According to the Urban Dictionary :
A question of cause-and-effect or sequence of actions, possibly unanswerable.
From the eternal question "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?"
Did an earthquake cause the mine collapse, or was the collapse itself registered as the quake? This could be a chicken-or-egg problem. by Man Machine August 12, 2007
Without your knowing your produce department could actually be a "coop" of chicken and egg problems for your company or store.
Here's a few examples:
1. Freshness - The store owner could say they are suffering from a lack of customer traffic. In the weekly sales meeting the produce manager then uses this "fact" as an excuse for why they cannot stay fresh. However, in my opinion many fresh departments often start to show signs of lower freshness standards which then can in turn be followed by customers simply finding alternative occasional or home stores for their regular shopping. Since the produce department has been generally moved to front entrances of many leading retailers it is more important than ever for someone not to stick their hand through a rotten hole in your watermelons or smell an off-putting odor from a bag of onions. With freshness as a leading driver for store visits noted in study after industry study make sure this chicken and egg factor isn't plaguing your store performance. Fresh produce must be just that: FRESH!
2. Versatile Employees = My Department doesn't look as good as it could!- How can my produce department look less than stellar with some of the best employees in the store? The produce business is an ever changing seasonal business requiring hard working strong team members. All too often the nature of great produce department employees has fitting characteristics of flexible, mobile (used to not sitting behind a meat counter, but rather moving around coolers, the backroom and sales floor), and physically strong. Weight limits in job descriptions for produce employees could likely push 40-60 pounds which is necessary to lug cases of apples, cabbage, etc. Where I'm heading with this idea is that all too often versatile reliable produce employees are pulled off stocking for other total store projects due to their unique skill sets! Ask any produce clerk if they've ever been asked to go gather shopping carts, clean an area of the store, help life something heavy, or be pulled to the front end to ring customers. The proximity of produce clerks to the registers is often a leading culprit reason to have them help during times of peak customers. Never the less the chicken and egg effect can easily happen with this phenomenon.
3. Cleaning & Tightened Labor Budgets: All too often labor budgets cramp necessary cleaning tasks. When customers see mineral or debris build up on cases that have become slimy it can be a deterrent to sales. To maximize profitability management can all too often limit labor budgets to accomplish this and many other department tasks. We must ask ourselves does this begin to get counter-productive at some point. In chicken and egg fashion one factor affects another to undermine our ability to profit overall! Without clean well run departments we will eventually catch up with ourselves when the customer begins to notice.
The moral of the story: Keep Chickens and Eggs out of the produce department...and back in the Meat and Dairy departments where they belong for best success!
We help retailers all the time find factors that limit their ability to drive gross profit. Feel free to take a look for yourself!