Monger Tip: Preparing for the Holiday Rush
Hey, cheese retailers & specialty food folks! Let’s confer.
This time of year is about planning and keeping your wits about you. It’s the calm before the storm, so to speak. It’s time to take stock of inventory, analyze staff, check on refrigeration and shelving, and basically think ahead. Which none of us really like to be reminded of but we all know we must do—especially now, pre-holidays. Sure, it’s hard to motivate. But don’t forget about your interested, ready-to-help staff and colleagues. Sometimes the answer is right in front of you.
That said…this is the time to look around and take stock. Evaluate your staff and colleagues. Who is creative beyond belief, that person who drives you nuts by drawing on boxes that cheese is delivered in? Put that person onto signage and expect great things—with a deadline! And who always takes far more time than anyone else when asked to clean and rearrange the cheese case, making sure it’s all immaculate and organized—and walks you through it so the organization makes sense? You’ve got your back of house manager for the holidays!
And others? Who is a dependable detail person, who can handle lines of customers and set up systems? Sit side-by-side and write out the holiday schedule to include: cashiers (if you cover your own cash-ringing), platters and cheese-catering pick-ups, early morning shifts and closing evening shifts, the best cleaners, etc. In other words, empower your team by assigning everyone the job their best at and then setting them up to succeed at that job!
The goal here is to embrace cheese retail at the busiest time of year (the holidays) and plan now for when you’re all on auto-pilot. You’re probably focused on what cheeses to order (and pre-order) so if you can get the other stuff taken care of , like display, system and sales, then you’ll be in very good shape.
Remember: This is supposed to be fun. Yes, it’s busy and yes, being in the service industry is more than trying at times. But you love cheese. And (we hope) your staff and colleagues do, too. Keep that in mind at all times. Your customers love cheese, too. And selling cheese in the best condition possible and pleasing customers with their purchases is really what it’s all about. Let’s remind each other not to forget that!
And last but certainly not least, let's remember to respect each other for the different talents we bring to this amazing job thing we call “work.”
Lassa Skinner is a culture co-founder and the magazine's Retail Director. Lassa is based in California’s Bay area and teaches classes both nationally and internationally. With her successful cheese and food retail background, she’s intent on making sure that culture is both helpful and handy for cheese shops, makers, and cheese-related events everywhere