The hardest part of retailing salvage food is working with items getting them ready for merchandising on a sales floor. Salvage food is stock that in some way is comprised be either dating, condition, or both and requires effort and time prior to stocking your store.
Cleanliness – When you buy pallets of salvage food stock is usually dusty, dirty, and in some cases sticky from spilled items. When you are unloading pallets of food make sure you clean each item either with some sort of dusting cloth or a damp cloth to remove residue from busted soda cans or fruit juices that have spilled. Do not attempt to resell dirty merchandise as this will turn customers off giving them a sense that your store is not sanitary.
Product Dating – Establish a procedure for those items that are near-dated or expired. How long past the expiration date will you resell items within your salvage food store? As you process loads that come in the store check each item for freshness dating. Customers may find great value in products that are deeply discounted because freshness dating has been reached, but if they are constantly looking at items that are 2-3 months past their date…you are going to generate a negative perception about the quality and safety of items you are reselling. It’s best to establish a “shelf life” for items merchandised within a salvage food store…and stick to it. It’s cheaper in the long run to toss items rather than lose returning customers.
Quantity – Dealing with limited quantities makes it hard for the salvage food reseller as you may only get small number of any one item. If you plan on setting your store up like a traditional market, making food sections can be a challenge. Getting started you might have to group similar items near each other and as you order more stock fill in to “beef up” sections of gondola shelving. Once you are ordering truckloads on a consistent basis, you will find it easier to maintain actual food categories and sections of a salvage food store.