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Customers in your grocery store enjoy the convenience of a great salad bar. It lets them put together a quick meal on the go or assemble side dishes for dinner at home. You appreciate the buffet as a strong seller that encourages repeat business by keeping consumers happy. Secure their purchasing loyalty and your bottom line by improving salad bar operations with these seven cold table strategies.
How to Improve Salad Bar Operations
1. Offer Enticing Variety
When the fast food industry recognizes the value of variety at salad bars, you’re dealing with more than a casual dining trend. Customers want traditional favorites, but their purchases perk up with enticing choices like fresh romaine hearts and crunchy broccoli. Successful salad bars offer everything from chilled pastas and marinated mushrooms to strawberries, snow peas and sun-dried tomatoes.
2. Wow With Presentation
The dark, leafy greens of healthy kale, arugula and spinach add eye-catching contrasts to a cold table. Bell peppers pack generous servings of vitamin C in natural rings of brilliant reds and yellows. Invite interest in your salad bar with selections that attract today’s health-conscious consumers. Wow those customers with appetizing presentations of textures and colors.
3. Source the Freshest
Don’t undo careful prep and creative presentation with produce that wilts before its time. Source favorite salad bar veggies like baby iceberg lettuce and romaine hearts from established suppliers so that you can depend on peak produce freshness. It’s a quality that consumers see and taste, and it helps build their shopping loyalty.
4. Get Employees Involved
While employees are responsible for food safety and equipment sanitation, they’re also great ambassadors who represent your brand. As they work on salad bar prep and setup, give them the information they need to field consumer questions. When an inquiry about nutritional value or calorie count is answered with confidence and a smile, you’re providing an appreciated layer of customer service.
5. Make Packaging Transparent
Shoppers spend almost $29 billion a year on freshly prepared meals from the grocery store. Packaged takeout has become a popular addition to traditional salad bars, so connect with customers who enjoy the convenience. Win their trust by clearly and accurately labeling all ingredients in prepared meals. That transparency helps customers make healthy choices and avoid allergic reactions.
6. Ensure Consumer Safety
Consumer safety is a paramount concern across all fields of the food industry, and your salad bar is held to the same rigorous standards. Make sure all equipment operates to code with regular inspections. Train employees in proper food handling procedures, schedule frequent refresh sessions, and stress the important connection between their vigilance and public health.
7. Reduce Product Waste
Improve your bottom line by reducing product waste on the salad bar. Practice smart prep and setup, and closely monitor cold table temperatures. Always source from trusted suppliers so that you’re assured of fresh, high quality produce that delivers the longest possible shelf life.
Cater to Customer Taste
Customers expect fresh produce that they can box up on the run and enjoy at their leisure. Make your store location their favorite salad bar destination by catering to their taste with delicious, healthy options. As one of the established leaders among California produce growers and shippers, we’re proud to do our part by supplying premium vegetables from our fields to your operations year-round. You expect the very best, and Hitchcock Farms always delivers.
Karen Campbell brings solid industry expertise to her role as general manager for Hitchcock Farms. Her foodservice career started after her graduation from CSU Fresno with a degree in Agricultural Business Management. Beginning in 1994, Karen put her skills to work in both sales and business management for a local grower-shipper company.
Karen joined the team at Hitchcock Farms in 2015 where she’s successfully filled and expanded the role of general manager. She also enjoys working closely with local and national chefs and foodservice professionals developing new ideas that keep the industry moving forward.