The following information is intended for use by drivers and inventory merchandisers seeking advanced, certification in inventory and scheduling management. This document discusses the best practices and procedures used to warehouse, manage, and rotate fresh merchandise, minimizing spoilage.
Finding a fresh food vendor
- Use the following information to help find a fresh food vendor.
- Research brands—Look in your local grocery stores, drug stores, and convenience stores for trusted brands you like.
- Research vendors—Do an Internet search (for example, Google) for food vendors in your area.
- Research operators—Use Basecamp to ask other operators which vendors they are using, or avoiding.
Pricing fresh food items
- Remember that pricing is ALWAYS negotiable.
- Request a breakdown of charges by ingredients from your vendor.
- Ask about items you do not see listed in the breakdown.
- Always ask for a lower price.
- Deciding which fresh food items to stock
- Use the following recommended guidelines, when deciding on what kinds of fresh food items to stock and a product mix breakdown:
- Consider your demographics—research your market users, including your male to female ratio, ethnic groups within the market population, any other factors that may help you decide on menu items.
- Consider product shelf life—Shelf life is an important factor, when selecting fresh products.
- Avoid selecting items that have a shelf life shorter than the time between servicing the location.
- Ask your vendor for options to extend the shelf life, such as specialized packaging, removing veggies, using individually packaged condiments.
- Implement reasonable variety—Consider providing limited variety of similar items; for example, consider a variety of sandwich selections that use different types of bread and avoid duplicating different sandwich types that use identical bread types such as, all sub rolls, all wraps, or all sliced bread. Also, consider avoiding too many types of fresh items in one ethnic food category.
- Provide products that stand out—Be bold and select items with out-of-the-ordinary ingredients such as, items with artisan cheeses or breads, and items grown locally. Find products with unique, eye-catching packaging. Don’t be afraid to ask other operators for suggestions.
- Consider following the seasons—Select items that use seasonal ingredients, like turkey and cranberry sandwiches in the Fall, hearty chilis or soups in the Winter, and tropical fruit salads in the Summer.
- Consider following dietary or healthy food trends—Stock foods that follow the latest trendy diets such as, gluten-free items, low-sodium items, and low carbohydrate items. Read the ingredients list and nutritional facts, because your customers will! Healthy food options include ingredients with: low calories, low sugar and carbs, no GMO, made with wholegrain and high fiber, whole fruits and veggies, no artificial color/flavor, and low fat/high protein; for example, items with a recommended ratio of 100 calories per 10 grams of protein.
- Product mix breakdown—Implement this recommended breakdown:
Managing stale items
- Use the following recommended guidelines, when deciding how to minimize stale product:
- Consider the following fresh food basics for your market:
- Selecting appropriate items (for example, a menu that matches your market demographic requirements).
- Rotate brands, ethnic options, seasonal items.
- Consider your timing; seasons, ethnic items, when to pull items, and other aspects that help you find the right mix for your market.
- Try new items OFTEN, and when trying new items, only supply your market with a small amount to run a test on your market users. Doing so will minimize your loss (if any):
- To check your market sales OFTEN, run a Product Sales Report in the AMS Report Center.
- Compare your report results to other items in the same product category, to help you decide if that test item is successful.
- To minimize stale products, consider stocking the following MUST HAVE items, as these products are proven to sell:
- Burgers—In America, people eat 50 million a year.
- Breakfast Sandwiches—Popular national fast food chains serve breakfast all day.
- Turkey Sandwich—Most popular sandwich in America.
- Check sales data every 30 days, and if the sales are declining, consider removing that item to make room for something new. You can also consider the following, when contemplating removing items from your market:
- When you introduce a similar product.
- When the season is ALMOST over.
- When the quality of the product does NOT meet your expectations.
Rotating fresh food in the warehouse
- Use the following recommended guidelines, when rotating product in your warehouse:
- Plan—Notify your vendor one week prior to discontinuing a product.
- Be patient—Wait one week after discontinuing a product to order the new product. Doing so, gives the warehouse and markets time to use up the discontinued stock.
- Do NOT rush the rotation—Wait to bring in the new product, until the old one is out of the warehouse and ready to go into the markets.
- Communicate—Be sure to notify your warehouse and drivers of the product change BEFORE it happens.
Managing your warehouse and truck capacity
- Use the following recommended guidelines, when managing the inventory kept in your warehouse and transported in your trucks:
- Warehouse—Consider the following warehouse SKU count factors:
- How much space do you have in your warehouse?
- How much space do you have in your markets?
- How much fresh food sells in your markets?
- Truck—Recommended requirements include, 14’ insulated refrigerated truck with a bulkhead side and backdoor access.
- Implement a food order form for drivers to complete daily for each location (see following example):
- Using the AMS Report Center, run the following pivot trend report, comparing stales versus sales:
- Create an automated email of your order to your supplier, capturing your product order by location, including your total amount of items purchased: