Food Businesses Lend a Helping Hand

With workers in the restaurant, sports, and entertainment industries heavily impacted by closures during coronavirus, companies like Lineage Logistics LLC are stepping up and offering employment opportunities.

Lineage needs to hire 2,000 more workes globally in the next eight weeks to meet increased demand at its cold storage facilities, reported Crain’s Detroit Business (March 16). The world’s largest cold storage provider to the food industry is ramping up efforts to supply grocery stores as quickly as possible as concerned consumers continue to stock up on provisions, CEO Greg Lehmkuhl said.

“We’re seeing a huge increase in the volumes, an unprecedented rise,” Lehmkuhl said. “Our retail customers are seeing a 20% to 50% increase in end sales, so everyone is doing what they can to support the end demand.”

Additionally, Amazon plans to hire 100,000 new workers in the U.S. to keep up with a surge in orders from people confined to their homes, reported Fox News (March 17). The company saw a steep increase in orders putting its operations under pressure.

“We are seeing a significant increase in demand, which means our labor needs are unprecedented for this time of year,” said Dave Clark, who oversees Amazon’s warehouse and delivery network.

The job openings are for a mix of full-time and part-time positions and include delivery drivers and warehouse workers.

The retailer will also temporarily raise pay by $2 an hour through the end of April for hourly employees. That includes workers at its warehouses, delivery centers, and Whole Foods grocery stores.

Some grocers are also adjusting schedules to allow older and other at-risk customers to shop before the general public, reported The Hill (March 16). Australia’s Woolworths and Coles chains instituted special hours for older and disabled populations, as did the UK’s Iceland Foods. Some in the U.S. are seeking similar solutions.

For example, Stop & Shop stores will open earlier to service only customers who are age 60 and over from 6:00 a.m.-7:30 a.m. daily. The change will help customers in this age category to shop in a less crowded environment, which better enables social distancing and better chances of staying healthy.

Meanwhile, with Disney hotels, stores, and theme parks shut down, the company decided to donate all excess food to Central Florida residents in need, reported Fox 35 Orlando (March 16). All of the excess food inventory from their parks, restaurants, and hotels will go to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.

“Second Harvest Food Bank is known for their vital work addressing critical food needs in Central Florida, and we know the important role we play in helping to bring meaningful solutions to our community in times of great need,” said Tajiana Ancora-Brown, director of external affairs at Walt Disney World Resort.