Don’t Wing It: How to Keep Your Fryers Super Bowl-Ready

“Order more food.”

This is the American football fan’s philosophy when it comes to Super Bowl menu planning. Americans ate a record 1.42 billion chicken wings during Super Bowl LV, a trend consistent with the rising popularity of chicken wing consumption. As more restaurants continue to add wings to their lineup, with 36 percent of the top 500 restaurant chains now offering chicken wings on their menu, we can only expect these numbers to rise.

While you may be imagining your favorite wing (medium buffalo with blue cheese over here), you probably aren’t thinking about the piece of equipment essential to getting them on your plate: the deep fryer.

Fast Facts on Deep Fryers:

  • The cost of servicing hot side appliances, such as deep fryers, increased 38 percent in 2021 
  • The average cost of servicing a deep fryer is $735
  • The average number of service requests for electric fryers is 67 percent higher than requests for gas fryers

Fryer service volumes increased 93 percent from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 through December 2021 – leaving many operators rushing for repairs and replacements.

So how can your restaurant get on the defense when it comes to properly maintaining deep fryers? Here are some of the best practices for keeping fryers game day ready:

Best Practices for Maintaining Deep Fryers

Clean Your Deep Fryer on a Daily Basis

The manual cleaning method for daily deep fryer maintenance is:

  1. Drain the oil from the fryer when it is 120-130°F.
  2. Flush burnt debris out of the fryer with the valve wide open. Make sure the drain is clear before clearing with a fryer cleaning rod. Shut the valve.
  3. Spray cleaner inside the fryer, covering all areas. Allow to sit for several minutes.
  4. Use a metal scrubber or green scrubbing pad to clean the insides of the fryer.
  5. Rinse with water and wipe down until completely dry.

Note: Some restaurants choose to perform boil-outs on their deep fryers every few weeks instead of performing this manual cleaning method.

Use the Right Oil and Change it Frequently

All oils have different smoking points–canola oil is 400°F, peanut oil is 450°F, and vegetable oil is between 400-450°F. If you heat oil past its smoking point, the fat starts to break down and affects the flavor of food. Trust us–your customers can taste the difference. Old oil can have an “off” odor, taste bitter, or give off a fishy aroma. 

Maintain Your Oil While it’s in the Deep Fryer

You want to keep your oil as fresh and pure as possible. Do this by shaking off ice crystals before frying frozen foods, filtering the oil once a day, not salting dishes above the fryer, and using a skimmer to remove big pieces of food debris. Debris in filters require expensive, time-intensive repairs. Don’t leave the oil on cooking temperature all day either. Make sure you allow the oil to cool during off-peak hours.

Engage in Exploratory Preventative Maintenance

Schedule a preventative maintenance checkup on your unit before a big event (like the Super Bowl), to make sure nothing is failing or likely to fail soon.

Keeping your deep fryers well-maintained is essential to delivering the wings your customers crave. Having a solid playbook on managing repairs and maintenance reduces the need for emergency maintenance, R&M-related costs, unnecessary burden on employees, and menu limitations.

Ready, set, bite!