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Retail Loss Prevention Practices Award: Bits N' Bytes C3

Boise State University
September 2005
Gross Sales/Day: $3,250-6,500

This is a first-time category in the Best in the Business Awards competition, and it addresses a common and significant issue for college c-store operations.

The inaugural winner of the Loss Prevention Practices Award saw a 24% increase in beverage sales, a 30% increase in grab-and-go sales and an average food cost decrease of seven percent after implementing its loss prevention strategy.

Boise State's Bits n' Bytes C3 store had high and inconsistent food costs fluctuating on a weekly basis, with highs of 62.5% and lows of 52.9%, averaging 48-51%. Research indicated that theft was the issue for a number of reasons:

• the entrance and exit were not controlled;

• staff was unable to keep watch, especially during peak hours;

• a condiment bar in an unmonitored space invited customers to dress their grab-and-go items there and then walk out

• cups were next to the beverage fountain, allowing customers to fill up and leave before paying.

Boise State implemented the following strategies to correct the problems:

• Established entrance and exits, along with a hostess greeting

• Cashier Training to greet entering customers so that heightened security would be signaled to those coming in;

• Shoplifting Training to all employees as a requirement, focusing on the key characteristics of such theft and how to prevent it;

• Tools such as a worksheet for grab-and-go counts, a c-store item waste sheet, cup usage chart, communication log, item plan-o-grams and c-store customer service standards were created for checks and balances;

• Floating c-store supervisor established for peak hours to focus on helping customers find items, organize cashier lines and answer questions;

• Created heightened security by moving beverage cups to behind the counter, which not only reduced theft but increased suggestive selling opportunities, and moving condiments outside the store, which also heightened visibility and improved traffic flow.

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