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A foodservice program inside a grocery store can become the lifeblood of the deli department, and a way to either drive profitability or increase foot traffic. Done the wrong way and you damage your customers’ perception.

The primary thing that separates the great deli programs from those that are just “ok” is the freshness and quality of the product. If the product is fresh and the quality is high, customers and diners will be confident they’ll find similar product throughout the rest of the department as well.

So how can you make sure that customers are in love with your deli department? Use these three tips to help drive the quality to create greatness.

1. Create Less More Often

This tip likely isn’t new if you’ve read our content before. Creating less more often is a mantra of ours as it helps to reduce waste and increase the profitability of foodservice programs. It also ensures that you are providing the freshest products to your customers no matter when they come into the store.

If you create smaller batches to meet demand, then you won’t have food that sits for too long.

2. Be Ready for Peak Hours

Never let your customers wait for fresh food to be created. This can be a daunting practice at first, but your team will figure out the nuances of your location to adjust for foot traffic and busiest times of the day.

It’s important to start by focusing on creating new batches of food right before the busiest times of the day and to keep fresh product coming as it sells out or starts to grow stale. For many grocery stores, the times are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (sometimes 1 p.m.) and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

3. Make Things Easy

Don’t just have fresh food waiting for customers, make their experience as smooth and easy as possible. Don't overcomplicate the menu, number your meals, sell by product and quantity, not by weight.

It’s important that even if customers don’t wait for food, they aren’t waiting for an employee tied up elsewhere in the store. It’s important that as people enter your line, there is an expert employee ready to take care of them.

Delight Your Customers

By following these three tips, you’ll be able to create an excellent deli program that wows customers with fresh product. Delighting your customers can lead to positive word of mouth, boosting the growth of your grocery business.

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