Guest Blog: Sell More Stuff: Food Should Be Fun No. 2

Feb. 16, 2017

It was about 9:30 AM on a bright and sunny Saturday morning in Austin, Texas. We wanted breakfast. Our choice was a popular stop on 6th Street.

When we arrived, the line was still inside the store. By the time we departed, about 45 minutes later, the line snaked through the store and ended outside on the sidewalk. We were in line for about 15 minutes. It was our first time at this place. At the counter, we were cheerfully guided through the menu descriptions – which had little or no resemblance to typical and traditional product names in this food category.

What we had was a really enjoyable and tasty food experience.

Modern snacking

People eat about three or four times each day. They drink about seven or eight times daily. In our business, especially at our workplace locations, we have an opportunity to compete for three or four food, snack or beverage purchases. Last October my blog post was “Food should be fun.” We want to make their experience with us a positive one – to satisfy their thirst or hunger and deliver an enjoyable experience at the same time.

Your action plan: We must get beyond offering the “same old stuff” every week.

1. THE MUST HAVE ITEMS: These are the highly popular items and must always be in stock. This should probably represent about half of the SKUs you offer in each category.

2. THE LOCAL ITEMS: You must focus on products targeted to each specific site population, the key demographic groups you’re serving. Ask your suppliers about which items they offer that will match up best to your shoppers. Pay attention to who your shoppers are: the mix of men versus women; younger versus older; different ethnic and cultural groups; etc. This should be at least one-quarter of the SKUs you’re selling.

3. THE NEW ITEMS: You need a constant flow of new items. Not all of these products will be new products. Think about McDonald’s McRib, which is reintroduced periodically with great fanfare. This group should be about 20-25 percent of your menu assortment.

Oops, I forgot to share the specifics about our breakfast. We went to Voodoo Doughnut. My choice was the Pot Hole doughnut©. It was a wonderful variation on Boston cream pie. My wife had the Apple Fritter doughnut. These were big doughnuts. We skipped lunch. While both were really good, the Apple Fritter was the winner.

Keep working on your menu and product assortment. Never forget that “food should be fun.” If you can deliver on that you’ll make your shoppers happy. If they’re happy, they will come back. That means repeat business and increased sales and profits. It all comes down to selling more stuff.