How to Be a Great Deli Clerk

Working in a deli can be fun, but you also need to be professional. Being a deli clerk involves having social skills and paying attention to details. Becoming a successful deli clerk can be achieved if you follow these easy steps.


  1. Image titled Be a Great Deli Clerk Step 1
    Keep to the dress code. Before even setting foot behind the deli counter, you have to look the part of a deli clerk. Depending on your place of employment, you may have a dress code. For most delis you must wear the following:
    • Safety shoes- these shoes are designed to follow health codes and prevent slipping in the work place.
    • Smock- The smock is worn to avoid the products from touching your clothes. This prevents contamination of the products.
    • Hair net- Unless you are bald, you should always wear a hair net while working. This prevents hair from coming into contact with products.
  2. Image titled Be a Great Deli Clerk Step 2
    Be hygienic. Hygiene is very important in the food industry. You must maintain a tidy appearance. Make sure that you and your clothes are clean before arriving to work. Once your entire uniform on, wash your hands. Always wash your hands before and after wearing latex gloves. You must wear latex gloves at all times when handling your products.
  3. Image titled Be a Great Deli Clerk Step 3
    Know your products. To be a successful deli clerk you must know what you are selling. Customers will ask questions about products. You need to be familiar with the items so that you can give your customers accurate information on the food you are trying to sell. There are many ways to gain information on products.
    • Read labels. Try to remember which products have low salt, are gluten free, and have the least amount of preservatives. Customers tend to ask these questions, so be prepared.
    • Try the products yourself. The best way to gain knowledge on a product is for you to try it yourself. Always ask a manager before taking a sample of anything.
    • Ask co-workers/managers about different products. Having different opinions on products can take away your bias on something.
    • Talk to your customers about their opinion. By asking customers their reaction to different products, you can share their opinions with other customers.
  4. Image titled Be a Great Deli Clerk Step 4
    Know how to handle deli equipment. Do not use the equipment until you are taught how to use it safely. Slicers are dangerous machines. If you do not know how to properly use the machine do not touch it. Have a manager or experienced co-worker show you how to safely use a slicer. Even after having experience with a slicer always be careful.
  5. Image titled Be a Great Deli Clerk Step 5
    Be friendly. Once you are familiar with products and equipment it is time to serve your customers. Always be friendly with your customers. Smile and greet your customer before asking what they would like. Occasionally you will encounter a rude customer. You must make sure to maintain a friendly demeanor.
  6. Image titled Be a Great Deli Clerk Step 6
    Engage the customer.
    • When taking care of a customer, always ask how they prefer their product sliced. Most customers will tell you thin, thick, or in the middle. Occasionally you will be asked to chip (shred into a fine dust-like form) meat. This involves opening the slicer to its smallest opening and shredding the meat.
    • Ask the customer if the first slice looks good. By showing your customer the first slice they will be able to judge if you are preparing their food correctly.
    • Offer the customer the first slice as a sample. This way the customer can make sure they definitely like the product before buying it.
    • Ask what else you can get for them. Never assume that the customer is done with ordering. After slicing each product, ask what else you can get for them. Once they tell you they are done, make sure to thank them for shopping and ask them to come again.
  7. Image titled Be a Great Deli Clerk Step 7
    Maintain a clean work space. Whenever you have a chance, make sure that your workplace is clean.
    • Between customers, make sure that your slicers are clean. To clean a slicer, use a clean cloth and a Food and Drug Administration approved disinfectant.
    • You also need to make sure that your gloves are clean. If you handle a messy meat (such as roast beef or Virginia ham) make sure to change your gloves. Remember to wash your hands in between changing gloves.
    • When you have a break between customers, sweep the floor, disinfect counter tops, and straighten up so that your workplace is appealing to the eye and follows all health codes.


  • There is always something to do in a deli. Try not to just stand around.
  • You must be at least 18 years old to work in a deli.
  • Always greet your customers with a smile!
  • Always give the customer what they ask for.


  • Do not use a slicer until instructed on how to use it.
  • Be careful with knives.

Article Info

Categories: Occupations