Apart from being a vital deli ingredient, visually, olives are a great addition to the deli and as customers love to try the olives and serve themselves, an olive counter offers another dimension to the deli shopping experience. However, when an olive counter’s not looked after properly, it can have a negative impact on your business. Dry olives and dirty bowls not only deter purchase and waste stock, they also reflect badly on the deli and can harbour a host of bacteria…
When considering loose olives, it’s important to source your loose olives from people who know what they’re doing and understand their suppliers. Olives Et Al have over 150 years of combined technical experience for a reason. We totally understand the toxicology of an olive and how it works in a retail environment and we do everything we can to help our stockists understand how to keep olives looking their best and how to promote great sales.
So where to start…? With so many recipes and varieties of olive to choose, we’d recommend one of the most important tips to selling loose olives is to understand your customer and choose flavours accordingly. For example, young, trendy types like to have lots of chilli olives to choose from where as an older customer base might prefer the classics, like Anchovy, Red Pepper and Almond stuffed. In our deli in Sturminster Newton, we put 12 bowls of olives out every day. The selection tends to change but the top sellers are always Classic, Feta, Moorish, Sunshine and Pistou, whereas other delis have totally different ‘best sellers’ according to their customers’ tastes.
We’re still learning about olives in this country and there are many people who say that they don’t like olives because they’ve only tried the ‘olives’ that you get on top of a pizza. So, if you tuck your olives away, people who might give them a try, decide they like them and give you a sale, won’t. The olive bar is supposed to be fun. Let everyone try the olives and, if you have time, talk them through the different tastes and textures. Maybe find out what your customers will be drinking with their olives to help them decide which to choose. For example, Pistou, our Amphissa olive marinated to a French inspired recipe of basil and garlic go exceptionally well with Chablis and Moroccan inspired Moorish Olives (Kalamata olive with Coriander, cumin and cardamom) go perfectly with a good Rioja. You could also provide olive recipe ideas which will encourage your customers to cook or bake with the olives and increase sales.
Sell by the tub, not by weight – It’s easier to manage sales and who knows what 100g of olives really look like? A tub takes away the mystery and gives the impression of better value to the customer. A ‘standard’ deli pot takes around 300g of olives (depending on how cleverly they’re stuffed in). Make sure that your deli pots and loose olive prices are close by. If your customer has to walk away to get a pot or check a price, chances are they won’t make it back to the counter.
Always keep your olive bowls full. A few olives floating around sadly in the bottom of a bowl are not likely to sell, where as a full bowl of proudly glossy olives will attract even the fussiest of customers and make your deli look great. As the olives sell, it’s important NOT to mix batches and NEVER TOP UP. So we decant our olives into smaller, clean, bowls to keep them looking good. . We always put the end of the bowls of olives into deli pots and sell them at a reduced price.
Looking after your olives
Olives Et Al olives are sent in heat sealed food grade plastic trays with a protective, stackable sleeve. The trays are filled with 100% food grade nitrogen so as to protect the olives from the air until you open them.
Before opening and discarding the packaging it’s best practice to record the Batch Code and Best Before date - it keeps the EHOs happy! All our olives come with Bowler Cards that have the name of the olive on the front for the customer and a best before tracker on the back.
Once opened, you can choose whether to display our olives chilled or ambient (between 4 to 22oC) during the day and chilled between 4 to 8oC at night. We marinade our olives in British Rapeseed oil which means that, even chilled, the oil will keep the olives looking glossy and gorgeous.
Make sure to clean all bowls and utensils before refilling. Put the whole tray into the bowl and fill in the bowler card to record the best before date. It’s very important, as mentioned earlier, not to mix batches of olives.
Once in bowls, the olives should be turned regularly (hourly) so they’re kept glossy and moist which helps prevent the olives from oxidizing, drying out, becoming wrinkled and going mouldy. Olives that are presented in brine with a little olive oil to coat them need just as much turning to keep them looking their best.
At the end of every day, stir the olives again (yes, again – with a clean spoon), cover them with cling film and store in the fridge.
Avoid storing or displaying open bowls or partial trays next to mould or yeast producing foodstuffs e.g. blue cheeses, mushrooms, breads etc, and avoid putting them near draughts from air-conditioning, open doors or windows which could carry mould or yeast spores.
Once opened, part opened trays of olives can be kept for up to 8 weeks ensuring they’re fully covered and airtight with cling film and stirred daily. For best results, once the olives are decanted into the bowls, use within 3 weeks or by the Best Before Date, whichever comes first.
All of our loose olives can be served chilled or ambient and they all come with care instructions – in case you forget.
Want to know more?
If you really want to learn more about olives come and take a master class with us - we’ll show you how our olives are made, how to look after them and how we present them in our own deli - we’ll also give you lunch! Just get in touch with us to arrange your visit!
Olives Et Al create and make good, honest, pull-up a chair and dig in food that tastes just the way it should. Using recipes discovered on trips all over the world and brought together in the heart of Dorset, we use the highest quality ingredients possible – with no nasties added – to make our multi-award winning ranges of dressings, marinades, sauces, oils, snacks, nuts and of course, the very best olives in the land.
For advice, ordering, our Deli of the Year competition or for a good natter about all things deli, just give us a buzz - with over 150 years’ experience at the sharp end of speciality food and two delis of our own, we’re here to help.