Progressive Grocer

JUN 2016

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31 SOLUTIONS JUNE 2016 To upgrade prepared food ofer- ings and earn a reputation for great cuisine, grocerants need to hire talented culinary school graduates and experienced chefs from the restaurant and hospitali- ty realm, say a number of grocery industry consultants and thought leaders. "Don't just promote the deli manager to oversee your grocerant department. Instead, bring in a culinarian who knows how to prepare and present the food and how to train foodservice staf," urges Phil Lempert, the Santa Monica, Calif.-based editor of But fnding and keeping culinarians can be a tall order for grocerant retailers. A nationwide chef shortage is already challenging restaurateurs and hoteliers, as well as supermarket chains that are serious about their prepared food departments. Despite their penchant for dining out, relatively few millennials have gravitated toward foodservice careers, notes Chef Steven Petusevsky, a grocerant consultant and project manager based in the Miami area. "Millennials are known for not wanting to work as phys- ically hard as previous generations or for as many long hours," says Petusevsky, who served as the corporate chef for Whole Foods Market in Austin, Texas, for more than a decade. "Even young people who have chosen a career in the culinary industry don't want to work as hard as we had to work rising up the ranks." Tat gives grocerants at least one signifcant advantage when it comes to attracting millennial talent, since the hours of a supermarket chef are generally more amenable to work-life balance than those of a restaurant chef, says Petusevsky. But many aspiring and experienced chefs are unaware of opportunities in the grocery retailing world. As an alumnus of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, N.Y., Petusevsky is spearheading a new CIA-sponsored national leadership collaborative called Appetites+Innovation that will address these and other issues confronting retail foodservice. Help wanted: chefs Look to the restaurant industry for culinary pros who' ll be a good fit for retail foodservice. BY C A RO LY N S CH I ER H O R N

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