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A case of training

Training’s tough, and while larger chains have the luxury of programs developed in-house, independents and small multi-unit companies often don’t. Gordon Food Service (GFS), the country’s largest family-owned broadliner, fills that gap with a computer-based training program it began offering two years ago under its “Catalyst” brand of value-added programs.

Collaborating with an interactive media agency and Sunrise Basic Training, which produces pre-packaged training programs, Gordon provided input over an eight-month period to produce a series of 10 training DVDs. Marketed as Sunrise Basic Training, the program has been exclusive to GFS but this fall becomes available to any hospitality company (for information, visit www.sunrisebasictraining.com).

“We’ve been offering the DVDs for sale and have provided the program free to several key customers,” says Doug Owens, commercial business development manager at GFS. “Response has been great. Customers have a real need for training and this solution has all of the bases covered, from new employee orientation, to food safety and sanitation, to quality guest service, to prepping and kitchen operations, bussing, dishwashing and more.”

Each DVD includes short, focused segments that can be done individually or as a team, as well as trainers’ guides, quizzes and certificates of completion for staffers. The DVDs can be customized with an operation’s logo and upfront messaging, Owens adds. Versions come in Spanish and English.

“Our accounts have been thrilled that they can reach out to their distributor and find an affordable, easy to implement training solution,” Owens says. “As a distributor, we know we have to do more than just sell food. We have to understand our customers’ business needs and deliver resources that meet those needs. Investing in helping our customers grow their businesses is good for everyone.”

Gordon Food Service
Grand Rapids, MI
2008 Sales:: $6.8 billion
2009 ID Top 50 Rank: 3
Marketing Territory:  14 East-Central U.S. states, Florida, Canada
Web site: www.gfs.com