POMPANO BEACH, Fla. -- A new Christmas dinner package provided a nice surprise for Xtra Super Food Centers here. So did whole, roasted pigs.
The dinner -- a picnic pork shoulder with rice and beans -- targeted the Latino community, and it apparently hit its mark.
From just five of its stores, situated in areas with a large Latino population, Xtra Super sold 1,789 of the dinners at $18.99 each.
"We were amazed. I knew they'd sell, but not like that. We got $35,000 in sales we wouldn't have had. In addition to the dinner, people bought extra rice and beans and, in some cases, an extra roast," said Ed Boxman, deli merchandiser for the 10-unit retailer.
That's compared to a 44% margin on cooked picnic shoulder alone, which the retailer sells at $2.98 a pound.
A "holiday dinner" flier listed in Spanish and English one roasted picnic shoulder, for 3 pounds to 4 pounds (average cooked weight), 4 pounds white rice, 3 pounds black beans, 2 pounds yucca and one loaf Cuban bread. It was handed out to customers starting the week before Thanksgiving.
"That was to alert people early that we had it. We expected heaviest sales of them Christmas week and that's what happened," Boxman added.
Besides being tailored to the Latin market, the dinners were fine-tuned to the types of Latin community -- Cuban, Puerto Rican and Central American.
"We listened to the neighborhood," Boxman said. "For instance, the Puerto Rican community wanted to substitute red beans for the black beans, and people from Central America said they preferred yellow rice. So we made it clear, with signage, that those substitutions were available."
In another tailored-to-the-community effort, Xtra Super this holiday season began roasting whole pigs in its bakery ovens at one store.
At that one store, 8,000 pounds, at $2.99 a pound for a whole, half, or quarter pig, were sold Christmas week. The effort was so successful that the deli had run out by the morning of Christmas Eve.
"Our meat department wouldn't sell us any more. Next year, we'll buy our own and probably extend this to at least one other store," Boxman said.