From tea to groceries to drivers' licenses
Kroger began in 1883 as the Great Western Tea Company in Cincinnati, Ohio. By 1902, the company had changed its name to Kroger Grocery and Baking Company and acquired 40 stores in Ohio and Kentucky. In 1935, Kroger opened its first self-service grocery store, helping to usher in the era of the "supermarket." Today, Kroger is the largest supermarket chain in the country, and it continues to grow. Kroger recently purchased Fred Meyer Inc. and now hosts 2,206 supermarkets, 798 convenience stores, 43 food processing plants and 380 jewelry stores in 31 states. The mega-chain plans to open 100 new stores each year for the next several years, while simultaneously investing $160 million in technological improvements and new services. Some Kroger stores now operate driver's license renewal stations, fast food restaurants, self-service checkout systems, and online shopping.
In May 1999, Kroger brought home the bacon with its $13.5 billion aquisition of Fred Meyer Inc., creating a supermarket monster with combined revenues of $43 billion. The purchase has enabled the two stores to combine distribution, purchasing, and other centralized functions, which Kroger hopes will save $75 million in the next year and $225 million annually within three years. Using the resources of Fred Meyer, Kroger plans to expand its private-labels brands and the mix of nonfood goods in its grocery stores. The company even recently began selling off divisions, such as a Memphis bakery, to allow the company to focus more on its private-label groceries. Adhering to its traditional hands-off approach towards acquisitions, Kroger operates Fred Meyer as an autonmous subsidiary, allowing the chain to retain its brand name, managers, and employees. And to beef things up even more this year, Kroger recently purchased 41 supermarkets from Albertson's Inc., one of its main competitors, in addition to Kessel Food Market chain in Michigan and the John C. Groub Company, which runs 30 Jay C Stores supermarkets in Indiana.
Kroger fills most openings through internal promotion, but does occasionally advertise openings in local newspapers and on their web site. In addition, the corporate headquarters accepts unsolicited resumes, which applicants should send via regular mail. For management careers, Kroger recruits on campuses, through the individual stores, and at job fairs. Requirements for management positions include a 2.5 GPA or higher, strong oral and written communications skills, and someone who is assertive and able to delegate reponsibility. New hires must complete an 18 week training program called the Learner Controlled Instruction (LCI). Once completed, workers in Kroger's Management Training Program are promoted to co-manager and progress through the management ranks until they are promoted to the headquarters. Individual stores conduct their own hiring for retail employees.
The web site outlines some of the positions available in retail store management, manufacturing, and at corporate headquarters. There is a list of addresses for retail options; manufacturing resumes can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org; resumes for any of the jobs listed on the web site can be emailed to email@example.com. And of course, fax and snail mail are always options. General questions will be answered at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Great atmosphere compensates (sort of) for pay
Kroger store managers "regularly" work 50-60 hours each week, often at "irregular times." While some employees say that Kroger's pay scale "beats most other grocery chains hands down," others complain that "they have a tendency to make us feel like we're underpaid for what we do." One employee states, "The pay for new hires is not that good." Most co-managers start out making "about $26,000 or more." Although some may be disgruntled by the salary, benefits hit the mark: "As a company we have very good benefits for the management." Kroger offers its employees a 401(k) plan, and educational assistance program, and a stock purchase plan. Perks include a "$5,000 potential bonus per year." When it comes to women and minorities, Kroger employees say that there are very few that "hold positions in Kroger, however, the positions they hold are key to the operation." One source states that "each division is a little different," but in the store arena, "the company is very proactive on hiring women and especially minority women." When it comes to management at Kroger, it's the luck of the draw: "Depending on where you are at, you could have great store manager, a lousy one, or one who is indifferent." Another employee agrees: "Sometimes management fits the DILBERT mold. That's when I feel like screaming." Despite the howling, most employees seem very satisfied with life at Kroger. "The environment is fast paced, ever changing with technological advances, and offers great opportunities for those who are willing to work hard," beams one happy worker. Reports another insider, "I appreciate the tight-knit, family-oriented corporate atmosphere." Employees at the corporate office also appreciate the "business casual" dress code and the free lunch time events that the company sponsors.
Supermarkets;Convenience stores;Food production
More Company Profiles
For more career information, go to Vault.com
©2000, Vault.com Inc