This article will cover how restaurants clean their oil, how often they do it, and what happens to old oil. You might be surprised at how valuable the oil that restaurants use to cook their food that you buy might be. This oil is a nuisance for many restaurants, that want nothing more than to get rid of it.
Cleaning up the oil after a busy shift at a restaurant can be quite an overload of stress for most employees. From my experience, most individuals that are offered to do so at the end of the shift, decline to do it, aren’t thrilled about it, or try to skip out on it if possible.
It can be a messy job if the restaurant doesn’t have an easy way to do it with the right equipment. The oil can clog in the deep fryer, because of large food debris. It also can get pretty bad if lazy/careless employees refuse to clean the oil properly, or skip it altogether. This can happen in a matter of hours if the volume in the restaurant for cooking with the oil is really high.
So How Do Restaurants Clean Their Oil?
The oil in restaurants is reused until it can no longer be reused, by using reusable cooking oils. The cooking oil can be canola, vegetable, or peanut oil for example. These are the most common cooking oils used by restaurants. The oil is filtered in the the deep fryer 2 to 3 times a day to keep it fresh.
What Happens If Restaurants Don’t Clean Their Oil?
So what happens if restaurants don’t clean their oil as needed? Their guests will start complaining about the food tasting bad from the unfiltered oil. That is what happens when the oil isn’t regularly cleaned as it should be. First, it will be begin to smoke, then it will start to smell bad, and finally the food cooked in it will start to lose its quality in taste.
It will also make cleaning the oil the next time around very difficult. It can turn an hour long usual oil clean into a 4 hour job, and possibly calling outside companies to come ‘fix’ the deep fryer. The deep fryer holding the oil might also become unsafe and unusable.
So if you are worried about whether or not restaurants actually clean their oil, worry not. They really have no choice but to do it; or risk paying unnecessary costs to repair companies. They will also lose out on profit if their deep fryer can no longer function because of dirty oil clogging the system.
A deep fryer can go bad fast in only 5 to 6 hours of usage, and will most likely need to be cleaned after this time. So restaurants filter/clean their oil after about 5 hours of usage if they are smart. How ‘dirty’ the oil is depends on how they are cooking the food in the deep fryer, the volume of usage, and the type of food that is being fried.
How Long Does The Filtered Reused Oil Last?
Most restaurants will filter their cooking oil daily, and it will last them for about 1 week. The oil is then dumped out, and new fresh oil is placed in the deep fryer. They will buy gallons of new oil from other companies, which are stored and kept until it is time to completely change it out.
This same oil is also poured into the reused oil after the reused oil is filtered and cleaned for the day. This is because there is a loss of the portion of the oil when the filtering occurs. The oil levels in the deep fryer will be lower than what it was before it was filtered. It is filled with new oil to replace the loss.
After about a week, the restaurant will (or should be) do something called a boil out, which is basically a deep clean of the deep fryer. During this process, the old reused oil is transfered out of all the deep fryer sections, and dumped. The deep fryer is cleaned with cleaners, soap, and water.
How Do Restaurants Get Rid Of Oil?
Restaurants get rid of oil by making contracts with local companies that are willing to come and pick up the oil, usually for free. Neither the restaurant or the company are paid for the service. Some companies however, will pay restaurants a small amount of money to do the job.
When the agreement is made, the company will come and set up a grease trap in the back of the restaurant. The restaurant will filter their oil and dump the leftovers into the grease trap. All of the oil they dump from the boil out may also go directly into the grease trap. The restaurant will call the company to come empty their grease trap as needed, or as scheduled.
If they have no one to call to come pick up the oil, it may be dumped by the restaurant directly into the dumpster out back. It all depends on the services provided by their garbage collector.
The fuel is valued by certain companies and grease thieves alike, that use the oil for feed for livestock and biofuel. This is just two examples of many of what might be done with the oil that restaurants dispose of.
The restaurant really doesn’t care what happens to the oil, as long as it is off of their property, and disposed of in a safe way. If the oil is left too long, or overtakes their business, it can attract, flies, maggots, rodents, birds, and other pests if left unchecked. The restaurants see the disposed oil as a nuisance and a pester, even when filtering and cleaning it.
The companies that pick up the oil may also use the oil as a biofuel, which is mainly used to fuel diesel engines. The biofuel can be mixed with regular fuel, and reduce the emissions of new carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It is going to a good purpose.
The oil that restaurants get rid of can become extremely valuable, with 500 gallons of the oil profiting $1,000 dollars in worth. Also, some of the companies make millions of dollars a year picking up the oil from grease traps at restaurants.
Here in this video, you can see how valuable this oil is to these companies, and also to grease thieves:
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