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Frank Riso

Principal, Frank Riso Associates, LLC

Frank Riso has over fifty years serving the retail industry, beginning at store level management.  He started his career at Grand Union Supermarkets, installing Grand Union’s first POS scanning systems. Frank worked for Twin County Grocers, a cooperative wholesaler, as its Director of Retail Services, and for Supermation, an application provider for DSD software, as its Vice President of Sales and Marketing, until joining Symbol Technologies in 1991. Symbol was acquired by Motorola in 2007 which became Motorola Solutions, Inc (MSI) in 2009.  At MSI, Frank was in charge of their retail industry business, the largest part of MSI’s enterprise business.

Frank has served the retail industry as an associate member of National Retail National Association of Convenient Stores and the Food Marketing Institute. He was elected to serve on the Associate Member Council for NRF, and he is a past member of the Board of Directors for the International Retail User Group.  In addition to being a noted speaker and author in the field of retail automation, he is frequently quoted in RIS News, Retailwire, Chain Store Age, Supermarket News, Grocery Headquarters, Progressive Grocer, Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times.  He was also an adjunct professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City in the Global Fashion Management graduate program.

Frank holds an engineering degree in Electrical Technology from Westchester, a BS degree in Marketing from Rutgers, and an MS degree in the Management of Technology and Innovation for Retail from NYU Polytechnic University. He has five U.S. Patents regarding the use of portable data devices in retail.

  • Posted on: 06/16/2020

    Will grocers maintain COVID share gains as restaurants reopen?

    Until there is a cure, grocery retailers will need to continue their current pandemic operations for their staff and their customers. Their customers will continue to shop where they feel safe and that will continue long after the pandemic is over. The major change will be more cooking at home as the country opens, more customers will continue their new life style even as the economy continues to gain. A real life lesson for many! Lastly, I do hope the grocery retailers get the recognition they deserve for their outstanding contributions during the crisis.
  • Posted on: 06/15/2020

    Do retailers need a chief health officer?

    Retailers will need an executive responsible for health issues but maybe not at the C-level. This position could also have OSHA and ADA responsibility. The current COVID-19 pandemic has set off a real panic but should be part of normal health concerns for retailers going forward. Grocery stores, restaurants, and even barber/salon retailers are more in need of a full time health executive for procedures even outside of the current pandemic and the position could be a part of the HR organization. However, retailers like to overreact and we may see a CHO added to many of the larger chains.
  • Posted on: 05/18/2020

    What’s J.C. Penney’s next move?

    I would recommend J.C. Penney not split into two companies but two divisions. They should then use the sale of real estate to fend off their debts until the renewal plan gets going once more. If they do split into two companies it could be the end of J.C. Penney for two reasons. First the lenders and investors are also in need of capital due to the current situation. Second, many of J.C. Penney's true customers are the older generation and no longer shopping there and they and Sears may both go into the retail history books.
  • Posted on: 03/26/2020

    Should retail associates be treated like frontline health responders?

    Grocery store employees are just as much if not more at risk then health care workers. At least all health care workers are taking precautions while grocery store staff have for the most part no protection. So yes they need to be both recognized for their work and justly rewarded. Grocers can set new store hours, implement mandatory spacing for customers, provide wipes and cleaners for basket carts and provide workers with both gloves and masks. This would all be good for everyone. Local authorities can also help as needed to control parking lot traffic and to keep the number of shoppers less then 50 or so at a time shopping the store. Three cheers for the grocery industry!
  • Posted on: 03/23/2020

    Costco is refusing returns on hoarded items

    I do agree with the newer policy for the rest of the year at least. Placing limits on these items should also help reduce the hoarding. Costco is a retailer that truly cares about its customers, and especially about older shoppers. Taking advantage of them is not right, so I agree with the policy. I recently saw signs at Costco stating what items were out of stock so that you wouldn't have to go into the warehouse if those were the items you are looking for, in order to prevent more shoppers from being close together. Another sign that Costco cares deeply during the crisis!
  • Posted on: 03/09/2020

    Can retailers ensure stores are coronavirus-safe?

    I think a lot depends on the type of retailer you are! Restaurants and any level of food service should always be deep cleaning so they need to remain vigilant about both their standard and extreme cleaning operations. I also think many retailers should not overreact. Grocery stores with everyone wearing a mask does not help a customer feel safe. A mask will not keep you from getting sick, they are for people who are sick. Sick staff should stay home. Not all stores will be able to react to directives from HQ considering some staff may be staying home or not willing to perform the extra cleaning steps. Basically, retailers should take precautions but not over react to the point that the customer does not feel safe shopping.
  • Posted on: 03/02/2020

    What makes Trader Joe’s, Trader Joe’s?

    Trader Joe's was one of if not the first informal grocer. I mean no white shirt and ties. They also innovated within the store and had a very FUN attitude toward their customers. They also have always been the best at selling mostly their own brand products which were of a higher quality. Their product proposition is not only a higher quality but at a lower or even equal price than the other chains. Lastly the staff makes the shopping experience a real pleasure with very helpful clerks, and the cashiers always seem to be having fun. Sometimes I think of Trader Joe's as a mini-Costco since you never know what other items you will find there!
  • Posted on: 02/25/2020

    Was Burger King smart to showcase moldy Whoppers?

    I may be old school but I did not like the campaign at all. As a result it may be awhile before I eat at Burger King again! Burger King has a good reputation and I would believe them if they just told me that they are now using fresh and only fresh product. I can think of several ways to get the message across without using moldy product. A commercial showing the fresh products being prepared and or being purchased at a farm would have been more appetizing. Let's go back to "Where's the Beef"!
  • Posted on: 01/30/2020

    Is it ethical for resellers to raise the price of Kobe Bryant merchandise?

    Unfortunately this is what happens in the world of art, book selling and even in sports. Our only hope is that the family gets some of the benefit from all the profits. If we can turn it around to be more of a memorial or a way to keep the memory of the player alive then that is also good for the family and sales of the merchandise. I would recommend that Nike and other resellers share their profits with the family and/or with other causes that promote basketball or more importantly girls basketball programs around the world. That would be the way to promote the memory of Kobe!
  • Posted on: 12/23/2019

    Is Wawa in hot water over its data breach?

    The Wawa brand is a very strong one and so they will still do well once the steps to protect their customers are complete. The impact will be minimal. They will prove to their customers that they are safe and we can get our Philly Soft Pretzels and lower gas prices again.
  • Posted on: 11/08/2019

    Will ‘HoliDeals’ put Target over the top for the holidays?

    Target is making a big move by jumping the gun on Black Friday and for the shortened shopping season. I believe many others will follow them in offering similar opportunities. They do have the lead but will they keep it? I think they will continue to be innovative. Since many Christmas shoppers visit the mall, Target's biggest opportunity will be from online sales for two reasons. One being the short season and the second being the lack of time for shoppers to visit stores, again because of the short season. The big challenge is getting shoppers to their stores but that is always the case for retailers!
  • Posted on: 11/04/2019

    Should McDonald’s CEO have been fired over a ‘consensual relationship’?

    No business should set such a strict rule regarding relationships between co=workers. When single people spend eight to 10 hours a day working together, relationships are likely to occur. However, an executive who takes advantage of a subordinate is not to be tolerated and this should be a policy in all companies. HR professionals can find the right set of regulations to govern OK relationships and those that are not permitted. Open and acknowledged relationships between co-workers should be allowed by policy and I believe HR professionals have dealt with this in many companies and public companies. Mr. Easterbrook violated a company policy and I am sure many McDonald's part-time employees have also violated the strict policy, but they are not the CEO!
  • Posted on: 10/09/2019

    Will part-timers flock to Lidl after grocer offers health insurance for all?

    It is an incentive long overdue in the retail sector as a competitive edge. It will be seen as a recruiting tool that may become standard. Recently it has gotten very difficult to hire in just about every sector of retail. Healthcare could be the one factor to tip the scales. It may only be a temporary benefit if Congress ever does anything on healthcare but until then it is a competitive advantage. I also think they need to weigh the cost of recruiting with the cost of healthcare.
  • Posted on: 10/07/2019

    What if stores innovated like restaurants?

    I do think that successful retailers are innovative. Supermarkets, for example, remodel stores to meet customer demand. Didn't the Nike store add basketball hoops to attract more shoppers? Granted many retailers do little or nothing and they seem to disappear or are acquired. I guess I do not completely agree with the premise that restaurants are more innovative than retailers!
  • Posted on: 08/15/2019

    New site wants to make independent grocery jobs into careers

    While I like the idea of a national job board, I am not sure anyone will relocate to a new state or across the country to take a job in an independent grocery store. Locally it should work out well for the grocer. I do think an independent grocer should have a formal training program for its employees with the promise of advancement if you complete the combined program using the NGA program in conjunction with their local program of working at the store or stores. If someone completes the grocery manager training program, that person is next in line for the position when it opens or when another store is opened. The promise of advancement can be the big retention of employees that retailers are looking for with the example of those who have advanced already!

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