SPRINGDALE, Ark. -- Harps Food Stores here added extras to its holiday dinners this year and then sold so many it wiped out its entire supply days before Thanksgiving, despite having raised the price.
"We went through everything we had, including the dinners we had ordered for Christmas," said Dan Kallesen, director of deli-bakery operations for the 38-unit chain. "We shuffled a lot of product from store to store to keep up, but Monday before Thanksgiving we were out. We got enough from our warehouse to get through Thanksgiving, but I had to re-order for Christmas."
Focusing on value instead of price was the key to pushing sales over last year's by a double-digit percentage, Kallesen said. The idea was to offer customers a dinner that would set Harps apart from the competition and build repeat business.
"For example, this year we added our signature Martha Harps dinner rolls, which you can't get anywhere else, and a pumpkin pie which others weren't offering," Kallesen said.
The retail was hiked to $29.99 from last year's $23.99, but the chain went all out to tell customers about the value and the quality they would get. It ran a television ad for the first time that touted the turkey dinners. Radio advertising was doubled, and a promotional drawing for a free turkey dinner for 10 was expanded to a second market area this year. Associates in all stores were instructed to sample side dishes and go after add-on sales. As a result, sales of high-margin side dishes zoomed, Kallesen said.