Safety Initiatives & Tech Investments Top Supermarket Agendas over Next 12 months

New research uncovers operations execution hurdles and priorities as grocery chains look beyond pandemic

SAN FRANCISCO, March 24, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Zenput, the global leader in operations execution solutions, today shared results of a survey of grocery chain operators conducted in collaboration with Technomic. The research revealed new insights into the top barriers to consistent team execution facing the grocery industry, as well as where operators are prioritizing initiatives to serve customers in new ways to drive growth in 2021. Key findings from the survey reveal:

  • Grocery operators’ top priorities in the coming year include implementing new technologies, managing food costs, and mitigating food safety risks
  • Fewer than half of operators are very confident they could identify a food safety concern before it becomes an issue, and when an issue is identified, only 10% say it would be corrected within a day
  • Safety-related initiatives are a big part of 2021 plans with new food safety protocols, new safety/sanitation protocols, and new quality programs ranking 1, 2 & 3, respectively
  • More than two-thirds of operators implemented enhanced sanitization procedures during the pandemic; more than half of those who did intend to make these changes permanent

“The research findings underscore that the pandemic has changed the grocery industry in significant ways and has operators thinking differently about where they focus to unlock growth and serve customers going forward,” said Vladik Rikhter, Zenput’s CEO. “It’s clear from the study that technology adoption is accelerating as grocery chains look to make employees more productive and deliver safe and positive customer experiences.”

The research study was based on a survey of 80 grocery operators conducted by Technomic in February 2021. The pool of survey participants was comprised of operations leaders and managers, field leaders, store managers, food safety/QA managers, C-suite execs, and owners.

Many of the changes spurred by the pandemic are here to stay

Over the last 12 months, operators implemented a range of new initiatives and changes to existing processes, the most common of which include enhanced safety and sanitation procedures (65% of survey respondents), new or increased usage of third-party delivery (61%), and employee temperature checks (58%).

Respondents indicate that enhanced safety and sanitation procedures are most likely to be permanent, with more than half of operators expecting to maintain these changes going forward. The shift from in person to online training and curbside pickup options also rose to the top as changes that will outlast the pandemic.

Opportunity to improve food safety communications and compliance

Grocery chains share communications on food safety more than most topics, on average about 4 times/month. Yet less than 40% of operators are very confident communications from headquarters are effectively landing at the store level which may explain why only 1 in 3 grocers are very confident in their ability to execute new food safety protocols.

This likely highlights low technology adoption in this area with less than 20% of operators reporting using software or an app to support communications. Most operators are still relying on email or in-person visits.

Technology is becoming core to how work gets done but many early on adoption curve

Supermarket operators are required to complete a variety of tasks every day from opening and closing checklists, sanitization procedures and temperature checks to manager walkthroughs, production sheets, and inventory.

Sanitizing and cleaning occurs more often throughout the day than other operational tasks. On average, operators are doing this work nearly five times per day. Each occurrence takes approximately 18 minutes, totaling about an hour per day.

Fewer than 50% of operators are very confident that tasks are being executed correctly or on time throughout the day. This is likely due to almost half of those surveyed still using paper checklists to track completion of tasks rather than software or app, although the majority expect to invest in technology to manage this work over the upcoming months.

For greater detail and insight into this research, reserve your copy of the full report.

About Zenput

Zenput is how top operators elevate team execution in every store. Restaurant, retail, and other multi-unit operators such as Smart & Final, Chipotle, P.F. Chang’s, Domino's, and 7-Eleven use the platform to automate how operating procedures, public health and food safety protocols, and other key initiatives are rolled out and enforced. Supporting 50,000 locations in over 40 countries, Zenput turns strategy into action faster and equips teams to deliver on it. For more information, visit

For more information contact David Karel at (800) 537-0227, or email