A deli manager is traditionally expected to sell quality food items in a clean and appealing customer-friendly environment. She is normally required to maintain appropriate inventory levels as well as train and supervise her staff. Promoting sales through special offers and creative merchandising is commonly expected. She may work in an independent deli or in a department of a supermarket dedicated to preparing and selling prepared deli items as well as bulk meats and cheeses.
An efficiently run deli can be extremely profitable whether it stands alone or as part of a grocery store. The skills of the manager greatly affect the deli's success. If she maintains a spotless and friendly environment and offers fresh, high-quality food items at reasonable prices, high profits and a dedicated clientele normally follow.
Her fresh and diverse inventory of common and exotic meats and cheeses normally increases a deli manager’s chances of success and profitability. Hiring, managing, and motivating a friendly staff is important. Making sure her staff is able to answer customer inquiries and make suggestions for complementary items and side dishes normally increases sales.
Besides making sure her inventory and staff are top notch, a deli manager is typically required to keep all the equipment in working order and properly maintained. If a slicer, mixer or other food preparation tool is not correctly cared for, it can pose health risks through contamination or create a safety risk if the parts are not properly cleaned and stored. The manager should have a good and clear understanding of local and state safety and food handling guidelines as well.
Knowing the tastes and habits of her regular customers gives the manager an advantage. Placing special orders to meet customer tastes in meats or cheeses is a good public relations move. Knowing what local or community events might benefit from a special dish from the deli counter may help build good will and a solid customer base.
The behind-the-scenes duties of a deli manager are as important to her success as her public relations and personnel management skills. She is commonly required to compile weekly sales reports and devise ways to sell more of the items with the highest profit margins. Reducing overhead costs while maintaining quality standards is another typical goal.
A high school diploma or equivalent is normally required for this position, and food industry experience is desirable. In recent years, many delis, especially ones that are part of large supermarket chains, require a bachelor’s degree to apply for a management position. A degree with concentration in supermarket or food management or business administration is preferred, although some companies offer internal training on food handling and personnel management.