Single Store Owner

DEC 2016

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DECEMBER 2016 / / 27 Foodservice 201: Call to Action Utilize social media sites to promote your foodservice operation. This strategy can be particularly useful in courting and communicating with millennials and women. No one is going to differentiate themselves by selling the same candy bars that are available across the street, but foodservice is different. If your food is indeed better, people will drive across town. Word-of-mouth is still the best marketing tool available. Sponsor popular local events such as beer fests, local teams, school and church activities, and make your presence known by being in attendance. ers possess over the chains. "Making an employee feel they make a difference is much easier at the single-store level," Veale ex- plained. "Employees can be empowered to help de- velop menu items or set the standard for food safety and/or customer interaction — something that can be more difficult in a corporate-led environment." At What Cost? Still, it's no secret that the biggest obstacle faced by all convenience store retailers in the employment process with regard to their foodservice operations is cost. This dynamic is only heightened in the case of a single-store owner. " Unless the owner is committed to foodservice sales levels that are far in excess of industry norms (approximately 19 percent), it's tough to pay tal- ented people what they are worth," advised How To Crew panelist Mathew Mandeltort , vice president of foodservice strategy for Naperville, Ill.-based distributor Eby-Brown Co. LLC. He suggests that wage than the local competition — even without benefits. Many appli- cants may be looking for a second job and already have a benefits package from their first job. "This works to attract those folks that may have a decent primary job with some level of benefits, but want a part-time po- sition for extra income," said Miller. "These employees might be found at a local fac- tory or fulfillment center where they have shift work, or you might even look at local churches where the pastor might know which parishioners are looking for work." These workers typically can be taught customer service skills, and are also better at con- trolling the store inventory and cash. "And typically, they have friends like themselves who will work for you as long as you treat them with respect and pay them what they are owed," he said. Fellow How To Crew panelist Tim Powell, vice president at Q1 Consulting, a Chicago-based con- sulting firm that designs and develops webinars, training courses, conference programs and forums, agrees that front-line employees are most produc- tive and more likely to stay if they are paid well — as well as challenged, promoted, valued, trusted and empowered. "These are not linear, but they are related," said Powell. In other words, just paying an employee well does not necessarily equal retention. "Each of these components should be incor- porated into a staffing plan with associated details, depending on the store's mission and long-term strategies," continued Powell, noting that all single- store owners should have a vision and mission of their business, whether tacit or stated. "For example, trusting an employee means giving them more flex- ibility to interact with vendors and provide custom- er value when called upon — such as replacing a spilled or dropped item on the spot if it will improve satisfaction, instead of waiting to call a manager or simply doing nothing." Another member of the Single Store Owner How To Crew, Holly Veale, foodservice product director at convenience distributor McLane Co. Inc., sees the biggest employment obstacle for single-store operators as putting together a viable compensation package. " Chains can offer a competitive wage, competi- tive health insurance, as well as retirement and life insurance. These are expensive benefits for the single-store operator to offer," she said. However, there are advantages single-store own-

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