How to maintain grocery store display tables

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Whether you're a grocery store cashier, stock person or sales floor associate, you know how important displays are to the store's operations and visuals. 

The more attention-grabbing and successful a display is, the more it'll be shopped from and, therefore, the more likely that you'll have to tend to it. This can be easy if you're dealing with the produce section and simply have to re-stack the fruits and vegetables, but if it's a display table that visual merchandisers have worked on, touching up the display can seem more difficult than it really is.

Learn visual merchandising basics
If you haven't been formally trained as a visual merchandiser, you may be hesitant to touch a display. However, if it looks empty and shopped over, it negatively impacts the venue's operations and definitely isn't visually appealing. Here are the basics of visual merchandising to help you analyze the best way to reset a display.

  • Stick with the pyramid: One of the most basic concepts of visual merchandising involves the pyramid layout. This means setting up the basic shape on the table, which is eye-catching and gives each item the attention it deserves. If displays have been shopped through and seem to have lost their overall layout, simply reassembling the pyramids can give them a more cohesive look, even if you're forced to make a smaller one than the original due to low stock.
  • Feature size progression: Large items should always be on the bottom and progress onto smaller ones as you move up. This can be challenging if the products are all different shapes. Chances are, your gut instincts are correct. Putting too much thought into the process can lead to confusion and second-guessing. If you're really stuck, ask a co-worker for his or her opinion. 
  • Check on signage: Signage is an essential part of merchandising. Not only do they label the items and their prices, but more importantly they may list the ingredients. This is essential for food safety. If signage has fallen over or is missing, speak to your manager about it, especially if it's an item at the prepared foods bar. This will ensure that the problem is resolved quickly.
  • Know the theme: At some point, you may have to replace the original items with others due to low stock. In these cases, knowing the theme and sticking with it will be important. If it's a brand-centered display focusing on pasta, introducing a competitor into the mix won't be the best response. However, bringing in three or five pasta sauces from the same company can not only fill the display, but also complement it. 
  • Work in threes: If you have to introduce new items to the mix, working in odd numbers will give people options. Additionally, asymmetry in numbers encourages the eye to continue scanning the display, whereas even numbers create symmetry, which can lead people to stop looking. Lastly, always feature more than one variety if possible to avoid the single item looking accidental or out of place.

You might find yourself enjoying visual merchandising as you tend to displays throughout the store. If you're really interested in the practice and want to try your hand at setting one up from scratch, don't hesitate to speak to your managers about it. You might be able to have some visual merchandising duties passed onto you or even be promoted to the position one day. It's one of the lesser-known food service jobs that you might wind up loving!

Brought to you by Shoes For Crews, the trusted leader in safety footwear to food service employees for more than 30 years.

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