How 85-Year-Old Recipes Still Turn a Tidy Profit

Aug 14, 2018



Laurel Grocery Company, Cornell's IGA
Shelby, OH

Deli Department
Difficulty: Medium
Department Size: 16' salad case
Store Specs: 45,000 SQ - FT


"The recipes for our potato, macaroni, coleslaw, and cranberry salads date back to at least 1932, when the original owners opened the store and started to sell the salads. More than 85 years later, these deli salads remain an important part of local picnics and family gatherings, and a unique way for our store to connect with the community. How have we managed to maintain continued loyalty to these four salads over the years? Our dedication to consistency. We strive to make sure that each batch tastes just as good as the original. While our deli salads already have a loyal fan base, we are always seeking to spread the word further by offering in-store samples. Today, our deli salads account for $5,000 in monthly sales for a gross profit of 60 percent."

Margin on Bundles

Steady Monthly Profits

Why it Works

For Our Shoppers

The salads are a long-standing tradition in our store.

Customers Love It
Many of our customers have grown up with these salads and they are an important part of their family meals.

Customers like that they can quickly grab a homemade salad.

For Our Store

Dependable Category
For more than 85 years, the deli salads have provided consistent monthly sales.

Customer Expectations
Since they can't get these exact deli salads anywhere else, it is a great way to get shoppers into the store.

High Profit Margins
The salads offer gross profit margins of 60 percent.


Make sure that all employees are thoroughly trained.
The manager or owner should make the recipe first, and then teach the best employees how to make the salads. Then, continue training until even the least experienced staff has mastered the recipe.

Pay attention to the details that make your specialty items unique.
In our potato salad, for example, the potatoes have to be nice and soft. If you don't include little details like this in your training, you won't achieve the consistency you are looking for.

Provide clear instructions. 
Print out and post clear, easy-to-follow recipes for your employees.

Make it easy for customers to discover your specialty items.
Provide samples to customers and make the salads readily accessible by placing them both in the salad case and in the grab-and-go section.


The potato, macaroni, and coleslaw salads retail for $3.49/lb., while the cranberry salad retails for $5.99/lb.

Pro Tips

Prepare for increased demand.
During the holiday seasons, we go through a lot more deli salad than we do during off-peak times. Make sure to plan for the higher volume in advance.

Don't mess with a good thing.
As trends change, it can be tempting to update your recipe. But with classics like deli salads, maintaining consistency is important to loyal customers who will pass on the salads to future generations.

Don't forget the little things.
Creating unique specialty items requires some forethought, including a great recipe, a good price point, and the ingredient labels.


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