Skip to main content

Whole Foods Closing 3 Central Kitchens

On the heels of previously announced plans to shut down its prepared food facility in Everett, Mass.,Whole Foods Market confirmed that it will shutter its two other central kitchens, in Landover, Md., and Atlanta.

As PG recently reported, the retailer’s New England-based prepared food facility, known as Whole Foods Market North Atlantic Kitchen, provided some 70 Northeastern stores with ready-to-eat foods. The natural grocer said it will now outsource its prepared food preparation to a network of suppliers that will use Whole Foods' recipes.

The company said its decision to close the central kitchens is “based on a movement toward streamlining operations for prepared foods,” and unrelated to a warning letter from the Food and Drug Administration last year over violations of sanitary and other standards at the Everett facility, including evidence of Listeria on surfaces and equipment. The grocer was given until the end of June 2016 to make corrections.

As reported by The Wall Street Journal, “The decision to outsource the food preparation, which was announced to employees last week, comes as Whole Foods works to cut costs by centralizing certain functions and reducing its workforce. Teams at its Austin, Texas, headquarters are taking more responsibility for buying packaged foods for stores nationally, and in 2015, the company announced plans to cut 1,500 jobs at the regional and store levels.”

Not all of Whole Foods’ stores rely on the off-site commercial kitchens for their prepared foods, according the WSJ story, which said that many Whole Foods locations have on-site kitchen prep that the company expects to continue operating. 

Whole Foods Market, which operates 468 stores in the United States, says that the three central kitchens employ about 500 people, and that it expects most of them will find jobs elsewhere in the company, or with its suppliers.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds