When Cost Savings Lead to Expansion

The Situation

As the owner of Dairy King, a quick service hamburger restaurant that’s been in operation since 1951 in Breese, Illinois, with a second location in Trenton, Illinois, Michele Maue knows what it takes to create great tasting food—fast. The equation? Ingredients + equipment + processes.

Dairy King is known for serving up fresh, made-to-order burgers, fries, and other treats—making it a favorite among locals, but also resulting in steep costs for Michele.

The Challenge

Grinding fresh ground beef daily was an integral part of the Dairy King brand, but the cost and time involved were cutting into revenue. Michele was also on the hunt to find fryers that could provide better quality and more efficiency without breaking her budget.

In the early 2000s, Michele decided to take action, starting with the grinder.

“We needed a cost-effective way to grind our own meat,” Michele says. “Our local meat market had been grinding meat for us, but there was an upcharge and they couldn’t keep up with demand. Plus, we knew we had staff capable of doing it in-house...saving money plus more expediently meeting customer demand seemed like a win-win.” That’s where Hess Meat Machines came in.

The Solution

After embarking on a search to find a local food equipment provider that could help, Michele landed on Hess Meat Machines.

“From the start, we had a really great rapport with them,” she says. “I was immediately impressed with their level of sales and services support. They really took the time to make sure we were choosing the right equipment for our needs.”After purchasing a meat grinder, Michele was so impressed with the quality of the equipment and the support she received that she also chose to purchase a four-vat Henny Penny fryer and a patty machine—and quickly saw results.

The Difference

“The equipment we purchased from Hess has made a big difference for our business,” Michele says.

Considering that the Dairy King team grinds around 200lbs of meat a day, and it was costing them $0.15/pound to outsource, it’s clear how valuable the addition of a grinder was. “We cut costs by not having to go through a middleman,” she shared. “Not only were we able to save money by not having to use a butcher to grind our meat, but we also expedited the process so we’re better able to meet demand and serve more burgers each day.” She’s since purchased another grinder from Hess.

The Results

The fryer was also a welcome boost to Michele’s revenue. “It’s extremely efficient. The oil lasts longer, so we spend less money having to change it out,” Michelle says. “Best of all, it’s made the quality of our fried foods even better than before. The oil maintains an even temperature, resulting in a fresher, more consistently cooked product that our customers can’t get enough of.”

And then there was the patty machine, which reduced the amount of employee time required to serve up a burger. “We used to have staff members balling and smashing the patties out themselves,” Michele explains. “The patty machine meant we no longer needed staff doing that, ultimately saving us time and money.”

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