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Batman to the Rescue


Every year, Harold Lloyd, former retailer, restaurateur, and now consultant, has opened his presentations at IDDBA’s annual Dairy-Deli-Bake seminar/expos with something zany.

This morning was no exception. He walked onto the stage, amid appropriate sound effects, in full Batman costume. As he strode back and forth, offering suggestions for “Building Awesome Transactions,” nobody was nodding off. His seminar was called, “Holey Donuts, Batman! Two Dozen Ways to Raise Dairy-Deli-Bakery Sales Without Spending Too Much Dough.”

While Batman can accomplish just about anything, even he’d have a big challenge getting associates to interact with customers, Lloyd said. Doing his own research, although it was admittedly imperfect scientifically, Lloyd found that deli-bakery associates in his area [Virginia Beach, Va.] all failed to say more than “May I help you?” when his researchers approached the service counter. Some didn’t say anything. After waitng three minutes, the researchers left. [See story in Fresh Market section of 6/8/09 SN].

“On a scale of 1 to 10, 68% scored zero or one,” Lloyd said.

He went on to make a number of suggestions that might make it easier for associates to have some kind of dialogue with customers. Here's one. He said name tags could be used to say something, anything, that would start a conversation. He described one he saw a while back pinned on a deli associate in Florida that said, “My name is Chuck. Ask me about spear-fishing.”

Lloyd said personalized “Ask Me” name tags could be “Ask me about my children,” or “Ask me about my German Shepherd.” The subject wouldn't matter.

The fact is that anything at all that would generate even a short exchange between associate and customer would help build sales, he said.

(Photo credit: adjustafresh/flickr)


David Orgel

David Orgel is executive director, content & user engagement, of Supermarket News (SN) and its website, Orgel delivers his opinions on industry trends through a bi-weekly...

Jon Springer

Jon Springer has been writing about food, food retailers and food retailing for more than 10 years, and is in his second tour of duty with Supermarket News. His prior experience includes covering the...
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