Technology has also changed drastically and Raley’s has always kept up with it, working to incorporate ApplePay into its payment systems. Additionally, the stores have a system to manage how much time every customer spends in line waiting to check out, striving to deliver on its fast and convenient checkout commitment. Raley’s prides itself on having one of the shortest wait times in the industry; there are never more than two people standing in any line at any time.
“Whether it’s the evolution of food as medicine to improve health or great in-store experiences, it’s all changing very quickly,” says Keith Knopf, chief operating officer at Raley’s. “We are at the right place at the right time to be able to serve our customer.”
All company decisions are made to serve the customer, employees and vendors. The company asks itself: Is this the right thing to do for the people we serve? Then it figures out how to make the decision a viable business situation.
With 12,000 people employed throughout California and Nevada, Raley’s is proud of the level of engagement employees have because it shows they believe in the vision of the company. “That engagement is a good indication that everyone believes in what we’re doing, they understand our purpose and their role in helping people achieve health and happiness,” Knopf says. “We have low turnover and amazing tenure; some people have been with us their entire working lives. This is a testament to our team’s commitment to each other, Raley’s family and to the vision we all share.”
The company is proud of the vendor relationships it has cultivated that tie into its environmental values. Harris Ranch’s vision aligns with Raley’s in that it treats its animals humanely and provides sustainable, local beef to the stores. EcoLab also matches its visions of water conservation, which is a critical initiative in California. With this relationship, the company is able to use less water while maintaining high standards of cleanliness in the stores. Raley’s is one of the first retailers in the country to implement that partnership.
For a company like Raley’s, often the sustainable decision is the best business decision. It has implemented several sustainability efforts to make the world a better place.
By December 2017, all seafood Raley’s sells will be sourced sustainably. This means that for every fish taken for consumption through partners and vendors, another fish will be replaced in the same area.
Raley’s is also committed to sourcing its food locally to bring quality and fresh food to its customers, while supporting the local farming communities. “It’s a big deal to us and our communities that we operate in,” Knopf explains. “We have been dedicated to that concept for the 80 years we’ve been in business. Plus, we’re fortunate to operate in one of the most fertile areas of the country.”
Additionally, Raley’s operates one of the newest and most energy-efficient trucking fleets in the country. This comes at a cost with its commitment to fuel efficiency because the company has invested in very expensive equipment to reduce emissions.
Some other examples of Raley’s sustainability efforts include:
- •Composting all veggies and fruits that cannot be donated;
- •Using sustainable materials instead of Styrofoam for products such as eggs;
- •Installing solar panels on the roofs at some stores and its distribution center;
- •Using biodegradable trays for its hand-topped pizzas;
- •Replacing the water purification system with one that saves 70,000 gallons per months;
- •Installing motion-sensor lights for the chilled cases in the frozen food and product departments in all new and remodeled stores; and
- •Letting the lawns turn gold to reduce water consumption.
“It’s less about cost and more about doing the right thing,” Knopf says. “That’s one of the values, traditions and commitments you get from a family owned business, reflective of our CEO and his family, even if it costs more. And it definitely does.”
Raley’s customers’ health is just as important as environmental sustainability. With its wellness initiative as the cornerstone of its vision, the company is fully committed to helping people achieve healthier and happier lives.
“It is our goal to become a trusted advisor for the person making choices and purchases for their family,” Knopf says. “We want to make sure we offer not just quality, fresh products, but also choices that are healthier for you at affordable prices. We continue to evolve that strategy at a rate that makes sense to our customer.”
Recently, Raley’s removed tobacco from all of its stores. This decision cost the company sales, but it was an important one in keeping with its vision. Naturally, not all of the company’s customers agreed with this decision, but it believes that the majority of customers are focused on doing what is in their own best interests. Removing tobacco is a huge step forward in that direction.
80 Years of Raley’s
Raley’s is celebrating its 80th year in business, an impressive feat as not many businesses make it that long. Even the mayor of Placerville, Patty Borelli, presented the company with a proclamation to honor its first store.
But the company shares its health and happiness vision through its employees, so it wanted to honor them specifically for this yearlong celebration. Hundreds of employees and customers shared stories of great customer service moments. Then, Raley’s selected the top four team members and showcased them in the lobby of its headquarters for the year.
One of the winning stories described a woman with medical issues who needed assistance getting her groceries at the Stockton store. That location didn’t already offer those services, but the employees stepped up and collected her groceries and delivered them to her home.
“I think the team members make the difference,” Knopf says. “Any time I’ve spoken to customers, everyone has an experience to share. It takes incredible individuals to carry that out and we feel a sense of responsibility to our customers every day. Our job is to help support the store and in turn support the customers. It’s a living legacy and it’s all about the people we serve.“