If you live in Florida, you no doubt shop at Publix, the largest employee-owned grocery chain in the United States, with sales of $34 billion and locations in seven southern states. Publix has a brand reputation for offering superior customer service.
The chain dominates the Florida market, but doesn’t take its leadership position for granted, offering two-for-one specials everyday, and active community engagement. Publix has a sign at its entrance proclaiming the amount money you will save shopping there for certain products instead of at competitor Walmart.
Did You Find Everything You Need?
It’s obvious the employees receive training, because they couldn’t be more helpful. When you check out, the casher will always ask, “Did you find everything your need?” The bagger will ask, “Do you need help getting your groceries to your car?” They wear badges that say, “No tipping allowed.”
Employees have a vested interest in serving customers well because they have the opportunity to own shares of the company’s stock. The company employs over 188,000 people, from newcomers to retirees looking to stay active and earn a little money.
The point of this post is not to serve as a commercial for the chain but to demonstrate the kinds of activities that Publix is undertaking to burnish its brand, while engendering customer and employee loyalty. It’s a model others companies could adopt.
Engaging With the Community
Coming from New York, I had never heard of a supermarket giving away free medications, but Publix does. It has filled more than 50 million prescriptions of the most commonly prescribed medications for infections, diabetes, and blood pressure. What a blessing for low-income people in the community.
Publix employees volunteer for Habitat for the Humanity, one of several company philanthropies, and Publix has received numerous awards for being a great place to shop and work. It is also committed to a sustainable culture and planet.
The company is actively engaged with customers on social media. Its Facebook page is a beehive of customer exchanges with Publix employees.
Fun at Publix Cooking Schools
What I like about Publix is that you can get free food samples! Each store has a cooking corner with an employee chef who is making a delicious dish to sample. Their recipes are created and tested in their own kitchens, and the recipes are displayed on racks in the stores.
Also, the chain conducts the Aprons Cooking Schools, where customers can sign up for classes. From their website, “Our classes are meant to entertain, amuse, and inspire you, giving you confidence no matter what you’re cooking up.”
I haven’t attended the classes yet, but I’m a devotee of the recipes you can pick up in their stores. The other day I sampled the cheeseburger casserole and I plan to make it this week for my friends after “movie night.”
As long as I’m giving out kudos, I’d like to recommend that you visit my friend Susan Cooper’s site Finding Our Way Now where I just discovered her green been hamburger casserole recipe. She’s created dozens of mouth-watering recipes for entrees, appetizers and desserts. I’m happy to recommend her.
I’m also pleased to recommend Publix which goes out of its way to make shopping not a “must do” but “like to do” experience.