How to Build a Grocery and C-Store Task Checklist for Employees  

Grocery and convenience stores are expanding their carryout food options – from fresh food to hot and cold prepared meals. Certain supermarkets are even offering order ahead options for deli pick up. While this expansion is exciting, grocery and c-stores need to thoroughly prepare for the unique challenges presented by food prep. 

Digital checklists are useful tools for categorizing retail foodservice tasks because they keep teams organized and provide visibility into task completion. When compiling checklists to organize retail foodservice activities, managers should keep three priorities in mind: food safety, cleanliness and service standards, and efficiency. In this blog, we will discuss how to structure your grocery or c-store checklists so that these three priorities are achieved. 

Food Safety Checklist Items

Grocery and convenience stores that offer hot and cold bar items or “Grab & Go” options may encounter food safety challenges. Some of the top threats to food safety include: 

1) Improper hot/cold holding temperatures 

2) Hot bar food items left on the bar for too long (more on time as a food safety control here)

3) Improper cooking temperatures of food

4) Dirty and/or contaminated utensils and equipment

5) Poor employee health and hygiene

6) Food from unsafe sources

Improper management of these factors can lead to food-borne illness outbreaks. These outbreaks are highly detrimental to customer retention efforts, and can be costly. Food safety threats can be mitigated by including the following tasks in retail foodservice checklists: 

  • Check food temperatures with a bluetooth thermometer 
  • Configure scheduled alerts to remove hot and cold bar items that exceed safe display times
  • Wash hands (schedule reminders at set intervals)
  • Check remote temperature monitoring system to ensure fridges and freezers are not exceeding safe temperature ranges, which could lead to food spoilage
Cleanliness and Service Checklist Items

Any of the following occurrences may disrupt the customer experience, resulting in minimized return rates and lower brand trust:

1) Inconsistent/unpredictable products

2) Poor ambiance

3) Rude customer service

4) Mistakes and/or missing ingredients 

5) Contracting foodborne illness

Grocery & c-stores must maintain a clean environment and efficient food prep operation to promote the safety and satisfaction of both employees and customers. Retail foodservice checklists should be optimized to reduce the likelihood of any disruptions to cleanliness or service. A drop in customer satisfaction can result in up to a 45% loss in customer lifetime value. 

Some Cleanliness/Service standards checklist items to include:

  • Ensure grocery or convenience store signage and exterior windows are clean
  • Stock hot & cold bar with new to-go containers on an hourly basis
  • Clean kitchen, dining area, and bathrooms (*Tip: ensure your store’s cleanliness guidelines reflect the FDA Food Code guidelines)
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Efficiency Checklist Items

Thorough, digital checklists can minimize workflow disruptions, such as long wait times or inconsistent products. The following are potential threats to efficient operations:

1) An unmanned checkout station at the grocery or c-store 

2) Running low on hot or cold bar items

3) Slowdowns due to dirty equipment (deli slicers, knives, etc.)

In grocery and convenience stores, it can be hard to keep an eye on the stock of all ready-to-eat products – from hot/cold bars or prepared food cases. Here are a few digital checklist items to optimize efficiency at your store:

  • Prepare necessary food items at the start of the day (e.g. cut tomatoes for salad bar, season chicken for hot bar)
  • Prepare & package new grab & go items (e.g. sandwiches, soup) on an ongoing basis throughout each shift so that selections do not run low 
  • Clean slicer at deli section on a frequent basis
Digital Checklists Keep Teams Organized and Accountable

Food retail management is more complex than ever with the growing popularity of foodservice operations within grocery and convenience stores. However, this complexity can be reduced by building out detailed, digital checklists. Virtually every job responsibility within a foodservice operation – from ingredient prep, to cleaning, temperature checks, and restocking –  can be covered by checklists. Checklists standardize operational processes throughout all shifts and store locations, promoting food safety, cleanliness & service standards, and efficiency.