Next Steps

What to expect after you inquire about a Grocery Outlet

Becoming a Grocery Outlet independent operator is a big decision — and so is welcoming someone into our network! That’s why we want to ask you a lot of questions as we explore whether we’re a great fit.

Steve Smith (left) and his wife, Kim, met while working at her parents’ Grocery Outlet store. Their son, Kaleb (pictured), is wrapping up his training in the company’s Aspiring Operators in Training program.

“I started inquiring, and I talked to Grocery Outlet about it — and I was hooked,” says Eric Liittschwager, an independent operator in Visitacion Valley, just south of San Francisco. “So far it’s been everything they told me it would be. They like entrepreneurs willing to accept responsibility for their own destiny. The interview process is thorough because they’re very careful to select the right independent operators that will enhance the brand reputation of Grocery Outlet Bargain Markets, and now that I am an independent operator, I can see why.”

Our mutual evaluation process can happen in as quickly as 30 days. This includes multiple conversations that you’ll have with Grocery Outlet’s recruiting team and existing independent operators, as well as completing screening assessments.

Once you complete an online application on our website, a recruiter will reach out to discuss the basics of the company and our unique business model. During this initial conversation we’ll answer your questions about the business model and you’ll learn what would make you successful as an independent operator. We’ll send you initial information and request resumes and other information from you from which we’ll make an initial assessment of your suitability as a candidate for an independent operator license.

We believe that conversations with existing independent operators are your best source of information. Once we have verified your fundamental level of experience and financial viability, we invite you to make as many appointments as possible with current independent operators. This allows you to learn the lifestyle and culture of our Grocery Outlet independent operator network from those who live it.

As you move through the process, and if your profile fits what we look for in a future independent operator, we will ask you to complete an Aspiring Operators in Training evaluation form that asks you to rate yourself on certain skills and personality traits. This helps us better understand the kind of training you may need and if you are the right fit for us. You will also be asked to complete a personal financial statement and undergo credit and background checks. There will also be a few online skills assessments to identify your decision-making strengths under certain scenarios and your entrepreneurial motivation.  Once all parties involved have completed the mutual evaluation process, we will determine whether we should move forward. We make this decision based on your completing a two-step process; first, a group phone interview with our recruiting team and then a trip to our headquarters in Emeryville, California. Here you will meet with several of our existing independent operators and key members of our executive team.

We pride ourselves on knowing all candidates personally before we decide if they are the right fit to move forward in the recruitment process and enroll in the Aspiring Operators in Training program. If we invite you to enroll and you choose to do so, we’ll introduce you to existing independent operators to facilitate the process of matching your needs with an experienced independent operator.  The independent operator, not us, will set the terms of your employment including your salary during AOT, assign specific work to you that exposes you to all of the essential jobs in a Grocery Outlet, and serve as your  Training Store Operator. By gaining on-the-job knowledge and experience supplemented with classes at Grocery Outlet University, our aspiring operators-in-training acquire valuable tools and insights about what it takes to run a Grocery Outlet should we believe that they qualify for a license to become an independent operator.  Our highly selective recruitment process honed by decades of experience identifying, nurturing and training candidates to become successful independent business owners is an effective business model and a proven win-win arrangement.    

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