More than a place to pick up some gum, today’s convenience store is the perfect baby of a grocery, smoke shop and fast casual restaurant. And a valuable baby at that. NACS, The Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing, estimates that the industry generates $575 Billion in sales annually. The shift towards food service has become so pronounced that, according to the organization, convenience stores have evolved from gas stations that happen to sell food to food retailers that happen to sell gas.
This shift makes convenience store cleaning--especially the floors--more important than ever. According to a 2011 Harris Interactive survey, 86% of people consider dirty floors a deal killer when it comes to patronizing a business. Maintaining convenience store floors isn’t especially challenging but there are some nuances. Master them to boost sales.
Put Out the Welcome Mat
With all of the grease, oil, dirt and grime tracked into convenience stores, protecting the floor starts at the door; five feet in front of the door actually. At least five feet of protective matting should be installed outside the entrance with another five feet placed inside to effectively remove soils from the bottom of shoes. These mats protect the heavily-trafficked entry, cut down on tracked-in soils and absorb rainwater, reducing the risk of slip, trip and fall accidents.
The Skinny on Narrow Aisles
Convenience stores vary in size from 800-square-foot minis to 5,000-square-foot hyper stores. No matter the size, all convenience stores maximize their Stock Keeping Units (SKUs). In fact, they must offer at least 500 SKUs to be classified as a convenience store no matter the size. This is why all convenience stores have narrow aisles.
Skinny aisles may maximize retail space, but they complicate floor maintenance. Large equipment, like autoscrubbers, clean and polish floors well but are bulky and their inherent side-to-side motion make them hard to navigate down a narrow space. A smaller, more nimble dispense-and-vac system better suits a heavily-stocked, narrow-aisled convenience store interior. Added bonus, a system like this effectively pulls soil from grout making it perfect for maintaining the tile floors found in bathrooms.
The Sticky Icky
Convenience stores offer lots of self-serve coffee, soda and Slushies. Convenient for sure, but self service guarantees lots of spills. Clean these soils immediately to protect against slips and tracking sticky substances through the rest of the store. A dispense-and-vac does the job faster and more thoroughly than a mop, freeing staff up for other tasks.
Want more tips and ideas for convenience store cleaning? Click here.
Amy Milshtein covers design, facility management and business topics for a variety of trade publications and consumer magazines.
Her work has won several awards, most recently a regional silver Azbee Award of Excellence.
She lives in Portland, OR with her family and Clyde, a 15-lb tabby cat. Once an avid hiker, these days she finds herself on the less-challenging -but-still-exciting 'creaky knees' trails.