The roles and responsibilities of food retailers have been evolving for years, but the pandemic really shined a spotlight on grocery as an essential service.
Since March 2020, the grocery industry has been tested in so many ways — from supply chain challenges to civil unrest, from employees sick with COVID to labor shortages — and it has emerged stronger and more revered by the American public.
But the time to prepare for the next crisis is before the next crisis actually happens. In 2023 and beyond, business survival will require pivoting at lightning speed and rapidly adjusting to whatever new crisis comes our way, one that may involve a mass shooting, attacks on energy facilities, or workplace violence.
Before 2017, there was just one mass shooting at a grocery store in the United States, according to The Violence Project, a nonpartisan research center, and CNN. That was in 1999, when a man randomly killed four people at a Las Vegas Albertsons store.
In the last three years, however, shooters have killed five people at a kosher market in Jersey City, N.J.; two people at a Publix in Palm Beach, Fla.; 23 people at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas; 10 people at a King Soopers in Boulder, Colo.; 10 people at a Tops market in Buffalo; and six people at a Walmart in Virginia.
Over the 2022 holidays, at least five people died in grocery store shootings.
While it would be impossible to predict or stop every disaster, Progressive Grocer wants to help grocers take a longer view when it comes to crisis management, and specifically crisis communications. That's why we are taking the temperature of the industry on crisis management and communications, as we look to create crisis-related content essential to this essential industry.
Nobody knows when the next disaster will happen, but grocers can be better prepared to communicate with employees, customers and the public — through every kind of unimaginable catastrophe.
Progressive Grocer wants to help. Please share your experiences in the survey below.