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Meat Market Layout

( Originally Published Early 1900's )



The lay-out of a market or the proper planning of the most suitable locations for the various fixtures used in a market is of great importance. Economical lay-out has a direct bearing and influence upon sales and accordingly upon the cost of operating the market.

Since each individual market has a certain method of con-ducting its business, the lay-out of the market should be made according to the requirements of the particular neighborhood. Therefore, a fundamental rule to observe in laying out a market is to have all fixtures arranged to meet the particular conditions of the trade in the locality.

As an illustration, a typical cash and carry market requires an entirely different lay-out than the market where all meats are cut to order and where considerable business is done over the telephone.

Different Lay-outs Required

A typical neighborhood market requires a different lay-out than the cash and carry market catering strictly to transient trade. The correct laying out of a market is very frequently ignored by the average meat retailer. This is evidently due to the fact that he is accustomed to certain fixtures and to seeing them in a certain location and he gives no thought to changing them.

Retailers who will study the layout of markets as a production engineer would, will probably find that they walk miles from behind the counter to the refrigerator and vice versa during one day. A meat market should be laid out to serve the trade in the quickest possible manner with the minimum amount of effort so the market can be operated at the lowest possible expense.

20% Meat Cuttingó90% Selling

The modern refrigerator display counter has had a great influence upon changing sales methods in the meat market. It allows meats to be cut up in advance so that really, the principal function of the man behind the counter is to sell the meats.

As an example of this principle, a large shop may employ 10 meat cutters. Two of these, or 20% of the employees are in the refrigerator cutting up meat for the other 8 men to sell. The labor functions in this market would be divided into 90% selling and 20% meat cutting. Or to divide this still further, 20% of the men require skill and 90% of the men require salesmanship ability.

Such conditions are found in a great many markets and are constantly gaining in favor. In a market of this type, large meat cutting blocks behind the counter are not required. More space, therefore, must be alloted for meat cutting purposes in the refrigerator or in the rear room.

In the average market, the owner or meat cutter who has a certain part of his counter located 30 or 40 feet away from the refrigerator and is compelled to walk back and forth a great many times a day, is wasting energy and time. If this wasted time can be saved, the retailer may be able to wait on more customers, which ultimately results in lower operating expenses.

Basis for Lay-out

Modern and progressive market owners, and principally the chain store organizations have studied market lay-outs, very carefully, with the result that methods have been devised to overcome waste of time on the part of the clerk and customer. The fundamental basis of an economical lay-out must be traced back to the functions performed when the sale is made. Analysis of a sale in a typical meat market, where meats are displayed on a refrigerated counter, shows that the following functions are performed:

1. The clerk asks the customer.

2. He takes the meat out of the counter or refrigerator.

3. He weighs it.

4. He trims it, or in some cases he may not trim it.

5. He wraps it in a package.

6. He ties the package.

7. He makes out a check or operates a cash register.

8. He hands the check back to the customer after paying.

There are 8 functions performed by the clerk in serving this particular customer in this typical market. In or-der to serve the customer quickly the following equipment should be in the immediate vicinity of the meat clerk:

1. The customer.

2. The meats called for by the customer.

3. The scale for weighing the meat.

4. A meat block for trimming the meat if necessary.

5. A meat cutting machine or tools for cutting.

6. A wrapping bench.

7. Wrapping paper, twine or tape.

8. A cash register or sales slips depending upon the method of payment in use.

In the last case, the customer will either pay the clerk directly or walk over to an office, and pay the cashier and then return the meats. If all the equipment is within reach of the clerk the arrangement is ideal for performing these functions. In other words, to serve the customer quickly, the clerk requires meats, the quick access to a scale, and he must be equipped to wrap the parcels quickly.

Such lay-outs may be called "unit" systems. They have been in use to some extent, principally by progressive retailers who studied the subject of market lay-out very carefully. Illustration No. 107 shows such a unit system very clearly.

Economical Lay-outs

Firms using this lay-out method have shown some unusually low operating costs. One modern chain store organization operating a great many of these one-man markets laid out on the unit plan, reports sales of $1,000 per week in one-man shops.

This lay-out is equally as well adopted to larger stores which may require a slightly larger initial investment in scales, cash registers, and other equipment. But the saving which can be effected by the clerk having practically all meats in front of him, a scale and a cash register within his reach, etc., makes for every economical operation of the market.

From all statistics available, the average sales per man in a typical market in the United States average from $360 to $400, weekly or practically one-half the amount of sales that can be done in a carefully planned and laid out market as described. There are certain details connected with this unit system that are being patented, as such lay-outs are the results of a great deal of experimenting.

In very large food markets where meats are sold under a departmental system, this method, of course, is not applicable, inasmuch as each department has either beef, veal, pork or other meats only for sale. The above description of the unit system brings out the fact that the lay-out of fixtures and equipment must be carefully planned by the owner of a market, in order to insure the complete success of the market.

The Location of the Refrigerator

The location of the refrigerator is often the cause of a great waste of effort and time on the part of market owners. In the average typical meat market, the refrigerator should be located so that it can be quickly reached from behind the counter. Otherwise it will be advisable to keep the counters well-filled with the various meats so it is not necessary to run back and forth so often between the refrigerator and the far away part of the counter.

Location of Refrigerator Door

The location of the main entrance door of the refrigerator is also frequently the cause of wasted time. In a great many localities, it seems to be habitual to locate the refrigerator doors on the side. While the location of the main entrance door in the front may have a tendency to reduce the attractiveness of the refrigerator front, it will be found that it is highly desirable in many instances to have the refrigerator door in the front. In Greater New York refrigerators very often have the entrance right in the front instead of on the side, as seems to be customary in the middle-west. The elimination of window doors and the substitution therefore, of a large entrance door results in a greater saving of space within the refrigerator.

The Size of a Refrigerator

The size of a refrigerator should be calculated on a basis of fast turn-over. The size is, of course, influenced by the source of supply. The country retailer who may do his own killing once a week will require a larger refrigerator than the city market owner who may do the same amount of business, but who gets his meats delivered three or four times a week from the local packing or branch house.

While a refrigerator should be ample in size to allow the meats to be stored so they are properly exposed to the cold air, waste of space is not desirable as it costs proportionately more for refrigeration either by ice or mechanically.

Waste Refrigerator Space Is Costly

As an illustration, a refrigerator size 10 by 6 by 10 feet, has a total content of 600 cubic feet. Assuming that a retail meat market with a fast turn-over finds this size of refrigerator large enough, but instead installs a larger size, 10 by 10 by 10 feet, which has a content of 1,000 cubic feet, this larger sized refrigerator has 40% more cubic feet content and accordingly requires more refrigeration. When figuring the amount of money required for cooling this additional 400 cubic feet for a period of one year, it will be found to amount to a considerable sum.

In estimating the size of a refrigerator, it is also well to consider that where straight hindquarters and forequarters are handled, and where hanging space is of the greatest importance, the space in the center of the refrigerator may go to waste, especially in refrigerators of the smaller type. As an illustration, a refrigerator, 10 feet square has a larger square foot center waste area than the one 12 feet long and 8 feet wide. If maximum hanging space is desired, long side-walls will be found of greater advantage in the smaller refrigerator than the center space which cannot be used for anything.

Lay-out of Counters

The laying out of counters depends a great deal upon the method of business to be done in a particular market. The dimensions and the lay-out of the store building, itself, also influences the lay-out of the counters. As an example of the kind of counter arrangements that can be worked out according to the kind of business done, a typical single store is shown in Illustration Nos. 108 to No. 114. Each illustration shows a different lay-out of counters in the same sized building.

This market has inside dimensions of 48 feet long by 16 feet wide. Illustration No. 108 shows a typical old-fashioned type of market with ample space to spare. The counter is placed diagonally across the store.

Illustration No. 109 shows the same sized market laid out entirely differently with more counter space, a larger cooler and a cashier's office conveniently located. This may be considered a typical layout for a cash and carry market where a cashier is employed and where meats are cut in the rear room or behind the counter. While the counter in Lay-out No. 108 is only 12 feet in length, this lay-out has a total of 24 feet front measurement, of display counter.

Illustration No. 110 shows again a slightly different lay-out with practically the sane amount of counter as shown in the preceding illustration. The office is not as conveniently located for the customers as it is to the owner, who can go right from behind the counter into the office.

Illustration No. 111 shows the same store 48 feet long by 16 feet wide inside, with a lay-out which gives the maximum counter and cooler space. There is a total of 27 feet front measurement display counter and ample room for cutting between the counter and the refrigerator. The owner's office is located on one side of the refrigerator partition giving the owner a full view over the market at all times.

There are, of course, a great many different lay-outs which can be arranged in a single window store, but the above lay-outs suit various types of business methods which may be used in different localities. In laying out a double window store, which is usually wider, the same principles will have to be observed as in laying out a single store market.

Illustration No. 112 shows a typical double window store, 58 feet long by 22 feet wide inside. This is what may be considered a typical market with an L shaped counter, a fair sized refrigerator, and a large work room in the rear. The refrigerator is 10 feet wide nad 12 feet long, and there are 27 feet front measurement of refrigerator counter.



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