Ohio-based Frontline International, a leading provider of Smart Oil Management systems for foodservice operators around the world, has opened a South American sales office. The sales office, located in Bogota, Colombia, is headed by Santiago Montejo, and will allow restaurant customers and Frontline International equipment dealers on the continent to receive regular visits from a used cooking oil collection expert and environmental steward.
John Palazzo, president of Frontline International, says, “As equipment manufacturers, we want to provide customers in fast-expanding territories with excellent service, and that necessitates having a branch in their region. By opening an office in Colombia, we can respond more effectively to the needs of our customers in all of Latin America. And we are very lucky to welcome Santiago to the Frontline International family; he’s a bit of a pioneer in his region when it comes to the collection, disposal and recycling of waste cooking oil.”
Montejo will champion the environmental benefits of proper foodservice cooking oil management and be able to provide valuable on-site product installation recommendations. The Bogota office, run independently from Frontline International’s Oil Care branded operations headquartered in Puerto Rico, will allow customers throughout Latin America to receive products quickly and efficiently.
In 2011, Montejo started his own business to collect used cooking oil (UCO) with the environmentally related goals of reusing and repurposing this potentially valuable commodity, which might otherwise be disposed of improperly. At the time, there were no local biodiesel plants that could process UCO, so it had to be exported to Spain. In 2014, Montejo learned about Frontline International through the company’s website and contacted them to learn more. In 2015, Frontline International sent Montejo equipment to collect UCO from professional kitchen fryers and, by 2016, he was attending the National Restaurant Association conference on the company’s behalf.
While he originally focused on collecting and repurposing the oil, the more he learned about the safety hazards involved with handling UCO, the more driven he was to approach sales and service from the perspective of making kitchens safer, cleaner places. He has worked with the Colombian government to create and standardize formal processes for UCO collection, even assisting with writing the related regulations and lobbying the government for change. He is now an environmental consultant for both the country and for the broader South American restaurant industry.
“The equipment and technology we sell is really well received,” says Montejo. “It makes kitchens cleaner and safer while extending the life of cooking oil through filtering—a cost benefit to owners/operators. Oil collectors love how easy it is to work with our secure storage tanks, which can be placed indoors or outdoors.” He added. “Changing the way UCO is handled is, honestly, a matter of public health. Used oil is sometimes collected illegally and then resold to restaurants, which is dangerous and not hygienic. Our equipment benefits everyone and is better for the environment as well.”
Frontline International’s fresh and waste oil management equipment will continue to be designed and manufactured in the United States.