Supermarket Queue Management

Keeping customers happy at Ralphs

Speed of checkout is pivotal in customer satisfaction. Retail technologies like Irisys’ smart queue management solution are helping not only to re-define the customer experience, but are setting the measurable expectations that define it.

Ralphs, a subsidiary of The Kroger Co, implemented its system called QueVision, which uses infrared sensors and predictive analytics, to arm store front-end managers with real-time data to make sure registers are open when customers need them.

Business Issue

One rising service metric within the grocery industry is speed of checkout – an issue that features year after year in consumer surveys.

As a result, retail technology queue control, queuing systems and queuing management systems have been very much at the forefront of initiatives to resolve this problem.

Ralphs wanted to arm store front-end managers with real-time data to make sure registers are open when customers need them.


Ralphs, implemented the Irisys Queue Management solution as part of an overarching corporate mission to improve service delivery by reducing wait times at the checkout. Ralphs, like its parent Kroger, branded the system ‘QueVision.’

The system uses a combination of unobtrusive thermal image sensors and analytics to optimize staffing levels at the front end. Based on the number of people in the store, it determines how many cashiers should be staffed now – and predicts how many cashiers will be needed in 15 minutes and 30 minutes – to achieve a predetermined service level.

Ralph’s spokeswoman Kendra Doyel reported:

“It works very well. It uses a very in-depth algorithm to determine how many people we have at a register now and how many we’ll need later.”

- Kendra Doyel, Ralphs

Business Benefits

The deployment of Irisys Queue Management deployment has reduced wait times from an average of four minutes to less than 30 seconds across the Kroger family of stores.

In addition to improving retail customer service, it has also earned Kroger major industry recognition, with its faster checkout initiative recently being ranked No. 3 among the InformationWeek Elite 100 listing of the top business technology innovators in the United States.

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About the project

Industry sector: Retail, grocery

Geography: USA

Service solution: Intelligent queue management

About Ralphs: Ralphs is a major supermarket chain and the market leader in Southern California. Ralphs has been somewhat of a grocery pioneer, introducing self service markets with checkout stands, employing distinguished architects to design their stores and experimenting with new supermarket formats. In 1997, the Ralphs Grocery Company was sold to Fred Meyer, Inc., and in 1998 Fred Meyer merged with The Kroger Company of Cincinnati, Ohio.

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