With more than 650 locations across the Upper Midwest, Kwik Trip has established itself as one of the country’s leading convenience store chains. With a robust hot food program already in place, Kwik Trip recently looked to expand its menu offerings and drive growth.
As a result, Kwik Trip introduced a complete fried chicken program with bone-in chicken as well as tenders, with boxes and meals available. Because of Kwik Trip’s commitment to quality, the chain determined that freshly breaded chicken was the ideal choice for superior flavor.
Kwik Trip rolled out its fried chicken program with an initial 15-store test, using a variety of equipment brands including breading/sifting stations, fryers and more. In order for the program to be successful, Kwik Trip needed a breading/sifting solution that would be easy for employees to use — ergonomically sound and simple to operate and maintain — while ensuring consistently delicious, high-quality results.
“Repetitive motion is one of the biggest challenges in any production facility, including restaurants,” said Paul Servais, Retail Food Service Director for Kwik Trip. “That repetitive action to manually sift [the breading mixture] — you see that as something that’s going to be a problem down the road.”
It was clear that any potential equipment solution would need to help employees produce the high volume of fried chicken required to support the new offering — all while being scalable to match the chain’s long-term growth goals.
Within a day of beginning the test, Kwik Trip knew that AyrKing was the right fresh-breading equipment solution for fried chicken. The Breader Blender Sifter (BBS) reduced the time it took to sift 30 lbs. of breading by completing the entire blending and sifting cycle in just 50 seconds — versus the typical 4-8 minutes for hand-sifting. Plus, with the BBS’ automated sifting, it was easy to ensure that spices and seasonings were evenly mixed throughout the breading, providing better consistency of flavor.
Thanks to the BBS’ easy-to-use, labor-saving design, Kwik Trip was able to launch its fried chicken program in 160 stores and will expand to 460 stores within 18 months. The chain plans to expand the program to additional stores each year.
“AyrKing has been a fantastic partner. They were able to build enough product to keep up with our demand — it’s been great,” said Servais. “The BBS is easy to use and easy to clean. It’s just a really simple piece of equipment. I don’t hear any complaints, so that means it’s doing what it should be doing. You’re not going to find a better partner than AyrKing.”