they’re good, sometimes they’re awful—not exactly the consistent experience you want to offer customers.
Premium fries, on the other hand, undergo rigorous quality control so you can serve high-quality fries day in, day out, and keep your customers coming back.
4. Bargain fries reduce customer satisfaction
Don’t fool yourself—your patrons will notice the poor quality of bargain fries. After all, fried potatoes are America’s favorite side dish. So rest assured your customers know how fries are supposed to look and taste. And anything less than perfect is going to generate damaging online reviews that hurt your business. Just look at these online complaints about fries!
Premium fries offer longer length, fewer defects and more consistent color and texture—the things your customers love. If you care about repeat business, choosing premium fries is a no-brainer.
5. Bargain fries diminish your overall profitability
You do the math: lower yield per case, lower potential revenue per case, higher oil consumption, less consistency, more negative online reviews. When you add it all up, bargain fries hurt your profitability and your reputation. That’s hardly a bargain.
Here are some premium fries to consider from Simplot
Simplot offers a wide range of premium fries to suit any operational challenge. From traditional fries to innovative, coated and battered products, Simplot premium fries mean business.
Simplot Blue Ribbon®
Seasoned & Battered
Seasoned Crisp Delivery+®
Bent Arm Ale®
Fries are your most profitable food item. Keep it that way.
Per serving, premium fries don’t cost much more than bargain fries. But the effect they have on profitability and patron satisfaction is huge. As a low-cost side dish or as a base for high-margin appetizers, premium fries can have an oversized, positive impact on your business. And that’s worth every penny.
*Results may vary depending on the operation and the premium fry selected.