Grocery Career Field

Grocery Store Career Field Structure

Grocery CareersWhile your first thought of workers in the grocery industry might be of baggers, cashiers, and stockers, the grocery industry is highly sophisticated and corporate and has a wide variety of jobs available. Only a part of those positions involve working within the stores. Of course, at small groceries, the owner may serve as manager, department head, and a number of other positions, depending on the size of the business.

In the stores, store managers or directors are responsible for all aspects of the store’s performance. Financial goals, merchandising, and customer relations are just a few of their responsibilities. The store manager often works with customers, employees, and the community as well as the government to make sure the store meets strict government regulations. Store managers often have an assistant manager to help with their duties.

Department managers have responsibility for one area or department, such as the bakery or the meat department. Other managers include a service desk manager/ accountant, customer service manager, receiving manager, and scanning coordinator. These office help positions keep the business running smoothly.

Within each department, there are workers or associates trained for specific duties. For example, the bakery workers create a variety of pies, cakes, cookies, breakfast items, and specialty deserts. In the deli, deli workers prepare meats, cheeses, salads, party trays, and entrees. Many stores now have a food court area that requires workers normally found in a restaurant such as a manager, waiters, cooks, counter staff, and a bus staff.

On the front lines of grocery stores, cashiers scan items, conduct cash and credit card transactions, and greet customers. There is a reason why cashiers, or checkers, are often the first to come to mind when you think of grocery stores. They are the largest occupation in the stores—about 34 percent of all workers.

Courtesy clerks pack groceries in paper or plastic bags and assist shoppers to their cars when necessary. They often check prices or return merchandise to the shelves.

Directly above the individual store staffs, there is a group of professionals who supervise several stores. These people include the vice president/director of store operations and the district/regional manager. Merchandisers or product specialists work with a specific department on merchandising strategies to improve sales and appearance. Human resource specialists recruit, train, and orient new employees while staying informed about employee issues and acting as a liaison for staff concerns.

At the corporate level, a variety of people offer specialized support to the industry. Accountants track all record keeping and profits. Advertising professionals create promotions, signs, circulars, and advertisements for media as well as special events.

Category management personnel work to maximize sales and profits in a specific area, such as beverages or frozen foods. They work with individual stores and merchandising people to arrange promotions and display areas.

Human resource professionals oversee personnel-related activities as well as labor relations. Information technology plays a large part in the grocery industry. This area includes computer programmers, engineers, system analysts, network specialists, installers, and computer support staff. With the advent of Web sites and the possibility of online grocery shopping, Web professionals are included in the technology area.

Marketing and merchandising professionals often work together to market products and more effectively display and sell products. In public affairs, people work with the public and within the community to represent the store or company. They often answer questions from the media, issue press releases, and organize community activities.

Bringing the food supply to the nation is a complex and challenging job that requires a variety of people with many talents. While “grocery” may still bring up an image of a friendly cashier, there are a tremendous number of people who are behind the bag of groceries that you carry home. According to the Food Marketing Institute, 3.4 million people work in the grocery industry. Some of those workers are at the corporate level, while others work in stores. Consumers make an average of 2.1 trips to the grocery each week, spending about 5.4 percent of their weekly income on food. With more than 45,000 items to choose from in a typical supermarket, American consumers are accustomed to the variety and convenience of grocery stores.