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As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has upended consumer buying habits and the way business is done, the supermarket has been where all of these changes have converged. As an essential business, supermarkets kept their doors opened and experienced a spike in sales overall as well as adapting to e-commerce technology. On top of all this, stores had to quickly adjust business practices to keep employees and customers safe from the virus.

In this episode of Since Sliced Bread, David Ball, president and chief executive officer of Ball Foods, Kansas City, Kan., shares how his company’s stores adapted to these challenges and more. Ball Foods operates 26 stores under four different banners: Hen House, Price Chopper, Sun Fresh and Payless Discount Foods.

The company’s COVID-19 Task Force met twice daily and kept communication open between all locations as information and recommendations changed every day. It developed protocols and best practices to help keep customers and employees safe.

“At Ball Foods, our teammates come first and our customers come second because we believe if we treat our teammates like family they will carry that onto the customers,” Mr. Ball explained. “So our first priority for our COVID-19 team was keeping in mind whenever we make a decision, we think about how is this going to affect our teammates and then the second thing is how is this going to affect the customer.”

Collaboration was also key to rebuilding supply chain and developing best practices for operating a supermarket during the pandemic. Mr. Ball regularly conferenced with other retailers, suppliers and industry organizations to share lessons learned.

Find out more about what those lessons were and what supermarkets expect from their vendors, like commercial bakers, in this episode of Since Sliced Bread.

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