How 1 Retailer Upped the Foodservice Game

Three steps for satisfying shoppers

IGNG product shot

Brought to you by Orion Food Systems.

Making sure consumers get what they want at convenience stores means retailers need to know what their customers are buying every time they come in. For packaged snacks, following inventory can be a good way to do that. With items such as freshly prepared foods, it can be a bit trickier, particularly if those items don’t have individual SKUs to identify them.

To combat this, some operators have started implementing intelligent systems to label and track each item in their grab-and-go or deli sections.

Grab-and-go made simple

One such system is the iGnG system, or Intelligent Grab ‘n Go system, from Orion Food Systems. The iGnG system is designed to give operators a continually updating look at what consumers are purchasing and when, so that they can better prepare for their customers’ needs.

“iGnG gives a clear view of customer traffic with a view to daily patterns, which allows operators to better anticipate what is the right product at the right time to increase sell-through of grab-n-go offerings,” says Steve Watkins, CEO, Orion Food Systems.

For example, at the Farmers Union Oil store in Wilton, N.D., retailer Travis Thompson implemented the system a little over a year ago. Prior to using the system, one of the biggest challenges he faced was getting UPCs on each product, and in turn, knowing exactly what was selling or not selling. Without having different UPCs for each item, it was a difficult to know, for instance, how many cheese pizzas vs. sausage pizzas were being sold.

Before, Thompson’s store used general buttons like “pizza” or “breakfast sandwich” to track sales, but now, they get a breakdown so they can see what’s selling and what’s not, so they can more easily anticipate what customers are going to want.

Optimal freshness = customer satisfaction

Beyond streamlining inventory and tracking what’s selling, the system helps operators ensure customer satisfaction by making sure the food served is freshest.

Thompson says, “Say if you want a pizza to not be in the warmer for more than an hour, it’ll print that right on the tag what the expire time is. Then when you go to expire them and scan them back in, it tracks your waste for you.”

Features that cater to consumers’ needs are always a positive, as no c-store wants to sell subpar foods. Using a system that easily tracks expiration dates and times helps ensure your customers stay satisfied.

Profit and waste management

Finally, the system helps with managing waste and boosting profits. For instance, Thompson says, “We’re up about 10% in the deli sales line and item count. The dashboard will tell us by time of day when we don’t have enough product out and tracks the sales and waste by time of day. So it’ll tell you we need six more pepperoni pizzas during this time during the day because we’re missing sales.” On the other hand, he says, “If there’s something you’re throwing away often, you can make that product at a time with better traffic or modify it to a better selling product.”

As far as reducing waste, since the system helps Thompson notice when products may not be selling as well as he’d like, he can take care of it right away. Best of all, there’s a bit of wiggle room when it comes to waste—Thompson says optimal waste percentages are between 8 and 10%, and the goal isn’t zero.

Watkins says, “Anytime you see zero waste, I promise the store is losing out on selling more.”

Optimizing foodservice in c-stores doesn’t have to be complicated—in fact, today’s systems make it easier than ever before.