Tedeschi store heats up deli sales with Autofry
While Tariq Mehmood’s Tedeschi Food Shop in Hyde Park, MA, doesn’t offer gas, the bulk of his franchise’s sales volume flows from its TD’s Deli. With a roller grill, grill and full-service deli, Mehmood holds his own against some considerable foodservice competitors in the area. But it wasn’t until he added a new piece of equipment that he’s seen a shift in customer frequency and an average 19% lift in his foodservice dollar sales.
Earlier this year Mehmood approached the Tedeschi Corp. about the possibility of adding fried foods to the menu. His stores were not equipped with the necessary hoods, fryers and ventilation—a costly renovation that could have run him $15,000—but he had read about a ventless, fully automated and completely enclosed deep-frying system from Motion Technology, Inc. (www.Autofry.com) called Autofry that would allow him to easily and affordably expand his fried-foods offer. Tedeschi has given Mehmood the autonomy to go forward with his offer and form a relationship with Motion Technology to see if the equipment can improve his business.
“A lot of my competition offers fried food, and I wanted to see what it could do for my store,” says Mehmood. “I shopped around to see what my best option was, and I liked the safety of the Autofry unit. We have designated foodservice employees, but we also cross-train, and this unit was very simple for everyone to learn.”
Mehmood’s deli takes up a 30 ft. by 14 ft. section of his 1,400 sq. ft. store, so he opted for the MTI-40 model, which requires only 4 ft. of space in his deli. But the difference it’s made in his deli business is immeasurable.
“I chose this model because of the volume I do,” says Mehmood. “It allows me to use double sides to cook the product, but the oils are separate, which keeps all the different products from tasting the same.”
Each model has the same two features that cater specifically to convenience store operators: First, it’s ventless, which saves thousands of dollars by eliminating the need for a hood, vent and fire suppression equipment. Second, it’s fully enclosed and automated, which eliminates employee contact with hot oil and provides a safe, simple work environment.The only difference between the Autofry models is the space required and the volume each can produce. The MTI-5 is a small countertop model, the MTI-10 is a large countertop model and the MTI-40 is a dual-basket floor model for higher output.
Aside from adding fried staples like french fries and chicken fingers, Mehmood also takes advantage of a partnership Motion Technology recently formed with Icelandic USA, a provider of fish entrées and finger foods. Icelandic signed on as one of Motion Technology’s food partners—joining other companies like McCain, Brakebush Brothers Chicken, Sea Watch International, Advance Food Co. and Ventura Foods—and is offering each new Autofry purchaser $500 in cash-back rebates on its seafood products. With all of its relationships, Motion Technology can offer retailers total rebates in excess of $3,000.
“We tried the Icelandic products for the first time after purchasing the Autofry and I can’t believe the effect it’s had on our customers,” says Mehmood. “I went through two cases [of product] in a week, so now I make sure to load up on a variety of items for our customers. We started with calamari, clams, and shrimp and fish sandwiches. Now we’re introducing buffalo fish nuggets and margarita fish. With the different spices and varieties we’re able to do weekly specials and our customers are really responding.
“Eight out of 10 customers want or will order french fries if they’re offered,” he adds. “Because of Autofry those impulse sales are added to my deli. Now, instead of steering my customers to the competition for their fried food cravings, they see us as a one-stop shop. Hot, cold, grilled, fried—I can do it all. Thanks to this partnership my total in-store weekly sales have increased 10%, and I’ve seen a 19% lift in my weekly foodservice sales.”