Del Taco Turning To Innovative Kitchen Technology To Save on Labor Costs
As states like California race towards inflated minimum wages as high as $15 per hour by the year 2022, more and more companies are looking at innovative ways to save labor costs. Del Taco is at the forefront of this movement in the franchise space. It’s looking to help its franchisees reduce labor costs and boost their bottom line by introducing new kitchen equipment. Think of it as rising wages meets kitchen efficiency head on.
It’s a bold movement and one that will benefit franchise operators, says Del Taco’s VP ops innovation, Kevin Pope. “A franchisee spending one less hour per day on prepping food is potentially $105 per week or as much as $5,460 annual savings depending on restaurant volume.”
Pope says the brand has already developed and launched a number of new kitchen machines and that others are in the development pipeline. Everything from washing dishes and introducing mixers and new prep equipment, to space maximizing storage grids and shelving, no area of the kitchen is going without innovation and updates.
Some highlights of the equipment Del Taco has been working on include: The PowerSoak Warewash and EcoLab warewash, which Pope says can eliminate significant time each day simply by changing how dishes are done. There’s the switchover from the old tomato dicing procedure to a Sammic Food Processor that can also save time. They are even looking for ways to upgrade how tortillas are heated in the restaurants with a new solution that would provide consistent tortillas – and that’s more than 250 million tortillas every year.
Naturally, innovation and change require capital expenditures on both the part of the franchisor and franchisee, but Pope says the ROI makes it all worth it. “When we show our franchisees the ROI after implementing these new machines, the case makes itself. Some of these installs have a 2 year or less payback,” he says.
From the nuts and bolts side, the brand has also worked to streamline the changeover process making install times minimal, if any at all. Many of these innovative upgrades are implemented in phases, utilizing the brand’s CTM’s (Certified Training Managers) to perform personalized hands on training at restaurants. For example, the new Sammic Food Processor doesn’t require any restaurant down time. The new Powersoak Warewash unit can be installed in as little as 3 hours, often overnight. The result is franchisees are able to continue serving their customers in a more efficient way with little or no downtime to their daily business.
“We work with our franchise groups individually to help them sequence and benefit in the areas that make the most sense for their business,” says Pope. “We encourage and guide our franchisees to continue to upgrade their business to ensure quality, service, and profits are all maximized.”
Find out more about the Del Taco brand and learn more about franchising at http://www.deltacofranchise.com.