Management Contract Services

The Deli Shop Owner

Did you hear the interview about a deli shop owner on NPR? Last year his business dropped by 35% and profit was bleeding bright red. This year, his sales are still off 8%, but he is very profitable. He makes a great case study on what to do in this prolonged economic downturn.

First, he needed to get customers back into his shop. He offered a daily free cup of coffee. The customer had to bring in their own drinking container. His offer was only good for as long as the DOW remained below 10,000. Next, he examined his food purchases. He always provided his customers with a roll with each entree. He realized most of his customers did not want the roll. He then offered to provide a roll if the customer requested one. Most declined the offer, saving the shop owner 17¢ per roll. He reduced his weekly salmon order from 60lbs to 30lbs. Dropped the number of lemons he ordered resulting in reductions in spoilage. He also did several other things.

What are the take-a-ways from this story. Think creatively to get your customers coming back and attract new ones. Offer a free give away. It may cost you a few dollars, but the cost will be well worth the investment. Monitor every expense item. Ask yourself, if your customer needs the item and can you reduce the inventory, or number of an item in each category. Move to just-in-time inventorying. DON’T sacrifice your customer service and customer offerings.

Think Green, Become Green. Contact your local utility company and get an energy audit. The Beaverton School District in Oregon did this and they are saving over $800,000 a year. Recycling will reduce your garbage bill and be good for the environment. Then advertise that you are a green company. You will be surprised how many new customers you will attract.

We are in difficult times and it requires bold action now.

Patrick M. Wheeler-MBA is a professional executive with 25 years of management and consulting experience. He has worked with a large variety of companies. He has been an experienced CEO, COO, GM and contracted CFO. Patrick M. Wheeler, Management Contract Services,