Restaurant Grease Theft
Posted on October 29, 2010
A couple of times a year, restaurant industry newsletters link news stories about wily bandits who have pulled off the heist of a lifetime. The loot, restaurant grease. Wait, what? That’s right. For several years, now, grease theft has been an issue in bins behind restaurant across the country.
The Value of Used Restaurant Oil
Recycling used oil from commercial kitchens is nothing new. Typically, the grease from the fryers and grease trap is collected by a rendering service that recycles the grease into livestock feed, among other products.
More recently, used fryer oil has become a valuable source for bio-diesel, and that’s where the theft comes from. Used oil can be sold to bio-diesel firms for around $1 – $2 per gallon. The price was higher a few years ago when crude oil prices were out of control.
Regardless, since some grease bins can hold upwards of a thousand gallons, two bucks a gallon is a pretty hefty profit for anyone who has a grease truck or some oil barrels and a siphoning hose. Even some backyard bio-diesel makers are cashing in by siphoning enough oil to fuel their own cars.
Who Cares as Long as the Grease is Gone?
A lot of restaurants probably don’t care who takes the grease as long as it is off their hands. However, some operators are wise to the fact that their used grease is actually a valuable commodity and have begun selling it to rendering operations, instead of paying them to take it away. If someone steals the grease, nobody gets paid, except the bandit.
How to Protect Your Business from Grease Theft
If you are selling your used restaurant oil, there is a risk of grease theft. This is especially true in large urban areas where competition for restaurant grease is stiff. In order to protect this commodity, you could go all out and put up a security camera overlooking your garbage area or have a padlocked fence surrounding it, but oftentimes the best way to secure your used grease is a sturdy lock on the bin.