Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at your local Whole Foods Market? From my vantage point as a Store Team Leader there is never a dull moment, and my team is always working hard to bring our customers the best food and customer service experience possible. Here's a recent day in my Whole life.
I arrive at the store bright and early but am far from the first to clock in. Did you know that many of our team members are already hard at work at 5am? The first thing I do is walk around the store, check in with my team members, and see if any problems have arisen overnight. First issue of the day: the cold drink case is making a loud humming noise and leaking water. I poke around a bit and determine I'll need a professional. I make a call - the technician will be in later today.
We are open! I unlock the doors and let the customers in. As I continue to walk the floor and talk with team members I come across another obstacle for the morning - my Prepared Foods Team Leader, Jimmy, tells me he has a team member whose car won't start. He won't be able to make it to work, so we need to find someone to help out in his department. We make some calls and, fortunately, we find some help.
I make my way to my office upstairs and am greeted by my Marketing Team Leader, Melinda. She asks if I have any idea how much pizza we will need to feed an entire football team. What? Oh, I remember, we're sponsoring the local high school team and are planning a pizza party for them. We also need to talk about our upcoming Fall Festival - should we have pumpkin carving or pumpkin painting? Contributing to and creating community events are a big part of our jobs.
Danny, my Bakery Team Leader, pages me over the loudspeaker. Turns out that Danny ordered ten cases of gluten free cookies but the bakehouse sent him 30 instead! I hop on the phone to get those cookies redistributed to another store. Meanwhile, the rest of our team members are getting ready for our busiest times of day, the lunch and dinner rushes. Everyone has an important task: filleting whole fish, draining olives, reading up on new vitamin supplements, or boning chickens (to name a few). We also get a treat today - an "I Wonder" class is being taught on the sales floor by our In-Store Educator, Phinney. A group of us gather as Phinney spends a few minutes teaching us about several types of local honey we carry. We come away with some great knowledge to share with our customers.
Our lunch rush! I make my way through the store to help. The seafood department is slammed so I hop behind the counter and pack up a pound of shrimp, a few pieces of salmon, and some haddock. As I walk away, a customer asks if I've ever heard of acai berry. I certainly have, and I walk the customer around the store pointing out various products with acai. As I round the corner toward the registers, I notice a little girl hiding under a display of bags. Where are her parents? A quick loudspeaker page brings a relieved mother to the front of the store. And, fortunately, the technician has arrived to fix that broken cold drink case.
After lunch I hold a brief meeting with my Team Leaders to talk about best practices, new policies, and any problems the teams might be having. After the meeting, I do a "department walk" with my Whole Body Team Leader, Kati. During the walk, Kati and I talk about possible changes and improvements to her department, go over financials for the team, and discuss some team training and new products Kati would like to introduce.
It's back on the sales floor to regroup before dinner! The evening shift of team members has arrived, and we need to fill them in about the events of the day. I chat with team members and see how the store is looking after having been shopped in all day. Our bottled water aisle is looking pretty low, and Grocery Team Leader, Wagner, tells me he's on it, and ten minutes later we are stocked up again. Just in time for...
The dinner rush! It's all hands on deck at the registers during our busiest time of the day. My Customer Service Team Leader, Ilda, makes a page for all available team members to help bag, and I head to the front along with this evening's Shift Leader, George. Bagging during the dinner rush is lots of fun - chatting with customers, talking about food, and generally having a good time.
Once the dinner rush is over, we start preparing for the next day. Evening team members write notes to their morning counterparts to keep them informed. Specialty Team Leader Peter had huge sales of goat cheese today and needs to remember to order more tomorrow, whereas Sean the Produce Team Leader needs to make room for the pumpkins he knows will be arriving in the morning. Our team members meticulously clean their departments before closing each night, make a plan for the next day, and go home to get some rest. Tomorrow, we'll do it all again!