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    Expert Column: 5 Tips for Improved Fresh Food Counter Profitability

    Retailers should use tech wisely

    By Seth Strauser, Checkpoint Systems

    Grocers face stock monitoring, shrink and theft challenges to ensure that food is both available on the shelf and fresh. Here are five tips to achieve these goals at the fresh food counter:

    Tip #1: Focus on the Shopper

    During busy times, it's easy to overlook customer experience. That's a shame, because counter staff that can deliver special touches, like fetching a fresh tuna steak from the back room, inspire loyalty in shoppers. Look for ways to free up staff from other time-consuming tasks so they can be more customer-focused.

    Tip #2: Maintain Proper Stock Levels on Display

    In most stores, fresh food staffers still carry out time-consuming and potentially inaccurate manual stock counts. Beyond the time/labor issue, displaying too much of a product can result in a freshness problem. And if the item isn't on the shelf, it's not going to be purchased. Items like red meat offer a higher margin than any pre-packed version, so retailers can't afford to lose fresh produce sales. As such, it's important to put in place processes that keep the right level of stock on display.

    Tip #3: Address Food Theft Aggressively

    According to the latest "Global Retail Theft Barometer" study, theft is pervasive in the fresh food sector. Red meat, seafood, deli meat and cheese are all high-value items that thieves can resell to other retailers, restaurants or private individuals. To tackle theft, consider your store environment and its risk level. Figure out which SKUs are suffering shrink, and establish how much stock is being thrown away and what you've sold, so you can determine what’s being lost to theft. Then take appropriate action.

    By Seth Strauser, Checkpoint Systems
    • About Seth Strauser Seth Strauser is senior director product management at Thorofare, N.J.-based Checkpoint Systems. He can be reached at [email protected]

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