Checkout at 40: Superquinn Pulls Plug on Bulk (November 1983)
This year, Checkout commemorates its 40th anniversary under its current ownership, and with this in mind, every week, Retail Intelligence is going to ‘reel in the years’ and publish a story from our extensive archives. This article from November 1983 focuses on Superquinn's decision to pull the plug on bulk foods.
Superquinn has pulled out of bulk foods. The move comes only weeks after a major uproar in the UK where hygiene standards have been severely criticised.
“When we saw the idea taking off in North America, we felt we should try it out here. We looked at various ‘bins’ that were being used,” explained Superquinn’s Alan McDonnell (pictured), “and worked closely with the Health authorities here to ensure that we met every standard.
“However with all the different techniques and experiments we attempted, we were not happy that hygiene control met the requirements we insist on in our shops. As a result we have written it off as an idea that didn’t work. We will, however, continue to monitor the situation in the US and Canada and if a satisfactory method of dispensing bulk food can be found, we will re-examine our options.”
Initiated in March of this year, the concept has been running in two of the multiple’s outlets – Walkinstown and Finglas – where it is reported to have been extremely successful. “We were selling two and a half tonnes per week in Walkinstown alone,” McDonnell said. “Because of that we have decided to extend our ‘half pack’ service to encompass the widest range of goods possible.”
By dropping bulk food, Superquinn claims it has not incurred any major losses – either in terms of personnel or in equipment. “Wastage was always minimal,” McDonnell said, “and the investment in terms of a supermarket’s overall outlay quite in significant. Staff had be especially trained of course, but because of its location (next to fruit and vegetables) bulk food fell into the produce section and was handled by staff in that area.”
Quinnsworth has not been affected by the Superquinn pullout and is to continue supplying its customers with bulk items at selected outlets.
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