Gourmet Foods Sales

The current economic times may have hit gourmet food lovers in the pocketbook, but they haven't let it hit their taste buds. Although money may be tight, cravings are very hard to resist.

Gourmet food lovers continue to consume luxury and specialty items. Some things, such as high-end chocolate, seem to be recession-proof. According to a study by the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade and Mintel International more than 50 percent of specialty foods are bought at supermarkets.

Consumers in the western United States are 13 percent more likely to purchase specialty foods than the rest of the country, according to the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade study. And sales of gourmet and specialty foods have been growing faster than the overall industry for the past five years; according to consumer research firm Packaged Facts. Also a recent Harris Poll found that 51 percent of respondents are eating dinner at home more, but 76 percent won't compromise on food quality no matter the price.

Maintenance for your POS

STCR offers a variety of software and hardware maintenance to help protect your investment. With a yearly maintenance agreement, the STCR help desk is available to assist you in resolving system problems 24 hours a day 365 days a year. You can also purchase maintenance for the software programs we sell. Software maintenance allows us to engage the vendors that develop the applications for extended support. This maintenance also entitles you to new versions of the software when they are released.

A yearly hardware maintenance agreement will keep your equipment such as registers, controllers, back-office computers and various peripherals such as printers, monitors, scanners and pin pads up and running. Some of the plans, such as IBM hardware maintenance, include on-site service whereas others are depot maintenance. Depot maintenance involves sending the failing device out for either repair or a replacement that will be shipped back to you.

Carrying these maintenance plans will minimize the downtime you experience when something malfunctions. Increased downtime can lead to lost income when failing elements cause your store to run inefficiently. Allowing these maintenance plans to lapse can also have a negative effect on your bottom line. Not only may there be a waiting period to reinstate your maintenance it can also be very expensive. For example lapsed IBM software maintenance will cost almost three times as much to reinstate as it would for one year of maintenance. With the holiday season upon us it makes good business sense to carry and keep current the maintenance on your POS system.


New revisions have been made to the WIC program as per the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food & Nutrition Service. The new revisions now include a program called WIC CVV. WIC CVV stands for WIC Cash Value Vouchers. This program allows participants to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables, frozen fruits and vegetables and some canned goods for their children as well as for themselves. These new items typically were not available before with the normal WIC program. All stores which currently accept WIC must be able to accept the new WIC CVV as well. Unlike a normal WIC transaction, if there is a balance remaining after the voucher(s) has been used, the customer may pay by another tender. If there is an excess balance left on the WIC CVV voucher it will not be given back to the customer.

If your location would like assistance in setting up the new WIC CVV for tendering and reporting purposes, please contact Linda Warke @ (607) 757-0181 for further information.

Price Optimization

Price Optimization seems to be the new buzz word in retail. Price Optimization software helps companies determine the optimal price for a product based on many factors such as gross margin %, competition, private label to national brand gap, demand (price elasticity) and brand linking. Additionally, the software utilizes historical data and predictive algorithms to produce price recommendations. What price should I sell this item for to create the highest gross profit for my company?
Price Optimization programs are driven by proprietary forecasting engines. These engines are based on sophisticated mathematical algorithms originally developed for scientific research and military planning. Airlines began using these solutions in the 1980s to instantly price fares based on variables like booking lead time, flight date and connections, time of day, service class and customer preference. The programs required enormous processing power only available in super computers and primarily used by large companies like airlines that could justify the investment.

With the advances of hardware and the arrival of faster and cheaper servers, companies have been developing software engines to run on these servers while creating an affordable solution for smaller businesses. The results can be churned out in a reasonable amount of time, allowing a merchant to make more informed decisions on their day to day price strategies.

As the programs make their way into the independent grocery industry, grocers are finding that they can increase their bottom line by 1-2% through the use of these tools. By looking at the detailed information the software provides, they’re able to see potential problems with price strategies that had once been hidden in rolled-up data.

Where is the future of this technology? Only time will tell, however with the competitive nature of the landscape, this could be the next tool that will help the independent level the playing field with the competition.