Often, it's the very same item and the only difference is whether it's purchased from the retail or food-service division. The big difference is that in a restaurant the consumer has to wait for the food; ergo, their perception is it must be fresh.
In a supermarket, the food is waiting for the consumer. Ergo, not perceived as fresh. That's why you'll see more and more "clocks" telling customers when a product came out of the oven, or was cooked, etc. Freshness should be counted in minutes, not hours.
SN: What changes have you made this year in the format or focus of your show? Why?
CHRISTISON: Our basic format is the same success formula we've used the last few years. The key is bringing in the speakers that the audience wants to hear. We know who and what they want to hear because we ask them.
SN: What can supermarket operators learn from the restaurant industry?
CHRISTISON: The biggest opportunity for us lies in better understanding the service side and the power of suggestive selling. All too often our supermarket associates see themselves as "order takers." They're afraid to "sell." I'll never forget when we had Stanley Marcus as a keynote speaker. He went to six different supermarket delis, prepared to spend up to $200 in each. The most he was able to spend was just over $50. The sales staff was uncomfortable with the idea of selling, so they didn't! More's the pity; time hasn't improved the situation. Yet, go into any restaurant, including a fast-food outlet, and you're asked to "supersize" it, "large fries" it, add a dessert or an after-dinner cordial.
The biggest difference between "them" and "us" is their tip depends on the size of the bill, so they're going for the biggest total possible. We need to instill that same philosophy into our associates and teach them that suggestive selling, forward buying for more than one meal at a time, and add-on items are helping the customer and the store at the same time.
Indeed, their evaluations could be based on the total ring from their individual efforts. By posting the daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, etc., sales figures, they would be challenged to do better. Everyone would benefit.