Filta: Frying Up Innovation
This innovative brand makes the handling of deep-friend foods safer for employees across various industries and makes the fryers themselves more environmentally sound and efficient. Support service providers rarely get the recognition they deserve, and that includes clear breakouts like the deep-fried food safety franchisor Filta.
From one idea to an empire
The concept started back in 1996 at a cricket club when a worker had serious hand burns from having to clean a fryer at his job. At the time, fryers were mostly cleaned by hand, with workers opening the machine from the bottom. This made the oil slip out and naturally posed a risk to the person doing the job, so the idea was to design a fryer that allowed workers to take the oil out from the top and filter it at the same time. The Filta machine works like a vacuum, sucking the oil out from the top of the unit and filtering it as it passes through.
With the assistance of a hydraulic filtration company to manufacture the machines, Filta started with filtration equipment only. The company soon realized that there were other him filtration machines in many restaurants but no service for them. So, Filta got vans and started its mobile oil filtration and fryer cleaning service.
As the service developed, the brand was able to acquire its first two franchisees in Scotland. They began offering master franchise licenses globally, including in Spain, Portugal and Australia. However, as the company grew, it became clear that their next big market target would be America.
Storming the US
Filta entered the US in 2003. There are deep fryers all over the country. In 2009, the brand changed the US model to multi-unit, and in 2011, the company began experiencing massive success thanks to the inclusion of an inside sales team to assist franchisees. Filta's North America business is now its biggest arm, contributing close to $6 million of the brand's $9 million first-half take for 2017. In total, the company has more than 180 franchisees servicing over 5,000 commercial kitchens daily. The non-restaurant sector is a particularly successful part of the US business as fryers are found in stadiums, hospitals, colleges and other places across the country. Filta also has national contracts with some of the world's largest catering companies, including Delaware North, Centrepoint and Compass.
The brand's core service, known as the FiltaFry, is focused on the basics of fryer management and oil filtration. Vans make weekly visits to the customer's establishment and use a special machine that removes oil from the fryer's top and filters along the way. This reduces a company's oil waste and helps keep their operations cleaner. In just 2016, this brand's customers saved at least 7,700 tons of cooking oil.
Filta estimates they only have a 2 percent market penetration right now. With another 98 percent to go and no real competition, the sky is indeed the limit for Filta.
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The FiltaFry machine. (Source: Filta Environmental)