Raising the Bar on Food Service In Convenience Stores

Raising The Bar On Food Service In Convenience Stores

Growing up in rural Whitesburg, Kentucky Chef Jared Richardson worked in his mother’s restaurant from the time he was big enough to look over the sink and wash dishes.  “I come from a big Italian family that loves food and preparing it.  Between working in mom’s restaurant and having 3 family members that were certified chefs I have always been immersed in food,” according to Chef Jared, Team Modern Distributors’ first professional chef.  “In my late 20’s I was honing my skills under 3 other chefs my age in Lexington, Kentucky.  Seeing what they had learned in school re-ignited my dream of going to culinary school” he said.  In 1999 Richardson applied for and was accepted to attend the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.  “School was amazing.  Living in New York and experiencing everything the city and the school had to offer gave me a much broader understanding of food. I also gained the perspective that great food can be anything from country comfort food to fine restaurant food but ultimately great food is created by people who love to prepare it,” Chef Jared said.

When Team Modern was looking to take their food service program to the next level, the company saw a need to have someone that was educated in all aspects of food and the impact it could have in the convenience store industry.  When the Ray Family met with Chef Jared about working with Team Modern, their goals were to develop food programs and work with their convenience store customers to grow their food business with their customers.  Chef Jared first came to work at Team Modern in November of 2014 and since that time has had both challenges and successes.  “With Modern, I saw an opportunity to do something different and new.  It is a different side of food service and how I apply my skills.  Our greatest challenge is we are limited in helping customers by their willingness to execute programs.  Consumers are willing to try new offerings in food.  We want to have something for our c-stores to serve their customers that is new and fresh in the convenience store channel.  If you own a convenience store serving food, you must have staff that is energized about what they do and see food as an extension of themselves,” Richardson said.

When asked what is necessary to have a successful food service business within your convenience stores no matter how large or small, Chef Jared offered the following main points:

  1. Cleanliness.  It must be a top priority.  No matter what you are cooking people do not want to eat food from a deli that is not clean or from a store that is dirty.
  2. Execution.  Learn how to do food preparation and food programs right and create consistency in food quality, taste and value to your customers. Consumers expectations are higher today than ever before no matter where they buy their food because of their exposure to diverse food offerings.
  3. Standards.  Set you own personal bar above where you are in your knowledge of food preparation and presentation. Every job is important within the food service business to grow sales.
  4. Attitude.  Be motivated about your job and take pride in serving quality for your customers.  Strive for making a better place in life for you and your family.

Richardson says he married “a big city girl from Somerset” Samantha Rogers Richardson that he met in Lexington while both worked there.  Their son Will turns 2 in February and they just bought a home earlier this year.  Jared enjoys doing home improvements, all types of sports, and just hanging out with his wife and son.  “My goal for 2016 is to work closer with stores to help them develop the passion necessary to satisfy consumer’s needs and raise expectations about food quality available in our customer’s delis” he said.  To learn more about how Chef Jared might help your existing food service business or if you are interested in getting into food service contact Chef Jared Richardson at 800-880-5543 or e-mail him at j.richardson@teammodern.com.