Popeyes

Challenge

It’s easy to love chicken from Popeyes. Its coating creates “the perfect crunch,” but the breading process challenges consistency and efficiency. Hand-breading can often skyrocket the cost of ingredients and lead to inconsistent coating in batches of chicken.

For quality not to suffer, it was time to search for improvements.

Solution

For several franchises across North America, AyrKing’s DrumRoll proved to be the perfect solution to meet brand standards.

The DrumRoll Automatic Breading Machine allowed Popeyes to reduce labor and waste while increasing the consistency of breading.

Creating a consistent crunch

Many Popeyes franchisees agree that consistency is the greatest benefit of the DrumRoll.

Once Ted Duboise, Director of Operations at QFC, Inc., tested the DrumRoll, he never looked back, incorporating the machinery into all his restaurants. “Consistency is what we all hope and pray for every day,” said Duboise. “Once you load flour in the DrumRoll, you get the same product every time, consistent day to day and shift to shift.”

“When you hand toss flour, sometimes it gets more flour on top of the crust,” said Alberto Cruz, VP of Operations at the Parikh Network. “The DrumRoll gives the coating just enough flour to taste the product, not crust first. Plus it tumbles chicken exactly the right amount, eliminating any human errors that may come from rushes.”

Mitigating labor challenges

When QFC tested the DrumRoll at one of its locations, they found it cut down on labor and the time getting chicken out. An operation that typically needed eight cooks to meet demands was able to cut back to 4-6 cooks.

“Adding the DrumRoll led to considerable savings and a better, more efficient team,” said Corey Rice, market leader-Columbus at QFC, Inc. “We even saw less turnover among cooks because it increased productivity in the kitchen. An overall win.”

Several Popeyes franchisees have noticed using the DrumRoll alleviates training issues with its simple processes.

“The DrumRoll makes it very easy for cooks to learn,” said Gilberto Chavez, District Manager at the Parikh Network.

Saving on ingredients

The DrumRoll from AyrKing uses 13% less breading and 5% less fryer oil than hand-breading operations. Those numbers are what led Lori Woo, VP at Popeyes Hawaii, to become interested in the equipment.

Bags of flour are expensive everywhere, but in Hawaii they’re especially high. One Hawaii location saw flour efficiency bounce from 78% to 87% after using DrumRoll just 50% of the time. Once the operators began using the DrumRoll 90% of the time, flour efficiency increased to 110% — they were actually using 10% less flour than the theoretical usage.

“Once I saw the savings, I had two more stores start using the DrumRoll,” said Woo (Popeyes Hawaii). “Even with maintenance and parts replacement, the cost of the equipment was paid off within the year.”

The DrumRoll has saved the Parikh Network, owners of 120 stores from Minnesota to Southern Virginia, more than five bags of flour a week in one of its stores during a typical week. When they’re busier, the DrumRoll saves the store closer to eight bags of flour.

“I look at numbers every week and can see a significant difference between the stores that use it consistently and those that don’t,” said Duboise (QFC, Inc.).

How the process works

The DrumRoll provides cooks with a hassle-free, accelerated option to bread chicken. Plus, it integrates perfectly with Popeyes’ current batter/sifter station. Here’s the process:

  • Breading is loaded into the DrumRoll
  • A switch powers the DrumRoll for the patented helix-shaped rack inside the drum to tumble Popeyes’ breading
  • The product, either bone-in chicken or tenders, is loaded and sent into the chute that leads to the drum
  • The product tumbles from end to end through the breading to be evenly coated
  • Product exits the drum where the batter cook taps excess breading off bone-in (or lands in a feathering basket for the tenders) and is now ready to be taken to the fryer

Overall, AyrKing’s DrumRoll has delivered promising results for Popeyes franchises, eliminating consistency issues, saving valuable labor time and stretching ingredients.

Learn more about the DrumRoll by visiting https://www.ayrking.com/food-prep-equipment/breading-equipment/drumroll-automated-breader/.

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