OPERATIONS

Whole Foods launches meat apprenticeship

BY Dan Berthiaume

Austin, Texas – Whole Foods Market is launching an in-store meat apprenticeship program for its team members. The intensive 18-month training program is designed to transform aspiring butchers into skilled meat cutters and teach them the company’s standards for quality, animal welfare, food safety, and sanitation.

"The 18-month program is both hands-on and academic. Apprentices will learn how to prepare all cuts of meat from all species as well as merchandising, and also receive culinary training on meat preparation and cooking techniques that they can pass along to shoppers.

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FINANCE

D.C. Council upholds mayor’s veto of ‘living wage’ bill

BY Dan Berthiaume

Washington, D.C. — The D.C. Council failed on Tuesday to overturn Mayor Vincent Gray’s veto of the proposed “living wage” bill. According to Washington Business Journal, only seven of the required nine district councilors voted to override Gray’s veto of the Large Retailer Accountability Act.

National Retail Federation (NRF) senior VP for government relations David French issued the following statement:

"Plain and simple, the city council’s vote to sustain the mayor’s veto of the Large Retailer Accountability Act is a victory for D.C. jobs and the D.C. community. Just as important, today marks a clear defeat for the special interest groups that sought to advance a narrow political agenda without regard to the legislation’s impact on current and future D.C. residents. No industry, and certainly no company, should be singled out by union organizers. D.C. needs retail as much as retail needs D.C.”

Yesterday, D.C. District Council members introduced several proposed bills to raise the overall minimum wage for all employers in Washington, D.C., to hourly levels ranging from $10.25 to $12.50. The current hourly minimum wage in the district is $8.25.

The living wage bill, initially adopted in July 2013, would have required retailers with a minimum of 75,000 square feet of retail space in Washington, D.C., whose parent company earned at least $1 billion in annual revenues to pay a minimum hourly wage of $12.50, not including benefits. Retailers with collective bargaining agreements would not have been covered by the bill.

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OPERATIONS

Starbucks switches course; asks customers not to bring guns into its stores

BY Marianne Wilson

Seattle — Starbucks Corporation is requesting that customers no longer bring guns onto its property, either inside or outside its stores — even in states where “open carry” laws permit them to do so — with the exclusion of law enforcement personnel.

Company founder, chairman and CEO Howard Schultz made the request in an open letter posted under his name on the Starbucks website. The company plans to buy ad space in major national newspapers to run the letter.

In recent months, Starbucks has been thrust into the middle of the gun control debate. In August, Starbucks closed its store in Newtown, Conn., early after gun rights supporters held events there. At the same time, supporters of gun control have become more vocal that the chain, known for its progressive policies, put a ban on guns in its stores.

“In recent months, Starbucks stores and our partners (employees) who work in our stores have been thrust unwillingly into the middle of this debate,” Schultz wrote in the letter. “That’s why I am writing today with a respectful request that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas.”

Schultz noted that the company’s longstanding “open carry” approach has been to follow local laws, which means permitting guns in stores in states where allowed and prohibiting it in states where such laws don’t exist. Most other retailers and restaurant chains follow a similar policy with regards to firearms.

“We believe that gun policy should be addressed by government and law enforcement — not by Starbucks and our store partners,” he wrote. “Recently, however, we’ve seen the “open carry” debate become increasingly uncivil and, in some cases, even threatening. Pro-gun activists have used our stores as a political stage for media events misleadingly called “Starbucks Appreciation Days” that disingenuously portray Starbucks as a champion of “open carry.” To be clear: we do not want these events in our stores. Some anti-gun activists have also played a role in ratcheting up the rhetoric and friction, including soliciting and confronting our customers and partners.”

To read the full letter, click here.

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