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An Extended Family


Whitsons’ team member philosophy is perhaps best expressed through the concept of “family values.” We see all of our team members as part of Whitsons’ extended family, and we are committed to supporting their growth both personally and professionally. Our unique spirit starts directly with the members of the Whitcomb family, whose family business values have inspired a corporate wide belief in teamwork. Everyone is made to feel part of the family, and that is reflected in the close “family units” that develop even within each individual location. Team members look out for each other, work well together and support each other, on both a personal and professional level. They support their clients through community events and during emergency situations, and are always willing to help out other locations. It’s in this spirit that our teams provide outstanding service to our customers every day.

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Recruiting and Cultivating Top Talent

Whitsons team members share a passion for service excellence, a love of good food and a strong commitment to making a difference in the lives we touch. Finding and nurturing the right people is crucial to fostering our shared commitment to excellence and our family values.


Welcoming Existing Teams Into the Whitsons Family
Sometimes, finding the right people is simply a matter of igniting a spark within existing teams that have served a school community for many years. We love working with these folks, who are already so committed to the communities they serve. That is why, when we are selected to serve a new community, our first priority is to talk to the existing team to introduce them to the Whitsons culture and welcome them to our family. Together, we review job descriptions, and work and training schedules, discuss career opportunities and help the team to feel welcome. In addition to practical matters involving pay rates, benefits and training, we discuss and incorporate their ideas on how to make improvements to the current program. We have a strong history of success in welcoming staff into the Whitsons family, providing training and education programs and working together to make many positive changes to the dining programs at the schools we serve.


Whitsons team members share a passion for service excellence, a love of good food and a strong commitment to making a difference in the lives we touch. Finding and nurturing the right people is crucial to fostering our shared commitment to excellence and our family values.


Welcoming Existing Teams Into the Whitsons Family
Sometimes, finding the right people is simply a matter of igniting a spark within existing teams that have served a school community for many years. We love working with these folks, who are already so committed to the communities they serve. That is why, when we are selected to serve a new community, our first priority is to talk to the existing team to introduce them to the Whitsons culture and welcome them to our family. Together, we review job descriptions, and work and training schedules, discuss career opportunities and help the team to feel welcome. In addition to practical matters involving pay rates, benefits and training, we discuss and incorporate their ideas on how to make improvements to the current program. We have a strong history of success in developing rapport with existing staff, providing training and education programs and working together to make many positive changes to the dining programs at the schools we serve.


Recruiting for Open Positions
After interviewing current employees and retaining those who wish to join the Whitsons team, we will seek to fill the remaining positions with experienced members of the community and qualified Whitsons team members. Available positions are posted online in our Career Center website, third party job portals and local publications, depending on the need and the position.


Career Connection™ Kiosks may also be placed at different locations, where potential team members are able to apply for positions available at that particular location or companywide. Team members are also encouraged to refer friends and family to apply for positions through the Internal Career Center Referral Program. Once someone is hired, an electronic onboarding program is used to help streamline the hiring process and paperwork. This system enables us to maintain compliance with EEO laws and other employment regulations.


Qualities We Look For In Our Team Members
Our team members are the key to exceeding customer expectations. Therefore, we are selective in who we hire to fulfill our mission to provide our clients with the best service and highest quality products. Our team members must possess the following qualities in order to fit within our family-value based company culture: friendly, enthusiastic, open to learning, multi-tasker, excellent communications skills and experienced.


We maintain a proactive staffing program to ensure that a talent pool of managerial and non managerial team members is available. A number of our accounts are designated as Centers for Excellence, which serve as training facilities for these candidates. When new locations are opened, or vacations or leaves of absences occur, our reserve of fully trained staff members are ready to serve our clients’ temporary needs without interruption of service.

Training Our Team Members For Success

Our team members are an important part of our success. By investing in their future, we are ensuring the success of our clients’ dining programs through retention of dedicated, satisfied team members who care about their jobs and the customers we serve. Our career development programs, promotional opportunities and incentive programs provide team members with opportunities for professional advancement, personal growth and job satisfaction.


Core Training Programs

All team members are fully trained in customer service, sanitation, food handling, safety, culinary standards and operations, allergen control and other critical topics as part of our core curriculum. We believe proper training is an ongoing process and we regularly update our training and certification procedures. Whitsons has established procedures and safeguards to ensure we serve quality food—and we achieve this goal through our ongoing training initiatives.

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Our team members are an important part of our success. By investing in their future, we are ensuring the success of our clients’ dining programs through retention of dedicated, satisfied team members who care about their jobs and the customers we serve. Our career development programs, promotional opportunities and incentive programs provide team members with opportunities for professional advancement, personal growth and job satisfaction.


Core Training Programs
All team members are fully trained in customer service, sanitation, food handling, safety, culinary standards and operations, allergen control and other critical topics as part of our core curriculum. We believe proper training is an ongoing process and we regularly update our training and certification procedures. Whitsons has established procedures and safeguards to ensure we serve quality food—and we achieve this goal through our ongoing training initiatives.


Supplemental Training
Our regular classroom and on-the-job training programs are supplemented by educational programs, such as annual school manager meetings, attendance at industry food shows, participation on our internal ACT research and concept development council and support from our corporate trainers. All core training is provided onsite at the team members’ location. Online training is additionally provided through web-based training. We believe these programs provide our team with valuable knowledge and skills to build their own careers, as well as continuously infuse new ideas into the school nutrition program.


Achieving Culinary Excellence™ (ACE) Program
ACE is a four-year accreditation program, with designations after the completion of each of the four years of coursework: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum ACE. The ACE program is a continuing education opportunity offered to all team members, and includes classes that enable them to enhance their operational knowledge and provide a better customer experience. Whitsons provides awards and recognition for each ACE level achieved. Course curriculum includes a broad base of topics:


  • Culinary skills and concepts
  • Operational management
  • Food safety management
  • People management


Center for Excellence™ (CFE) Bonus Program
CFE is a highly prestigious achievement that recognizes the accomplishments of an entire team and marks the location as a showcase account and Whitsons training center. Every onsite team is eligible to achieve this recognition, which marks the culmination of various personal and team achievements. One of the most important requirements is a rating of 95% or higher on the annual quality audit scores. In addition, all team members at the location must complete the ACE training requirements for the year. Whitsons provides a special bonus package consisting of monetary rewards and additional benefits for those locations that earn CFE status and recertification must occur annually. All team members at every level, from onsite to support, receive a bonus for such an achievement, and are presented with incentives to maintain this status each year.

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Career Development for Managers

We are committed to providing our managers with the guidance they need to excel in their positions and create a career path for future advancement. We implement a thorough evaluation program to provide feedback on performance and opportunities for personal development. We use an objective review system whereby ratings are assessed in many different areas under the main headings of key measurable performance indicators (e.g., customer relations, productivity, quality audit results, financial accountability) and core competency management behaviors, such as leadership, team building and integrity. Each supervisor is given the flexibility to choose appropriate goals under each category, and the supervisor also seeks the manager’s input. Goals must be measurable and attainable. Guidelines are also provided to assist the supervisor and the manager with creating the best possible career path for each individual.

Career Development-Hourly Staff

The process for evaluating staff performance is similar to that of managers. The manager reviews the team member’s job responsibilities, assignments and performance standards. Both parties discuss how the team member can contribute to the company’s goals and increase his or her skills and experience. The planning discussion will also address a personal development plan identifying new responsibilities, training initiatives and/or skills to be strengthened.

Incentive Programs

To encourage team members to continuously strive for excellence, we offer an array of benefits for managers and hourly team members, depending on our negotiated contracts with clients and unions, which may include the following incentives.

 

Comprehensive Benefits
Whitsons offers all full-time team members the opportunity to take advantage of a full complement of employee benefits, including health benefits, retirement savings plans, life insurance, long term disability insurance, paid vacation and personal time, family and medical leave and civic responsibilities such as jury duty.

 

STAR Program
STAR (Strive To Achieve Rewards™) is a points-based system that rewards team members who contribute to team building, business building and client retention. Team members earn STAR points for such things as participating in committees, exceeding weekly sales or participation goals, volunteering to be a Guest Chef or recruiting a new team member. Team members save their points toward gifts such as Whitsons shirts, jackets and hats, Wüsthof knife sets, DVD players, Coach briefcases and even iPads and flat screen televisions. Points may be cashed in at any time through the STAR link on Whitsons’ website.  STAR is available to all active team members employed by Whitsons, including both full and part time staff.

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To encourage team members to continuously strive for excellence, we offer an array of benefits for managers and hourly team members, depending on our negotiated contracts with clients and unions, which may include the following incentives.

 

Comprehensive Benefits
Whitsons offers all full-time team members the opportunity to take advantage of a full complement of employee benefits, including health benefits, retirement savings plans, life insurance, long term disability insurance, paid vacation and personal time, family and medical leave and civic responsibilities such as jury duty.

 

STAR Program
STAR (Strive To Achieve Rewards™) is a points-based system that rewards team members who contribute to team building, business building and client retention. Team members earn STAR points for such things as participating in committees, exceeding weekly sales or participation goals, volunteering to be a Guest Chef or recruiting a new team member. Team members save their points toward gifts such as Whitsons shirts, jackets and hats, Wüsthof knife sets, DVD players, Coach briefcases and even iPads and flat screen televisions. Points may be cashed in at any time through the STAR link on Whitsons’ website.  STAR is available to all active team members employed by Whitsons, including both full and part time staff.

 

Bonus Program
In addition to base salary, Whitsons provides the opportunity for both managers and non salaried staff to receive a financial incentive. This award is given to individuals and/or teams who have demonstrated their ability to increase operational efficiencies and/or profitability.

 

Team Member of the Month
Whitsons has a company-wide team member of the month program. In each of our regions, we recognize an hourly team member who demonstrates outstanding motivation and performance. Winners of this award receive STAR points and a certificate of recognition, as well as acknowledgement in our corporate newsletter.

 

Location Manager of the Month
Whitsons recognizes one location manager of the month companywide who has provided exceptional team leadership to their team members and exemplifies Whitsons standard for excellence. They also receive STAR points, a certificate of recognition and acknowledgement in our corporate newsletter.   

 

Anniversary Recognition
Team members are acknowledged for their hard work and commitment with STAR points annually on their anniversaries. Special milestone anniversaries of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years of service are also recognized with special pins.

 

Personal Accomplishments
As a family-owned company, we recognize that team members’ personal and family accomplishments are important, and are proud to celebrate with them and announce their personal achievements, marriages, births, children’s graduations, etc. in our corporate newsletter and monthly internal e-newsletter.

 

Achieving Culinary Excellence™ (ACE) Program
ACE is a continuing education program offering team members classes that will enable them to enhance their operational knowledge and provide a better customer experience.

 

Center for Excellence™ (CFE) Bonus Program
Whitsons also provides a special bonus package consisting of monetary rewards and additional benefits for those locations who earn a rating of 95% or higher on their annual quality audit scores.

 

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Whitsons offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at no cost to all full and part time team members. Services include confidential counseling, work/life services, financial and legal consultation, wellness coaching and many other programs designed to help team members and their families solve difficulties that can impact their health, personal well-being or job performance. The EAP is offered to help Whitsons’ team members find solutions to personal problems, big or small, that may have the potential to become overwhelming. Team members have access to a confidential, 24/7 toll-free hotline, where trained counselors provide information, direction and resources.

 

Annual Manager Meetings
Each year, Whitsons hosts meetings by segment and region to bring managers, leads and cooks together and present pertinent company-wide information and new resources. Benefits of these meetings are multiple:

  • They provide an opportunity for the sharing of important new policies and programs that have been developed, as well as offer preliminary training workshops on each.
  • The food exposition portion of the meeting introduces team members to new approved products and recipes that can be worked into their menus.
  • Team members have the opportunity to meet and/or network with each other and share ideas in a forum that encourages interaction.
  • Cash and other prizes are given away to thank teams for certain accomplishments, and giveaways help to keep the meetings exciting and motivational.


Our compensation policies, incentive programs, contests, evaluations and opportunities for advancement have enabled Whitsons to retain a team of highly qualified and dedicated team members that remain with us for many years.

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