From teenagers looking for their first jobs to the elderly looking to get out of the house during the day, grocery stores are the answer with flexible working shifts, little responsibility, and a relatively easy learning curve; in fact, with the exception of cashier terminals, working in a grocery store today is basically the same as it was 60 years ago.
With such a variety of different chains though, how does one decide where to hand in his or her application when the time comes to find a job? Here are the top five grocery stores to work for.
Trader Joe’s first opened its door in 1967 and since then has opened over 400 stores all over America. The company is focused on value prices and buys directly from suppliers in order to pass the savings onto its customers.
People are drawn to working at Trader Joe’s due to its fun atmosphere, twice yearly salary reviews (starting pay is $10 per hour by the way), good health insurance, and high potential for advancement. Of the four categories of employees (in order of responsibility: Crew, Merchant, Mate, and Captain) only Crew and Mate positions are filled externally, leading to an internal promotion rate of over 75%!
Since opening in 1980, Whole Foods (WFM) has been dedicated to providing a good working environment for its employees. According to the aptly named “Why We’re A Great Place To Work” page, Whole Foods provides generous health benefits, retirement plans, a form of profit-sharing, and stock options. The company also provides 20% discounts, flexible time off, decent salaries for all employees, and annual raises.
Whole Foods has people, literally, flocking to its doors to work for them. Over 1 million people applied for jobs last year, giving the company a rate of 75 applicants for every one position. (For more, see: Who are Whole Foods' (WFM) main competitors?)
Publix, a private, employee-owned company based in Florida, is rapidly expanding and committed to promoting from within the company. How can retail employees afford to be owners of a multi-million-dollar grocery store chain? Publix’s benefits package includes quarterly and yearly stock options and bonuses as well as free, yes free, company stock.
Additional benefits include tuition reimbursement and health insurance for all employees (not just full-time ones), paid vacation, and regular performance and salary reviews. (For more, see: The Most Profitable Grocery Stores.)
Costco (COST), most recently famous in America for refusing to open on Thanksgiving Day, is committed to ethical business practices. Either as part of their ethical business strategy or to keep hold of their good workers, Costco’s average cashier salary hovers at almost $16 per hour. In addition to a livable salary, Costco provides flexible hours for its workers, a stock purchase plan, 401(k) matches, and excellent dental and health insurance for all full- and part-time workers. (For more, see: 5 Things Costco Wants You to Know.)
Wegmans is a small grocery chain located in the Northeast that has made Fortune’s Best Companies to Work For for the past 18 years. With a 5% turnover rate, what is Wegmans doing right? The company offers dental and health insurance, 401(k) plans, scholarships, and flexible hours. Wegmans also has ample opportunity for advancement, as well as steady pay increase and performance reviews.
The Bottom Line
If the Great Recession has taught us anything it’s that no job is guaranteed. With outsourcing and automation taking more jobs each year, it’s hard to plan too far into the future. That being said, people will always need to eat. The grocery industry is a resilient business and, as these five stores have shown, working in a grocery store doesn’t have to be a boring, minimum-wage experience. So, if you’re looking for work, try your neighborhood grocery store.