New Franchise Filters and Recycles Cooking Oil
Serving in the Army in Iraq and Afghanistan taught me many valuable lessons, but it was when I was transferred to Alaska during my military deployment, that I saw first-hand the intrinsic value of small business ownership.
Small businesses are the lifeblood of the American economy, and nowhere is that more apparent than in Alaska. Here in the 49th State, hardworking small businesses generate the majority of employment growth. Entrepreneurial concepts are critical to the overall success of our communities.
After I left the Army, I worked the North Slope oil fields and, after my contract expired, found myself at a crossroads. It was either become “lifer” with an oil company or select an entirely different path. Always being attracted to owning my own business, I began doing some serious research. I had worked in several fast food jobs while growing up in Arizona, so I had inspiration for and comfort with franchise concepts. But I knew two things: I didn’t want to own a restaurant and I definitely did not want to be stuck in an office all day.
In my search of food service franchise concepts, I came across Filta Environmental Kitchen Solutions. A company that filters cooking oil, removes the oil at the end of its life, and recycles it for bio-diesel fuel. Because the Filta business model is built on repeat business, I felt the concept was worth serious consideration. Plus, I really like how the brand increases restaurant and commercial kitchen safety (fryers full of hot oil are frequently dumped by an often untrained workforce) and helps the environment (by filtering oil you can significantly lengthen its life span and reduce packaging/delivery inefficiencies—and the understandable benefits of collecting and recycling cooking oil into bio-diesel).
So, I traveled to Filta’s headquarters in Orlando for a “Discovery Day” presentation and by the time I was shown around, met the executive team, and learned more about the business model, I knew I needed to pull the trigger on my decision fast. Corporate was interested in establishing the first and only franchise in Alaska and my timing was perfect to snap up the opportunity.
With this new opportunity, I am free to get out and interact with my clients. I have the opportunity to be hands on running the business, and with the backing of Filta helping pave the way for new contacts and clients.
While I’ve only officially been a Filta franchisee for less than a year, I’ve hit the ground running and quickly grown my business—today I serve more than ten accounts across the Anchorage area including Alaska Regional Hospital, 49th State Brewing Co., and the BP Café in the BP building. And as part of my services, I clean restaurant drains and provide humidity control to customers.
For all the hard work and long hours establishing my franchise business, one of the most satisfying things about working as Alaska’s Filta operator is seeing how we can help improve restaurant and commercial kitchens across Anchorage.
Restaurant and commercial kitchens are exponentially safer, more efficient, and environmentally sustainable thanks to our proprietary micro-filtering process, bin-free waste oil collection, fryer deep cleaning services, and waste oil recycling. In less than a year, the business has recycled thousands of pounds of used cooking oil into bio-diesel, significantly reducing the impact of fryer oil on the Alaska environment. For every gallon of bio-diesel we put into use, sixteen pounds of carbon dioxide are prevented from entering the atmosphere.
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The Marx Bros. Café
Jack Amon and Richard “Van” Hale opened the doors of the Marx Bros. Café on October 18, 1979; however, the two had already been partners in cuisine for some time, having created the Wednesday Night Gourmet Wine Tasting Society and Volleyball Team Which Now Meets on Sunday, a weekly evening of food and wine. It was actually the end of the weekly event that spurred the name of the restaurant: hours after its final service, Amon and Hale were hauling equipment and furnishings out of their old location and to their now-iconic building on Third Street, all while managing arguments about equipment ownership, a visit from the police, and quite a bit of wine. “If you’ve ever seen the movie ‘A Night at the Opera” starring the Marx Brothers, that’s what it was like,” Hale explains.