In the past year, grocery stores have rolled out many changes due to the pandemic. What we are now realizing is that many of those changes are likely here to stay, having given some of the best grocery stores a critical edge for success in this new market.
Grocery Store Changes that are Likely Here to Stay:
- Physical distancing at checkout stands will likely remain, as will floor stickers reminding patrons not to crowd one another.
- Many grocery stores reduced their hours of operation during the pandemic, allowing for more time to clean and disinfect the store. This, too, is expected to continue going forward.
- Reserving the first hour of the day to welcome seniors may also continue.
- We’ll all be talking to checkout tellers through Plexiglas barriers moving forward; these shields are becoming permanent in virtually all types of food-service locations.
- Restrooms are being relocated and reimagined, moving to the front of the store so shoppers can wash their hands upon entering and staff can monitor the restroom more easily. Further, one-stall restrooms will become increasingly rare. Larger restrooms will allow grocery stores to accommodate more and allow for physical distancing.
- And the most significant change going forward — grocery stores will concentrate on cleanliness more than ever before. Grocers want their stores cleaner and brighter, with shinier floors, cleaner restrooms, and well-maintained displays.
The Importance of Cleanliness
“If there is one feature that the best grocery stores and supermarkets in the U.S. share, it’s cleanliness,” according to a recent study by Consumer Reports. “Cleanliness is, in fact, a common element among all top-rated [grocery] stores,” something which will only grow in importance.
So, if customers expect grocery stores to be much cleaner moving forward, how will this happen?
One way is by using extraction-type floor cleaning equipment to clean up spill. The Kaivac AutoVac Stretch™ brings effective extraction-type floor cleaning equipment to the grocery environment. This technology removes entire spills quickly and thoroughly. Workers are leaving floors clean, dry, and ready for foot traffic in minutes.
Sturgis also suggests that using mops and buckets to clean floors will continue to be outdated. “Mopping [especially with soiled mops] penetrates the floor’s finish, diminishing its appearance.”
Workers will also be cleaning the front of the store more often. Sturges believes grocery stores will want to welcome customers with spotless entries, expanding this clean welcome to outside the store as well. “Pressure washing of walkways and sidewalks directly in front of the store will become a regular practice.”
Focus on Restroom Cleanliness
A key part of the reimagining of restrooms mentioned earlier involves cleaning. According to ISSA, the worldwide cleaning association, the fastest and most thorough way to clean restrooms, whether in grocery stores or any commercial facility, is to use a No-Touch Cleaning® system. These systems apply cleaning solutions and disinfectants to surfaces and fixtures before they power rinse them. The machine can also vacuum up the solution as well as contaminants.
Finally, patrons will find that grocery store refrigerators and display cases will be far cleaner. However, instead of using conventional manual cleaning methods — rags, sprayers, sponges, and elbow grease — grocery stores will be using systems such as the Kaivac Cooler Case Cleaner. A built-in pressure washer gently but effectively cleans condenser coils, shelving, fans, and other refrigeration components with this system. Plus, it helps decrease energy consumption and heat, both of which can shorten the lifespan of the refrigerator and the items in the case.
What should we think about all these changes? Making grocery stores cleaner and healthier can only be viewed positively. Taking these added cleaning measures will make it happen, and far easier, quicker, and less costly than expected.