The grocery store is like a second home to many – with flexible working hours and the rise of remote jobs, it has begun to overtake the office as the place people spend most of their time other than their house or apartment. Grocery stores and supermarkets, therefore, become familiar. Shoppers who use the same supermarket week in, week out, learn exactly where products are, even who the employees are, and could just about do their weekly grocery shop blindfolded. That said, there are secrets to the supermarket that you might not know about. Unless you have worked in one, the inner workings remain a mystery, while grocery store ownership might just surprise you.
From the conveyors that take groceries from the delivery truck into the building to the belts that carry heavy items around the storerooms and finally the classic conveyor that carries groceries to the cashier, conveyor belts are the first piece of clever technology that you might not have thought too heavily about concerning grocery stores. Like the many types of conveyors available at Fluent Conveyors, these moving platforms allow grocery stores to operate much quicker and more efficiently.
The second supermarket secret is the EPOS – the electronic point of sale. To the customer, it may appear that you simply bring your items to the front, pay, and leave, with the cashier’s scanning doing little more than adding up the price. However, scanning items through the cash point, or EPOS, updates a database of stock, allowing staff to monitor and control the number of items they have, which is incredibly useful for knowing when to order more produce. The data collected by an EPOS is also often used for sales analysis and marketing purposes.
The stockroom or storeroom is another mystery for many shoppers. Just what goes on behind those doors? Much of the work that happens in the storeroom, particularly in grocery stores stocking large amounts of perishable foods, is fighting against food waste. Stock rotation, inventories, and refrigeration are all necessary for battling the rising amount of food that is wasted each year – 12% of fruit and vegetable food waste comes at retail level, with the figure at 9.5% for seafood. Much of this waste happens on the shelves from food that is not bought by customers in time, but food waste prevention begins in the stockroom and is an intense operation.
It would be a fairytale, but it would be nice to think that everybody’s local grocery store was an independently run family business. That could not be further from the case, with almost every brand of supermarket owned by a larger corporate company these days. To name just a few:
- Trader Joe’s is surprisingly owned by Aldi, the German supermarket giant.
- Dutch company Ahold Delhaize own a conglomerate of American chains including Giant, Stop & Shop, Fresh Direct, and Musser’s Markets.
- Supervalu of Rhode Island are the owning company of a range of value supermarkets such as Cub Foods, Shoppers, and Shop N’ Save.