And why many top quick-service brands buy high-performance oils. 

Many of the comforting foods served by restaurants have something in common: They are fried in oil. And yet, not all restaurants take frying oil as seriously as they should, says Mike Nestor, vice president of sales at Stratas Foods. 

“The biggest mistake I see restaurants making is not treating their frying oil like a food item,” Nestor says. “You have to find the right oil for your food and not just buy a box of oil from whoever is selling it at whatever is cheapest. Operators wouldn’t do that with other food ingredients they source, and they shouldn’t be doing it with oil.” 

Treating oil as a food item is something that many of the top quick-service brands already do, Nestor says. Because Stratas Foods services a large percentage of the top quick-service brands, Nestor knows that very few of them use a commodity oil in their deep fryers. Instead, the brands find that spending a little bit more on a high-performing oil will lead to less money wasted in the long run.

“I often tell people that fryer oil is a lot like buying tires for your car,” Nestor says. “Better tires perform better and last longer. You get more miles out of it. It’s the same as your oil—in the long run, it’s going to cost you less to invest in a high-performance oil.” 

Nestor also recommends that chain restaurant brands of just about any size reach out to their supplier of choice for options to lock in long-term pricing. Drawing up a contract for high-performing oils can help restaurants avoid massive spikes in oil cost. 

With operating costs at an all-time high, Nestor and his team are talking to an increasing number of restaurant operators who are looking to cut costs where they can. Their oil program, Nestor says, may be a place that they haven’t considered enough—he encourages them to reach out to him and his team if they have pressing questions about best practices and how to get more out of oil for less money spent. 

“It’s important that operators understand what their options are, what different types of oil are available and to take a serious look at which oil makes the most sense for them,” Nestor says. “And to then figure out what the ideal source would be to purchase that oil.”

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