- Schnuck Markets has installed self-service kiosks that enable customers to place deli orders in 30 stores, bringing the units to more than half of the Midwestern supermarket chain's locations, according to a Monday press release.
- The terminals accept orders for sliced meats, cheeses and prepared foods, with the items delivered to an adjacent cooler for shoppers to pick up at their convenience.
- Schnucks is increasing its use of the self-service deli-ordering units as retailers look for ways to overcome continuing difficulty in hiring workers to staff their stores.
Schnucks' decision to double down on automated ordering equipment to handle deli orders expands to 67 the number of its 111 stores that offer the labor-saving option to shoppers.
The grocer described the move as a way to help customers save time when visiting its stores. Instead of standing in line to tell a deli employee what they want, shoppers can enter their choices on the terminal and browse for other items while their order is prepared. The system sends customers a text message when their food is ready to collect, according to the announcement.
Schnucks also allows shoppers at stores equipped with the kiosks, which are located in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana, to place deli orders for same-day pickup using its mobile app. The chain began letting people order deli items online in 2019, when it offered the service to customers at 18 stores — 14 of which also received self-service kiosks, St. Louis TV station Fox 2 reported.
Chace MacMullan, senior director of digital experience for Schnucks, noted that the kiosks help streamline operations in addition to providing convenience for customers. "This is one of the many ways we are providing customers best-in-fresh solutions while also making it easier for teammates to manage orders at the deli counter," MacMullan said in a statement about the new kiosks.
Like other grocers, Schnucks has been facing challenges in attracting workers amid a national labor shortage that has pushed retailers to take aggressive steps to incentivize people to join their payrolls. Grocers are also increasingly turning to automation to reduce their reliance on human workers to stock stores and serve customers.
Last fall, Schnucks said it would raise pay for associates in its deli, meat and seafood departments at least $12.75 per hour, more than the $12.10 hourly minimum wage it announced for other workers.
In another reflection of the challenge retailers face in staffing deli counters, Seattle-area cooperative grocery chain PCC Community Markets boosted its referral bonus for people joining deli or meat departments to $500, compared to as much as $300 for workers assigned to other parts of the store.