Nobody mentioned potato conditioning. I'm a grower, not a cooker, but I have been at meetings where food science college professors tell how the spud is only the start. Pick the right variety, store it and condition it correctly. When you start to slice, 3/4 of the quality factors have already been set.
The color of the fry depends a lot on the sugar content of the spud, and the sugar content can vary with storage conditions. I am no pro, as I said, but I seem to remember that a week at about 55 to 60 degrees is good. You can't count on Sysco to do it for you because they sell potatoes for many uses.
I have not made it there yet, but a place in Portland Maine is said to make perfect fries from hand cut spuds, cooked in duck fat, while you watch. They say that on a summer Saturday, the line can be a half hour long. Folks want to copy them but don't want to do the work.
And.......fresh potatoes can be WORK. A late friend had a business selling fresh peeled potatoes to independent restaurants. His family didn't want it, and he couldn't sell the business. He offered it to me for free if I'd rent his building. The business paid minimum wage to 5 or 6 people, and he made a little more himself, for working like a dog. He charged more than for a frozen product, and less and less customers saw a reason not to go with frozen from Sysco.
Partner with a local grower to produce "Bintje" potatoes. They are hard to find here, except at farmer's markets, but are the spud of choice for street vendors in Europe. I remember that in blind fry taste tests, they beat the number 2 and 3 varieties, COMBINED. ( for mashers, a newer variety, Huckleberry Gold, blows away the competition) Bintjes are harder to grow, and yield a little less, but IMO if you try to compete with McDs, you will lose, and if your product can't get folks to pay a premium price, you are screwed. Look up The Maine Potato Lady, on the web, for lots of info on varieties. She is not as sold on Bintje as some, though. Maybe they don't grow well in Maine.
I would start by talking to the food science folks at your local Land Grant university.
post edited by tmiles - 2014/02/07 11:32:25