Small Space Meal Solution

Aug 14, 2018



Nakul Patel, Mt. Plymouth IGA
Sorrento, FL
Deli Department

Department Size: 

20' fresh case, 16' lunch/packaged meat case, 
8' doors for frozen meat/fish case

Annual Sales: $6.3m


After watching several restaurant reality shows, I started to recognize a pattern: Chef Gordon Ramsay would come in and tell owners that they needed to simplify their menu. So, I took the same logic and applied it to our deli. Rather than preparing individual orders for each customer, it would be much more profitable to make a large batch of one excellent dish. After we start selling 80-120 servings of boneless ribeye roast in a 4-hour span, we started adding other meals and today we have a rotating weekly menu. As shoppers have caught on, we’re starting to see some real growth. So far in 2018, our deli revenue is up 14 percent and our deli meals are up 32 percent from the same period last year.

Increase in Deli Revenue

Increase in Deli Meals Revenue

Why it Works

For Our Shoppers


We serve up homemade meals, not fast food.


We see busy moms, empty nesters, and busy working adults all come in to pick up a quick, healthy dinner served at just the right portions.


A homemade, balanced dinner for $6.99 is hard to find anywhere else in town.

For Our Store

No Additional Space Needed

We use the barbeque and microwave we already had in our deli to prepare our meals. And to serve, sample, and merchandise our meals, we just set up a 4-foot table in our deli so we aren't taking away space or service from our deli case.

Low Cost to Implement

We have one person from our deli staff team man the serving table. They dish up the meals and offer samples to the shoppers walking past.

Product Trial

We make fresh rolls in our bakery, but for some reason we had a hard time selling them. So, we incorporated them into one of our meals and made sure those shoppers knew the rolls were available in our bakery. Now we have converted customers who tasted them in our meals into repeat customers who buy our rolls.


Put together your meal bundle offering.

A family recipe is best—something shoppers can only get from your store. Think of meals that are easy to prepare, keep warm, and serve.

Use existing appliances in your deli to make large batches.

You'd be surprised how many meals can be made in a microwave if that's all you have.

Set up your selling space.

A small table in your deli with warming dishes or slow cookers along with serving spoons may be all you need. Don't overthink or overwork it.

Have serving containers at the ready.

We found styrofoam containers work great.

Advertise your weekly meal menu online and in-store.

We keep our weekly menu the same so shoppers know what to expect. We post them on Facebook and Instagram in addition to our print ad.


Pricing per meal varies but starts at $6.99 per meal

Mt. Plymouth IGA Sales Data




Pro Tips


You already have a member of your staff working the selling floor, so why not encourage them to offer some samples? It's a great way to get new customers to try your deli items.

Build the Basket

We started adding a cup of soup onto our meals. This not only increased the basket size but also encouraged shoppers to sample our soups if they haven't before.

Nothing Goes to Waste

If you have any leftovers, package up the meals and sell them in your cold case as a ready-to-heat meal solution.

Download the PDF


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