again soon for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
From the back-of-the-house kitchens and/or
commissaries, the retail foodservice chef is preparing
a variety of foods and must know—from planning to
presentation—what recipes, products and ingredient
combinations work best. In a retail environment, as
opposed to a traditional restaurant, this hybrid chef
knows that no matter what the dish, the equipment that
displays it, cooks it and keeps it at the right temperature
must all work in harmony or the planning and preparation
are for naught.
And that was only for Monday’s hot food bar menu.
The same preparation intensity and execution
precision is also required for the refrigerated food bar and
food kiosks; there are no “shortcuts” for the retail chef,
and their behind-the-scenes expertise is always front and
center seven days a week.
Tuck that away with ;ve large catering orders and
a handful of special orders and you can see why these
talented chefs—who are, for the most part, behind the
scenes—are so well-respected by their department
cohorts and appreciated by the consumers they serve.
A Full Course
Retail foodservice chefs’ roles vary from company to
company. Some chefs work directly with suppliers,
distributors and brokers along the purchasing pathway;
others have a say in equipment purchasing; and some
are also responsible for the P&L and critical corporate
Yet while their roles di;er, today’s retail chefs routinely
work with vendors to ensure that the supply chain process
goes beyond ensuring food safety and sanitation to
providing a compelling menu for shoppers to enjoy.
From back-of-the-house equipment decisions to front-
of-the-house presentations and menu rotations, the
decisions these unsung heroes make are the reason the
retail foodservice segment continues to evolve into the
grocery “super deli.”
Retail executives should not overlook what their new
chef hires will be asked to do in the realm of on-the-job
training and applying their learned skills to the day-to-
day demands of product inventory, logistics management
and equipment selection, and display applications. The
need to understand the holistic meal experience not
only makes food taste great, but it’s also a pathway to
presentation and the consumer’s return visit, which may
make their expectations even higher.
In a perfect world, retail chefs will disband their a
la carte thinking in favor of using their “full course”
knowledge—from the boardroom to the loading dock to
the parking lot—to keep their stores’ guests coming back
time and time again.
oday’s retail foodservice chefs have helped
to establish the retail supermarket as a top-
of-mind meal planning destination by suc-
cessfully melding great-tasting food, menu
diversi;cation and convenience.
Whether working behind the deli counter on the sales
;oor or behind the scenes in the kitchen, a professional
chef makes foods taste like they have come right out of
the oven and onto your plate. The di;erence is their bill
of fare is already prepared, waiting for your eyes to make
the purchase and for your taste buds to recognize that the
food tastes so good that you’re already planning to return
Sizing up the roles, responsibilities and evolving requirements
of the masters of the “super deli” universe. By Bill Pizzico
Key Ingredients for
Next-Gen Retail Chefs
;; JUNE ;;;; WINSIGHT GROCERY BUSINESS
Menu Planning Retail Foodservice
Bill Pizzico is president
and CEO of Blue Bell,
Pa.-based Synergy Group.
Reach him at bpizzico.