Changing times can rock the food-service industry. Grocers rush to restock shelves that are constantly barren while food distributors struggle to keep up with increased demand and deal with diminished supply. Times of change can breed uncertainty, but rest assured, together, we can weather any storm.
In any situation, each and every grocer can rise to the occasion. Cooperation and flexibility will help keep shelves stocked and customers happy.
Here’s how your grocery store can keep its shelves stocked in the face of any crisis.
In times of change, a situation can change in an instant. For this reason, it’s crucial for grocers to be flexible so they can skillfully adapt to changes in supply and demand.
It’s impossible to predict every situation, so establishing a uniform way of responding to change will prepare your business for nearly anything. Problems with food distributors, reduced store capacity, and refrigerator breakdowns can all be mitigated with an organized, flexible plan.
At the end of the day, flexibility is key. It’s what will allow your business to quickly pivot in order to meet the growing needs of your customers.
Line Up Multiple Food Distributors
When the demand for food rises, food distributors work tirelessly to keep up. Meanwhile, shoppers continue to rush into grocery stores to stock up on anything they can find.
Unfortunately, most — if not all — suppliers will have trouble meeting these heightened standards. In order to manage higher demand, many food distributors reduce their product variety and focus primarily on their most popular items.
Grocers need to have flexible supply chains in order to pivot in times of uncertainty. Distributors may not have what you’re looking for, so having relationships with multiple suppliers will ensure you have the products you and your customers need.
Maintain a Stock of Frozen & Shelf-Stable Foods
Ahead of a disaster — whether it be a hurricane, blizzard, or pandemic — anxious shoppers rush to the nearest store. Panic buyers mercilessly strip shelves and freezers bare as they stock up on frozen and canned goods. As a result, grocers must find ways to sustain their stock of popular disaster-prep staples.
The best way to keep your shelves from emptying too quickly is to place limits on certain items. Essentials, in particular, will be the first to go. Imposing a one- or two-item limit on these products will keep shelves stocked and ensure everyone gets what they need.
Another solution — if you have the storage space — is to stock up on frozen and shelf-stable items when they’re available. With increased demand, food distributors will not always have these products available. When they do, it’s best to stock up so that you can continue to serve customers if food distributors become overwhelmed.
Make Time for Restocking
One of the most important aspects of restocking your shelves is making the time to do so. If your store is constantly flooded with customers, you won’t be able to replenish your inventory.
Although grocery stores have seen an influx of customers, many are closing earlier and opening later. By limiting their hours of operation, stores are able to diligently restock with supplies from food distributors.
Reducing store hours may seem counterproductive, but it will actually increase your store’s efficiency and keep customers well-supplied.
Keeping Shelves Stocked
As pillars of the community, grocers have a great responsibility in times of change. It’s their job to help community members put food on the table. However, grocery stores can’t do that when shelves are bare.
Fortunately, there are several ways to make sure enough food stays on the shelves even when food distributors can’t deliver.
Changing times affect everyone differently. At Excellence Industries, we’re here for you. To learn more about how we can help with your unique commercial refrigeration needs, contact us today!