Specialty Food Magazine

FALL 2018

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Katherine Frankstone, owner and chief baker, Grey Ghost Bakery As a small business, Grey Ghost Bakery is incredibly fortunate to have a fantastic team of employees in place. Our sales volume ramps up seasonally and when we need to add to our workforce, we first reach out to prospective employees by word of mouth through our current employees, who often know good people who want to add seasonal employment. We also have had great success in reaching prospective employees through social media and local organizations such as Lowcountry Local First, a group that exists to support local businesses in our area. In 2014, we had great press exposure in a 'Today Show' segment on the best holiday food gifts and we had done nothing to prepare in advance for national media exposure. As the orders started f looding in, I put the word out on Facebook that we were thrilled with the exposure but needed immediate help in the bakery. Amazingly, some of our best employees came to us through that social media shout-out. We have continued to access Facebook groups and general social media postings as our primary source of new employees, in addition to networking with our current team. Zeke Freeman, founder and CEO, Bee Raw Plan, plan, plan. We prefer to hire as few seasonal employees as possible and focus on having year-round help that is constantly planning for the holiday rush. This allows us to focus on quality, not quantity with both our year-round and seasonal employees. We start early in the year setting holiday selections and forecasts. It's important to keep in mind that the holiday rush comes in waves. Distributors stock up early, then retailers, and lastly consumer direct clients. Therefore, by August we have begun building inventory, by mid to late September most of our product that will go to distributors and retailers is ready, and by November we have 75 percent of our consumer direct holiday forecast built and ready to ship. All this planning and preparing inventory keeps our year-round employees busy and engaged and when we are in need of seasonal help we can pay a bit more and focus on quality help. When searching for seasonal help we pitch ourselves as much as looking at the candidates. When looking for quality we get an edge by effectively communicating our mission-driven values. Julie Gallagher is managing editor of Specialty Food Magazine. Sharon Decato, director of human resources, Stonewall Kitchen At Stonewall Kitchen we are all about community—both external and internal—meaning teamwork and collaboration. We have a mix of full-time, year-round staff as well as part-time and seasonal employees. After all, it really does take a village to ensure that all these beautiful and delicious gifts are packaged and delivered in time for the holiday season. Employees from every department in the company lend a hand in our retail stores and in the distribution center during our busy season to ensure we meet our commitments to our guests. Since the holiday season is our busiest time, employees from merchandising, marketing, the e-commerce team, creative, purchasing, human resources, sales, and manufacturing all pitch in to make and ship gifts to our guests. New Hampshire and Maine have incredibly low unemployment rates so we have had to get very creative when it comes to sourcing candidates. We are doing most of the hiring ourselves but do use temp agencies for about 15 percent of the staff in the distribution center. This year we have been using grassroots initiatives, including job fairs and signage both in-store and in surrounding communities. Additionally, we've been offering attendance bonuses and have dramatically increased our referral program by creating business cards for our employees to use to attract new hires. We even bought the recruiting manager a blueberry suit and she found some great candidates at our job fair—Wild Maine Blueberry Jam really does attract the best workers. We are looking forward to a fantastic season. "It really does take a village to ensure that all these beautiful and delicious gifts are packaged and delivered in time for the holiday season." How do you appropriately staff your company to deal with the holiday rush and what are some best practices for hiring seasonal help? Q: article bug FALL 2018 77

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