Another Typical Day at fresh&easy
While fresh&easy’s new Kitchen to Go meals require little more than four minutes of heating and maybe a dash of salt and the procurement of utensils, it took more than four months for the behind-the-scenes team to make prepping dinner look so easy. We’re talking twelve weeks of 12-hour days, 3am shifts, 7:30am meetings, and trialing, trialing, trialing.
“It was a huge project and took everyone beyond the normality of our usual routines. From the office perspective, we were so appreciative, and wanted to do our best to thank everyone and show our gratitude for both their effort and their effectiveness,” says Neill King, Campus Operations Manager at fresh&easy’s Riverside headquarters. The Southern California site is the company’s hearth and home to the test kitchen, manufacturing, dispatch, process, human resources, quality assurance, cleaning, and many other fresh&easy departments.
To show thanks, employees arrived at work to find boxes of donuts and free breakfasts, received deliveries of late-night pizza, and had their managers brew pot after pot of coffee.
And when Kitchen to Go hit market shelves and kitchen cupboards, fresh&easy threw the entire campus and its 400-strong employee population a party of Olympic proportions.
On July 17, for the first time ever, production halted in favor of a grand celebration, a family-style barbecue with Olympic-themed games and awards, downtime to enjoy sunny weather and smiling colleagues, and a free photo booth outfitted with cowboy hats, masks, mustaches in its trove of ridiculous props.
And while thankful staff members piled plates high with chicken and sausage, baked beans, various salads, and fresh pineapple, the fresh&easy Olympic Games of 2012 began. Events included the Bungee Rush, Sumo Wrestling (in gigantic inflatable costumes, of course), Jousting, and a Whelly Throw (a whelly is apparently a boomerang that won’t hurt if it hits you in the face).
As he presented the trophies, Neill spoke to the crowd. “You all know we managed to launch 160 products in absolutely no time at all, and doing that required a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. Thank you so, so much, both from myself personally, and on behalf of fresh&easy.”
Mark Lodge, Campus Operations Director, feels the party is integral to the culture of fresh&easy. “We really want to live our values and to show what we stand for—and that means doing our best for others. When our people give so much of their time and effort to us, we want to give them something back,” said Mark.
“In all my years, I have never had a better team. I couldn’t have.”
And Mark means it—Nearly five years ago, at the first quarterly party on campus, he became the inaugural “most senior manager” to get plunged into a tank of ice-cold water in a game of “Dunk the Boss.”
Tags: awards, events, games, party