Whole Foods closing 3 regional kitchens, trimming 500 jobs
By Gary Dinges - American-Statesman Staff
- Combined, the facilities in Everett, Mass.; Landover, Md.; and metro Atlanta employ just shy of 500 people.
- The affected employees were given 60 days’ notice of the impending closures.
Combined, the facilities in Everett, Mass.; Landover, Md.; and metro Atlanta employ about 500 people, Whole Foods spokeswoman Betsy Harden said.
The company has more than 87,000 employees worldwide.
The affected employees were given 60 days’ notice of the impending closures, Harden said, and the retailer hopes to shift as many of them as possible to other positions with the company.
The regional kitchens set to close are the last three operated by the company, according to Whole Foods. They prepare a variety of ready-to-eat foods. Other parts of the country, including the Austin area, feature similar items either prepared in stores or by outside vendors, Harden said.
“As part of our ongoing plan to streamline operations, we have decided to leverage the expertise of our supplier network to create some of the high-quality prepared foods sold in our stores,” Whole Foods said in a written statement provided to the American-Statesman. “After careful consideration, we have decided to close our three remaining regional kitchen facilities.
“We are working closely with all affected team members and expect that most will find new positions within the company or with our suppliers. We will continue to invest in culinary innovation and hospitality to further differentiate our brand, including our in-store venues and our freshly prepared on-site offerings.”
Founded in Austin in 1978, Whole Foods has 467 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
In Central Texas, Whole Foods operates stores in Bee Cave, the Arboretum area in Northwest Austin, The Domain in North Austin, Arbor Trails in Southwest Austin and its flagship location in downtown Austin at 525 N. Lamar Blvd.
Whole Foods reported $15.7 billion in sales in fiscal 2016. The company is set to announce earnings for the quarter ending Jan. 15 after the market closes Feb. 8.