Thanksgiving Holiday Preparation

Thanksgiving may just be the biggest retail food event of the year. In this article the focus will be to take a look at some of the larger picture, conceptual strategies that are necessary to create a successful holiday retailing run!


Make sure that your department is a destination point for Thanksgiving products: Keep in mind that for most of your shoppers, the Thanksgiving meal is the biggest food event that they will produce all year. When they enter into your produce department what they are most hoping for is that you will have everything on their produce shopping list, and they won't need to hop in their vehicle and go chasing around town looking for arugula. It's not just the Thanksgiving staple items that you need to have in abundance in order to shine; it's actually the more obscure items that shoppers are counting on you for. Knowing that celery root, parsnips and fennel will be available at your store is of great comfort to your shoppers. Begin the dialogue now with some of your key customers. Ask them what items they will be needing/using for their Thanksgiving meal. Even if your department has everything but a couple of items that your shoppers need, it's very possible that rather than waiting in line twice and writing two different checks, that they will simply do all of their shopping at the store that has everything they need. Make sure that your department is a destination point for all of the items that your customers expect to use for their Thanksgiving cooking.


Go the extra mile in prepping and handling your products: Make sure that your product has that extra glow about it. Taking prepping and display making to an extreme during the holiday season is not unusual. As an example, a popular Thanksgiving item is Brussels sprouts. Even in the finest of stores, it's pretty rare to see this item prepped, meaning that the little butts of each sprout are trimmed. It's a pretty time consuming event, and yet if you have ever seen prepped Brussels sprouts on a rack, they will always look like the best sprouts you have ever seen. It's probably not practical to do this every day, but for the Thanksgiving stretch it's an example of the type of "extra mile" strategy that will set your department apart from others and enhance your holiday sales.


Have abundant staffing: Thanksgiving is definitely not the time to be lean on help. Even though it's a time of year that everyone wants to have off, it's critical in a retail setting to be fully loaded to serve your customers. There should always be a produce presence on the sales floor. Customers will be asking questions more than usual and it's vital to the overall impression that you make that your staff are not only present on the floor, but seem available and knowledgeable about the product. It's definitely not to early to begin crafting at least a rough draft of how the schedule might look for that Monday-Wednesday. Keep in mind that your sales should take a significant upward hike, allowing you more room to have extra hours in the department.


Sample your food: Thanksgiving is a major food event. You are retailers of fresh food. It's a beautiful synchronicity. What could be more effective than making sure that everyone who enters your department leaves with their mouth crunching on a bite of delicious produce? Don't be afraid to wander outside of the boundaries of your department. If you see long lines at the registers, it's a great opportunity to begin sampling product. Nothing takes the edge out of standing in line like a little nibbling!


Good luck with your holiday planning. Have fun and be prepared!