you can go home again. Kelly Gardner grew up in Bayside, Queens, played a ball at the US Open where he worked as a girl, sold shirts, took tennis lessons there as a kid, played in tournaments during high school, and spent his USTA adult career. I attended a league match.
She returns this fall not with a racket in hand, but with a celebration of a different kind of victory. Her business, Filta Environmental Kitchen Solutions, won an account at the US Open. They manage the filtration and cleaning of cooking oils for concessions at the US Open.
The Dix Hills operation is part of a national franchise that filters and recycles cooking oil from commercial kitchens across the country for biodiesel fuel and treats hot oil containers to improve kitchen safety. . They will be on the field during his three weeks during qualifying matches and his two weeks at the big event.
“I did the walkthrough and I couldn’t believe I was here again. I gave them pictures of Tracy Austin, Bjorn Borg and Martina [Navratilova]it brought back memories of when I was a ball girl,” said Gardner, 55.
She is sentimental and nervous. She and her husband and business partner Joe Her Andrian are responsible for oiling and cleaning about 120 fryers. They have two full-time employees of hers for their home business, who will help the Connecticut Filta franchise owner and his team, as well as others. Gardner’s win is even sweeter, she says. Because they wanted an explanation for it last year but pursued it too late, this year she reached out in February and had a discussion in April. How did they get the account pegged?
“They were interested in filtration. We used to have a plumber come in every night to dump the oil and have another person clean it. We save on the cost of goods and save them in ways that are better for the environment,” Gardner said.
Andrian, 57, adds: We take a load off his shoulders by ensuring the high quality of our oils.
The US Open victory is the latest. Since November 2020, the company has grown to a roster of 30 clients, including big names such as UBS Arena, Citifield, Jones Beach, New York University and Hofstra University Concession (Yummier). What is the key to their success? Make yourself small, do your own thing and get out of the way.
They are also in growth areas. Market research firm IBIS World expects the US cooking oil recycling industry to grow modestly between He 2021 and He 2026. According to his 2017 study by the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. restaurants and hotels generate 3 billion gallons of used cooking oil annually. According to Allied Market Research, the US used cooking oil market was valued at $774 million in 2018 and is projected to reach $1 billion by 2026.
“Reused cooking oil is a huge market. Biodiesel companies are looking for large fast food franchises they can partner with to recycle used cooking oil into fuel. It will help remedy the global environmental crisis,” says Brian Nagele, food and beverage industry consultant and CEO of Philadelphia-based restaurant clix, which provides information to the restaurant industry.
Another thing that has helped the business is advice from other franchise owners. “We weren’t afraid to ask questions and observe how they ran their business,” he says Gardner.
She has no regrets about making the switch from a financial customer relations job to a flyer when she was cut from her job during the pandemic. “We exceeded our expectations,” she said Gardner. Last year, Andrian said the company made her $250,000 in revenue and expects to double that in 2022.
Growth was faster than expected. They could grow further, but are slowing down due to a shortage of skilled workers. “We have to do a lot of work ourselves. We don’t have much time to knock on doors. We can’t wait to get out of the van and start selling,” said Andrian.
She also takes pride in doing her dirty work. She said, “Most women are in sales. I drive trucks and work in the kitchen. That’s my sporting background. I like to conquer, I like to win.”
Company: filter environment kitchen solution, Dix Hills
owner: Kelly Gardner and Joe Andrian
Earnings for 2021: $250,000