Answers to common questions about becoming a Grocery Outlet licensee

We’ve compiled some of the questions that potential independent operators often ask us; however, we know you will probably have a lot more. Once we have your application, a member of our recruiting team will be on hand to answer any further questions you may have and walk you through the application process. To speak to a member of our recruiting team directly, please fill out the form on this page or call the phone number above.

Q: What are the requirements for becoming an independent operator?

A: We require at least five years of retail management experience (grocery preferred), an acceptable financial background, proven sales and merchandising skills and the completion of our Aspiring Operator in Training (AOT) program. You also must be willing to relocate.

Q: How much does an independent operator make?

A: Independent operators decide how much they make by growing sales, managing margins and controlling their variable expenses such as labor, utilities and supplies. As we work with you to educate you, we’ll connect you with existing independent operators in order to help you learn more about both the lifestyle and the financial outcomes that they experience running their stores.

Q: How do you handle inventory?

A: independent operators are given access to an order guide that is updated daily. They may order as many products as they like most days of the week. There is no limit to how many trucks they use per week, although independent operators pay for freight costs. Since many of our products are perishable, we teach independent operators how to get the inventory to the cash register as quickly as possible. It’s important to order wisely and not back merchandise up in the stockroom.

Q: What territories are available?

A: We recently acquired a chain of Amelia’s Grocery Outlet Bargain Markets in Pennsylvania and are planning to expand along the East Coast. We are also aggressively expanding into Southern California. Additionally, we are continuing to expand near markets in Washington State, Oregon, California, Idaho and Nevada.

Q: How are locations chosen?

A: Grocery Outlet chooses and builds stores based on demographics and demand. Independent operators apply for stores as they complete their training and stores become available. You may have the opportunity to operate a store in your current community, but independent operators typically need to relocate.

Q: Do I have to relocate?

A: Those aspiring operators-in-training who successfully complete AOT and are invited to become an independent operator may  apply for stores they wish to operate.  However, 90% of them relocate for the opportunity to independently operate their business. We tell applicants not to consider the Grocery Outlet independent operator opportunity unless they are willing to relocate.  A candidate who successfully completes AOT program has a greater chance of being awarded a license to operate a Grocery Outlet Bargain Market if they are able to be flexible in where they are willing to relocate since the wider the geographic range, the more stores they can apply for when they successfully complete their training.

Q: What is the timeline for opening a store?

A: Once we acquire the real estate we typically are able to open a store in a year. Our aspiring independent contractors typically complete the AOT program in 6 to 9 months (depending on prior experience). We invite those who want to continue with us and whom we believe have the right mix of skills and credentials to become an independent operator by submitting an application and business plan.  If we approve their application, they may apply for appointment at a particular Grocery Outlet Bargain Market as stores become available.

Q: Is financing available?

A: We work with each individual qualified candidate to determine their needs. We value leadership and great experience. We gladly work with independent operators who have proven to be highly experienced retail managers with some success.

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