Good produce managers and their crews achieve more with detailed goals. As promised, here is the last of three sets to help forge into the New Year, with what I call “18 goals for 2018.”
1. Sign Standards. How’s your sign etiquette? Your chain likely has a policy detailing how every sign should read. Are your ad roma tomatoes written as .99/lb or 99¢/lb? Bagged apples 2.99/ea or $2.99/ea? Import blueberries description posted as a “½ pint” or listed with the exact ounce (i.e. 8-ounce) per package? Customers confuse easily, so it’s important to ensure that your sign standards are set, and every sign is consistent.
2. Rotation Schedule. What’s your routine? You might be surprised how many times I asked several clerks on the same crew this question, and received three different answers. Ideally, every item gets rotated with each stocking. However, the best rotation system is listed early on a daily written schedule that everyone can see and follow. An easy goal to set, and with a little work, easy to get everyone to follow through with.
3. Customer Greeting. Such a simple goal. “Talk to our customers. Ask them the usual questions: Are you finding everything OK? Can I help you select something? What else can I get for you?” All basic communication, and a goal that helps build consumer confidence and increased sales.
4. Get into Sampling. Why don’t produce departments sample more often? There’s no good answer, especially when other perishable departments seem to take a far more active role. Chances are your store has a rotating demo team. Sit in on their planning meeting, and set a goal to include fresh produce on a regular basis. List the sample item on your order schedule to ensure you have enough product and watch sales grow with this very attainable goal.
5. Weekend, In-Store Promotions. Does your produce department merchandising look the same on Saturday as it does on Monday? You may be missing sales. A good goal for 2018 is to claim available aisle, lobby or outdoor sidewalk merchandising space for your own during busy days. Bulk up your orders, then line those areas with duplicate ad items, seasonal items, or high-margin earners to help pad your bottom line.
6. Produce Manager’s “one late night a week” goal? If you commit to working deep into just one heavy shopping evening period, you’ll see what’s going on at night, and you’ll be a stronger manager for the effort.
Easy goals? Hardly. But if you take a crack at even a few of these 18 goals for 2018, the result just may help set your produce department apart from the crowd.
Armand Lobato works for the Idaho Potato Commission. His 40 years’ experience in the produce business span a range of foodservice and retail positions. E-mail him at email@example.com.