August 11, 2010
By: Michael C. Juliano, Staff Writer
Source: Stamford Advocate
Since launching a Filta Environmental Kitchen Solutions franchise in September, the business partners have been cleaning out deep fryers and purifying the oil at area restaurants through the use of a specially designed filtration machine.
“We thought it was a very interesting business, a little different from what you find out there,” said Groglio, a middle school teacher and former rental car company owner. “I call it a dialysis machine for cooking oil.”
The franchise has three technicians each with vans and oil-cleaning devices, which are about the size of a shopping cart, making stops at some 80 clients in Fairfield, New Haven and Hartford counties, Groglio said.
“We take the most dangerous and disagreeable job out of the kitchen,” said Groglio, who notes that most restaurant accidents involve maintaining deep fryers. “Everyone hates doing that job because it’s disgusting.”
The weekly cleaning process, which takes about 15 minutes a fryer and takes place while the oil is still hot, involves running the oil through the filtration machine while the deep fryer is vacuumed and then cleaned with a non-toxic, alcohol and water-based solution.
“We then put the purified oil back and you’re ready to go,” Groglio said, adding that the cleaning, which costs about $30 a fryer, extends the life of most oils from one week to two weeks. “We try to avoid really busy times so as to not disrupt service.”
They also offer to take the oil to a biofuel plant in Waterbury free of charge for the production of biodiesel through the Filta Bio program, said Neeley, an account executive in the wholesale banking industry.
“In most cases, our cleaning service is self-financing because it extends the life of the oil,” he said.
The franchise also carries a Filta Cool mineral-containing panel that can be installed monthly on the ceiling of refrigerators to reduce moisture, Neeley said.
“We’re still getting into that side,” he said.
The startup cost to buy a franchise from Orlando, Fla.-based Filta Environmental Kitchen Solutions, which was founded in England in 1996 before coming to the United States in 2002 and has franchisees in 20 countries, is about $125,000, including training, a van and equipment, Groglio said.
Restaurants are always looking for new methods and equipment that will help them save money, especially in today’s economy and with state laws going into effect next July concerning the storage of cooking oils, said Nicole Griffin, president of the Connecticut Restaurant Association.
“This (Filta) might help restaurants,” she said.
Owning a franchise that caters to the restaurant industry can be successful because food is franchising’s largest category, said Steve Dubin, president of the New England Franchise Association.