Eric White, director of marketing and communications at Redner’s Markets, says that the company plans to take elements from Fresh Market to “refresh some existing stores, really enhance the look of it with things that we found worked in the Fresh Market that we can translate over. Again, spruce up the store and make it look a little more modernized.”
The company, which operates two distribution centers in Reading, Pa., about 63 miles northwest of Philadelphia, and has 4,500 employees, is planning to open a 49,000-square-foot Redner’s Fresh Market in Lewes, Del., in 2022. Gary Redner anticipates keeping the stores around that same size going forward.
“Originally, we wanted to roll out the Redner’s Fresh Market rebrand to a bunch of stores, but we realized that the physical upgrades to the store are more than what we traditionally spend, and it takes a lot of labor to pull off these things, too,” observes Ryan Redner.
The current national labor crunch is weighing heavily on operations, Gary Redner admits.
“The entire industry is affected by labor shortages,” he continues. “As a result, product inbound is challenged with shorts, late trucks. Our workforce is tired, as they are forced to work extra hours and days in order to help compensate for the labor shortages.”
To alleviate some of the challenges, Ryan Redner says that the company is focused on front end conversions to self-checkout to help mitigate the effect that the labor shortages and minimum-wage increases are having on operations. Even though the company partners with Birmingham, Ala.-based Shipt on online grocery pickup, Redner’s has also launched its own Redner Ready pickup program, which will be rolled out to a different store every week until it’s available at every store in the chain.
But again, Redner’s focus on foodservice innovation can’t be underestimated. Back at the commissary, Chef Tim is showing off his combi steam oven and blast chiller. As he explains the intricacies of crispy chicken skin, humidity and oven temperatures, he ruminates on what’s unique about Redner’s foodservice operation.
“You know what?” he says. “It’s not just one person. Always remember that. I mean, we have a phenomenal team, starting with the family, the leadership, especially in the marketing department, those guys are the best. But this grill right over here ...”