CHICAGO — Asking convenience-store operators to tackle every foodservice initiative—from plant-based meats and unique bakery merchandising to labor-reducing technology—at one time is irrational. However, taking a one-day-at-a-time approach and keeping staff educated on the company's goals may help operators achieve them.
In staying on top of trends, retailers could also benefit from mastering their metrics in 2020.
Checking units sold per day per store is the base for every metric to monitor, Ryan Krebs, director of food and beverage for Enmarket Inc., Savannah, Ga., told CSP Daily News. These units, he said, are what “is driving everything” in a store’s foodservice program.
Jac Moskalik, corporate director of fresh foods for Core-Mark International, Westlake, Texas, agrees that units sold per day is essential. She calls this “a huge win.”
“Even if [a purchase] is small, use it to determine how often you sell by daypart and cater to certain customers,” Moskalik said.
Krebs also tracks margin dollars based on each unit, because more expensive items with fewer units can still boost the store’s bottom line, he said. In addition, category managers should monitor how each item is performing from store to store—and take action when it underperforms, Krebs said. For example, if a new sandwich is a top seller in only two out of 30 stores, it’s best to remove it so that every offer helps as many stores as possible.
“You've got to bring in something that you hope drives all 30 stores vs. just those two,” he said.
Also, Krebs encourages operators to track sales per square foot. It provides a measure of whether the operator should, for instance, have eight or 24 fountain heads. When using less equipment, operators have an opportunity to channel the extra space to something that may drive more profits, he said.
“Consider what you can do with that other space to drive additional sales and not get the 24-head unit that takes up the whole wall,” he said.
When it comes to fresh food, retailers should track their return on investment and spoilage, said Bridget Halpain, category manager of foodservice and supplies for McLane Co. Inc., Temple, Texas.
“Are [operators] trashing more at the end of each day than they are selling?” Halpain said. “Are they selling enough to rationalize the different items they have available, or should they reduce to just the top sellers?”
Moskalik also advises operators to track which items customers are pairing. For instance, if an operator has a strong coffee program, it should also have an offering of fresh sandwiches or doughnuts that would help grow that ticket ring, she said.
“If you’re selling a lot of fountain drinks in the afternoon, what category with purchase patterns aligns with fountain beverages?” she said. “You can do this just by studying what your customers are currently buying.”