With any retail establishment, cleanliness is critical for attracting and retaining customers. It is even more important for grocery stores and supermarkets where food and other perishable items are being sold. Not only can it influence your customer’s perception, but even the slightest degree of disorganization or uncleanliness can be a serious food safety violation.
Cleaning That Goes Beyond Just Food Display Areas
It should go without saying that the food displays, bins, and shelves of any grocery store or supermarket need to be pristinely clean. Though these aren’t the only places that get noticed by shoppers and
Things like trash scattered across the parking lot, stains all over the polished concrete floors, or unpleasant odors in aisles can have a profound impact on a customer’s perception of your establishment. This even extends to the state of your supermarket’s bathrooms.
One research study even found that 64% of shoppers say they’ve left a store without purchasing due to its poor physical appearance. Of course, this sends them straight to your local competitor to give them the chance to earn that customer’s loyalty. The result isn’t just a lost sale that day, it could be a lost sale for years and years to come.
Ultimately, good customer service isn’t doesn’t just come down to friendly, and helpful employees. It includes the condition of the store to every level to provide new and returning customers with the best possible shopping experience.
Of course, this means that supermarket managers and department supervisors also need to be constantly mindful of the store’s appearance, down to every square inch in every department. With that in mind, there are a few areas that require special focus, which might also include additional training for some of your current employees. This includes some of the following factors.
Industry Standards For Supermarkets & Grocery Stores
It’s important to remember that health & safety inspectors are people too. They need to eat, and they get their food from a grocery store or supermarket. If they choose to come into your establishment as customers to find unkempt isles, dirty shelves, and questionable food safety practices, chances are very good it could trigger an early inspection in the coming weeks or even days.
Not to mention the very real chance that customers who are disappointed or revolted by an unclean supermarket as just as likely to complain to landlords, inspectors, and other public health agencies.
Industry standards are provided to all supermarket and grocery store managers and need to be followed. Though this represents the minimal amount of what needs to be done. If you want to attract new customers, retain the steadfast loyalty of existing customers and reduce your chances of being hit for a surprise inspection from the local health & safety board, then you need to exceed all the posted industry standards.
Providing Customers With A Positive Experience
As we stated earlier, helpful staff is just one important element of providing your supermarket’s customers with a positive shopping experience. To truly impress new and existing customers you need to be diligent about maintaining a very clean store with a fresh atmosphere. This includes infusing the air with pleasant aromas that many customers consider important for any supermarket or grocery store.
When a new customer is pleased with the environment and shopping experience, your store will inevitably be more likely to earn their loyalty going into the future. When you consider the highly competitive nature of the grocery store industry in general, long-term customer retention is vital to higher sales. Not to mention getting strong, positive referrals from their friends and family.
Establishing A Supermarket Cleaning Checklist
Setting up a checklist for every department in your supermarket is a great way to ensure that each department manager knows what their responsibilities are. It also ensures that employees have the information they need to be proactive about maintaining a clean, healthy, and inviting environment.
This supermarket cleaning checklist also needs to include common areas that are shared by most departments such as:
- Sweeping & mopping floors
- Quickly dealing with spills
- Removing stains from floors as soon as possible
- Polishing hard floors when needed
- Facing shelves for a more full & clean appearance
- General dusting & removing small debris
- Emptying garbage cans daily or as needed
- Wiping down all glass and other display cases to remove smudges
- Wiping down all handles, light switches, and high touch areas
- Cleaning conveyor belts and pickup shelves
- Vacuuming debris off cold case shelves
- Areas That Need Additional Scrutiny
There are a few areas and things that tend to draw increased scrutiny. Setting up cleaning procedures and checklists to go the extra mile can go a long way toward maximizing customer retention, and reducing your risk of experiencing a spot inspection from the local health & safety department.
Keeping A Clean & Orderly Parking Lot
Your supermarket parking lot is often the first thing people see. If their first impression of your establishment is loose garbage and grocery bags blowing through the parking lot like tumbleweeds as ignored garbage cans spill out into the lanes, they might not even park, let alone come into your store.
Make sure that your staff who are responsible for retrieving the shopping cart are also responsible for emptying exterior garbage cans and maintaining a clean parking area.
Seasonal Exterior Cleaning
A lot of the supermarkets with the highest customer retention rates also go the extra mile to professionally deep clean the building’s exterior and parking structure. This includes things like removing hard water stains as well as using a pressure washer to remove bird dropping and stuck-on gum.
Cleaning Shopping Carts
A lot of supermarket shoppers will grab a handbasket or a shopping cart when they walk through the door. This starts with placing a hand sanitizer station and disinfectant wipes near the grocery carts to encourage customers to safeguard themselves against residual germs. Your employees should also be instructed to remove any stray refuse and scraps of paper from carts & baskets before returning them to the store’s entryway area.
Maintaining A Clean Deli Space
Most supermarkets have some type of deli. This might include a full-service lunch counter-style deli, or simply a department with cold salads and sliced meats. These open-air food items always draw increased scrutiny from customers and health inspectors alike.
While things like rotating stock, disposing of any expired food items, and maintaining clean food handling equipment are an absolute must, they represent the tip of the iceberg when it comes to maintaining a clean and inviting deli area.
Maintaining Clean Bathrooms
The state and appearance of your supermarket’s bathrooms will have a major influence on the perception of your customers. Keeping bathroom floors clean and dry is absolutely essential. Make sure that paper towels, soap, and hand sanitizer dispensers are always stocked. Then also making sure that the garbage receptacles are also empty is also essential.
Odor management is also important in a supermarket bathroom. Updating ventilation systems and using state-of-the-art deodorizers will also help ensure that your guests have a pleasant experience.
The Benefits Of Hiring A Third-Party Janitorial Service
While your best employees are certainly going to be dedicated to maintaining a clean supermarket, some measures are beyond their level of training. Not to mention their access to professional-grade cleaning equipment. In times like this, a savvy supermarket manager can turn to a professional custodial service like Building Services Inc.
We have highly trained custodial technicians with access to commercial-grade cleaning equipment. We can provide a larger store with on-site custodial staff, or schedule professional cleaning services for after your normal hours of operation. We also offer weekly, monthly, or seasonal deep cleaning surfaces to help keep every square inch of your supermarket up to your customer’s highest expectations.