Progressive Grocer

JUN 2016

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32 SOLUTIONS JUNE 2016 Get specifc Before mining the restaurant and hospitality industries for promising young or veteran chefs, however, grocer- ants need to determine the precise skill sets they require for various culinary jobs, notes human resources consul- tant Janet A. Hofmann, president of HR Aligned Design in New York City. "What I always recommend to any company is to really identify the profle of the person who is going to be suc- cessful in that position," she says. "You need to home in on what's important—on what's non-negotiable in terms of the skills and qualifcations that you need." Similarly, Petusevsky emphasizes the importance of writing a thoughtful, truthful job description prior to pursuing chef candidates. "Te job description needs to be meaningful and accurate—one that the potential hire can really depend on to be a blueprint of what to expect," he says. "Tere have been a couple of times in my career when I've accepted a position based on a job description only to fnd that the job was totally diferent. And this is indicative of one of the grocerant industry's problems: Tere is a need to be fully transparent and honest, but because it is a newly emerging feld, sometimes the details of a job can be hard to clarify." Restaurant culture vs. supermarket culture Petusevsky says in his experience, a quarter of the su- permarket chefs hired from the restaurant or hospitality industry leave retail within a few years. To prevent turn- over later on, hiring managers should candidly discuss the workplace cultural diferences between restaurants and retail foodservice during the interviewing process, he says. In general, restaurant chefs can be more creative when it comes to plate presentation, while grocerant culinarians can use their imagination in other ways, on a larger scale. A chef working in a fne restaurant may have more pres- tige, but a grocerant chef arguably has greater infuence on what ordinary people eat every day, according to Petusevsky. "When you're a chef in a restaurant, you have the opportunity to feed people on special occasions and celebrate important moments of their lives with them," he says. "But when you're the culinary director of a large retail market and you're planning all of the prepared food and developing those recipes and adding your own style, you're having a tremendous impact on so many people. Tat is powerfully satisfying." Supermarket chefs, moreover, need to have exceptional communication skills because they interact more with cus- tomers. Rather than guarding their culinary knowledge, they are expected to share recipes with consumers, provide cooking demonstrations and even help shoppers fnd in- gredients. In addition, notes Chef Charlie Baggs, chief ex- ecutive chef of Chicago-based Charlie Baggs Culinary Innovations, grocerant chefs work with a wider range of prod- ucts and typically have tremendous breadth of product knowledge. Building relationships To recruit up-and-coming chefs, gro- cerant retailers can start by building relationships with culinary schools. "You need to go to the career fairs that these schools all have for their students and graduates," says Baggs. He recommends establishing intern- ships as well so that chef trainees can see early on if they might enjoy a retail grocery career. "Because [grocerants are] a newly emerging field, sometimes the details of a [culinary] job can be hard to clarify." — Steven Petusevsky, grocery consultant

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