VEGETABLES: A STRONG SIDE OF THE BUSINESS

News & Solutions Rotisserie ReportTAMPA, Fla. -- For Kash n' Karry here, chicken, turkey, ribs and pork may constitute the meat of its rotisserie meals strategy, but serve-yourself vegetables are the main course when it come to pushing up average rings and hiking up the bottom line.In the chain's prototype fresh foods format store, a hot table of freshly prepared vegetable side dishes, placed adjacent

News & Solutions Rotisserie Report

TAMPA, Fla. -- For Kash n' Karry here, chicken, turkey, ribs and pork may constitute the meat of its rotisserie meals strategy, but serve-yourself vegetables are the main course when it come to pushing up average rings and hiking up the bottom line.

In the chain's prototype fresh foods format store, a hot table of freshly prepared vegetable side dishes, placed adjacent to the rotisserie carving station, is a major key to the program's meal appeal -- and is indispensable to its money-making ability, said Jarett Peppard, food-service manager for the 91-unit chain.

The ring for a white meat quarter chicken alone is $1.99, for instance. But add serve-yourself sides to that quarter chicken, and the retail is $3.99.

In fact, a side sampler with vegetables only is $3.99, Peppard side. The margin on the side sampler plate is roughly 70%, no matter which of the selections the customer chooses to pile on the plate, he added.

The serve-yourself vegetables enable customers to choose which vegetables and how much of each they want.

"People love the fact that they can serve themselves the side dishes. It adds to their perception of value that they can take any number of varieties, and as much as they can get on their plate," Peppard told SN.

The most popular side dish, not surprisingly, is mashed potatoes. But beyond that, the selection is more complex and carefully thought out.

During an initial two weeks of free sampling for the program, the in-store chefs asked customers what vegetables they liked best and tracked what moved quickly and what didn't.

That marketing intelligence helped whittle the vegetable selection down to eight: corn, Boston baked beans, zucchini marinara, roasted rosemary potatoes, mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, broccoli and cheese, and carrots with dill.

Then the latter two were displaced this month by black beans and saffron rice.