Brooks Marsh, Mahomet IGA Champaign, IL Deli Department
We wanted an offering that would appeal to younger shoppers and those craving fresh options, so we did some research and partnered with a third-party sushi company. While it required some upfront cost to build our sushi case and prep area, our first week brought in over $12,000 in gross sales and now a year and a half later we’ve recouped our upfront investment and are making $1,000 a week in net profit that we didn’t have before.
Why it Works
For Our Shoppers
Fresh Our shoppers know just how fresh our sushi is because it's made right in front of them!
Convenient We knew our sushi would sell to our lunch crowd, but we didn't anticipate how many parents would buy sushi to use for their kids' lunches! It's a quick and healthy option for shoppers of all ages.
Different The store is located in a bedroom community outside Champaign, IL and for all intents and purposes no one would expect an offer like this in our local store - it definitely sets us apart.
For Our Store
Low Maintenance Our third-party vendor does all the heavy lifting. They provide the chefs, the menu, they even load the items into our POS. All we need to do is make sure we promote and advertise to our shoppers.
New Offering Rather than put the sushi case in our deli where it could easily blend in, we built a stand-alone section in between our floral and produce department so when you first walk in you see a new fresh department.
New Sales We are making a great margin on sushi (25 percent) and it has created sales for us that simply didn't exist before.
Make sure it's right for you. Once we decided which sushi partner we would be working with, they conducted a market survey to see if a sushi offering would be viable for our customer base.
Determine where to put your sushi case. We didn't want our sushi offering to get lost in our deli case, so we opted to build a free-standing display case and prep area for our sushi department. It took about two months and $23,000 to get the sink and the case together, but we think it was worth the time and cost as now shoppers walking into our store can easily see and experience our fresh offerings!
Advertise your new offering. For our grand opening we hosted a Sushi Social where shoppers could try some sushi on the house as well as sip some complimentary wine. We started the event at 6 p.m. and by 10 p.m. people were still there enjoying the event. It was a great way to invite the community to try our new offering and establish our store as a dine-in destination. In addition to our launch event, we offer a $5 sushi special every Wednesday and have a loyalty program.
Host more events! During our grand opening we hosted just one Sushi Social. If I could go back in time I wish I would have hosted more events at the beginning - and even now!
Make suggestions to your chef. We had a customer ask for some mango in her sushi, so we told our chefs and they came up with a new sushi roll. Not only did we make one customer's day but it's now a seasoned favorite.
Have a best practice of your own? We want to hear it!