Self-Order Strategy Proves Tasty for Grocery Deli

Read the Nino Salvaggio- Deli 1-2-3 - NEXTEP SYSTEMS Case Study

By Richard Slawsky, Networld Media

The Players

NEXTEP SYSTEMS, based in Troy, MI, is the industry leader in integrated self-order solutions for foodservice industries. With kiosks, mobile & online ordering, Deli 1-2-3® gives guests every opportunity to buy. Designed to capture & enhance sales while streamlining production, Deli 1-2-3® eliminates deli blow-by, reduces wait-times and increases order averages daily for progressive grocers nationwide.

Nino Salvaggio International Marketplace operates three specialty grocery stores in the Metro Detroit area. Offerings include a gourmet butcher shop; a bakery with a huge selection of breads, pastries and desserts baked in-house; and aisles of international foods ranging from dragon fruit to za’atar spice. Nino’s deli includes an olive bar, pasta made fresh daily and an enormous selection of domestic and imported cold cuts, sliceable cheeses and dried, smoked and cured sausages.

The Challenge

Anyone who has visited a supermarket deli likely knows that during a busy period the process generally involves taking a number, waiting for that number to be called, placing an order and waiting some more while the order is being prepared. The end result is often frustration for the customer and missed sales opportunities on the part of the store as customers either wait at the counter instead of spending that time shopping or avoid the wait altogether, settling for low-margin items in the cooler.

Those were among the issues Nino Salvaggio International Marketplace was trying to solve in 2008 when it deployed NEXTEP SYSTEMS’ innovative Deli 1-2-3, a kiosk that allows customers to place an order with the deli from a touchscreen kiosk when they enter the store, continue shopping and pick up that order when they are ready to check out. The system also provides customers with the option of receiving a text-message notification when their orders are complete.

“On a Saturday or Sunday, we could have a line 10 people deep at all three of our stores with eight slicers running,” said Nino Salvaggio controller Paul O’Donnell. “We are a high-volume deli. We put the kiosks near the door so customers could place their order when they arrived and meander through the store while it is being prepared.”

Nino Salvaggio’s Troy location served as the pilot, but after just two weeks the store decided to roll out Deli 1-2-3 systems to its other locations. At the time, the company said the kiosks had helped increase the number of customers it could serve at the deli counter, boosting sales in the process.

But that was then, and this is now. After seven years in service, are those kiosks still living up to their original promise?

The solution

“We can take something off the kiosk menu immediately if we need to, so someone isn’t ordering an item only to find when they get to the counter that it’s out of stock.” – Paul O’Donnell, Controller, Nino Salvaggio

Today, Nino’s has Deli 1-2-3 systems in all three of its locations in the Detroit area. The system includes self-order touchscreen kiosks with an intuitive graphical interface as well as monitors mounted above the deli that let customers know when their orders are ready. The monitors serve double duty, promoting the self-order system when not displaying order status. Customers also can place orders online or via a mobile device.

“One of the things that’s nice about it is how it handles out-of-stock items,” O’Donnell said. “We can take something off the kiosk menu and online menu immediately if we need to, so someone isn’t ordering an item only to find when they get to the counter that it’s out of stock.”

Not only has the system made it more convenient for customers who want to place a deli order and continue shopping while the order is being prepared, but minimizing lines at the deli counter also has served to open up the opportunity for staff to have a more personal interaction with customers.

“The Deli 1-2-3 system is working out great, and we look at it as a huge success.” – Paul O’Donnell, Controller, Nino Salvaggio

“I love ordering through the kiosks, but my wife wants to go to the counter and watch every slice,” O’Donnell said. “Different people have different perspectives on it, but it hasn’t taken over that in-person interaction.”

Since the kiosks were installed, Nino’s has added sushi to the self-serve menu in addition to its deli offerings. The company also is looking at other areas in the store that may be suited to self-service ordering.

The Results

Customers adopted the kiosks right out of the gate, with more than 70,000 deli orders placed via the kiosks across Nino’s three stores in 2008. In 2013 that figure topped 82,000 orders.

The growth in online and mobile orders has been even more impressive, with the number of orders placed via that channel rising from just a few hundred in 2008 to an astounding 16,000 in 2013.

Deli Employees take orders from the Order Management System, which displays online & mobile orders according to the requested fulfillment time.
“Customers are definitely using the system, and it enhances their shopping experience,” O’Donnell said. “Many of our shoppers come in every week, and they have come to expect it.”

Ticket averages have grown as well, with the average total for an order placed at the kiosk increasing nearly 5 percent between 2012 and 2013.

The average ticket for an online order has grown 11 percent over the same period. Customers preparing for a tailgating party or other function tend to place those large orders via the online channel; as a result, the average total for an online order tends to run about 50 percent higher than an order placed in-store at the kiosk.

While adding the kiosk and online/mobile ordering channels has increased deli sales via greater customer throughput and higher overall ticket averages, they likely have contributed to increased sales in other parts of the store as well. By placing their orders via the kiosk or online, customers can spend time shopping rather than standing in a line at the deli, and once they pick up their deli orders they aren’t feeling the frustration that previously may have prompted them to cut their shopping trips short.

“People can come in, place their order and go without having to wait in line,” O’Donnell said. “The Deli 1-2-3 system is working out great, and we look at it as a huge success.”


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