How to Improve Foodservice Margins with Efficient Operations
Convenience stores are rapidly becoming a fresh food destination for consumers, but the convenience mindset of the past is keeping some retailers from improving margins. Quality, consistency, and attention to detail is giving many a competitive edge, so when one of those attributes fails to deliver, it can easily tip the customer loyalty scale out of favor. It’s hard to change people’s perceptions, especially after decades of offering a store format that fits the needs of its consumer with gas, cigarettes, beverages and salty/sweet snacks.
So how do you change the mindset of the past to answer the needs of the future? We’ve compiled a short list of operational tasks that will help you improve your foodservice margins and change customer perceptions:
With quality, comes freshness. According to a Q1 Consulting report1, freshness and quality rank as the top-rated factors when considering prepared food. The stigma that items on convenience store shelves are close to expiry date or lacking in taste or variety is still alive and well today. Working with trusted commissaries and wholesalers who sell to restaurants and grocery chains is key to building back that trust. In addition, having an in-store program to provide visibility into what is selling and what is about to expire will help manage freshness and inventory.
Freshness brings loyalty. Offering consistent fresh food is what keeps consumers coming back. Rewarding loyalty is trending within c-stores, as it is a great way of leveraging and capturing customer data. The more a retailer knows about its consumer profile, the more likely it will have the right prepared items in stock for their next visit.
Unfortunately for c-stores, there is a high labor turnover rate. According to Convenience Store News 2016 HR & Labor Study, that rate is at 54%, which directly impacts margins when taking into consideration training and cost of replacing that employee. An important aspect of employee retention is the training process, i.e. having a software system in place that makes it easy to know what to make and takes the guesswork out. The program must be easy to use, and should measure key performance metrics to ensure profits are met.
This may come as a surprise, but customers directly relate the cleanliness of bathrooms to their foodservice experience. Studies show that 85 percent of people would not patronize a business with negative online reviews about the cleanliness of its facilities. Training and setting employee expectations for cleanliness is an inexpensive fix that can have a positive impact on your bottom line.
ADC is deployed in more than 13,000 locations and 130 retail chains around the world. If you’d like to learn more about how these tech-driven solutions can make fresh possible for you, contact ADC today at 1-800.910.4232.