The Kroger Co. is taking the lead in offering guidance to retailers, restaurants, logistics and distribution centers and other industries to consider as they start to consider re-opening their facilities.
With its stores open throughout the pandemic, the nation’s largest supermarket retailer drew on its own experiences to develop a guide, Sharing What We've Learned: A Blueprint for Businesses, that contains best practices, suggested protocols and creative assets, including social distancing signage, to help businesses begin to reopen safely “and in sync with their respective state plans.” (To download the specific guidance for retail stores, click here. Click here for downloadable creative assets.)
"With nearly 2,800 grocery stores, 35 manufacturing plants, 44 distribution centers and 460,000 associates across the country, Kroger has learned and continues to learn a lot while keeping our stores and supply chain open and serving America during the pandemic," said Rodney McMullen, chairman and CEO, Kroger. “As an essential business, we have led with our Purpose: to Feed the Human Spirit and have taken extensive measures across our footprint to safeguard our associates, customers and supply chain. We are sharing what we've learned to help businesses begin to reopen safely and in sync with their respective state plans."
Kroger's Blueprint includes actionable recommendations and learnings that the company has applied in the last six weeks to safeguard its employees, customers, and communities, as well as what it has learned through regular interaction with business leaders in other countries, including Italy, Singapore and China – all of which were ahead of the U.S. in terms of the pandemic cycling through their countries.
Late last week, several U.S. Governors and business organizations asked Kroger to help their state's businesses to reopen safely. Kroger said it developed the Blueprint –in 36 hours to begin providing immediate assistance to states and businesses with plans to update with new learnings in real-time.
"It's critical for businesses to let their values guide their actions and to develop protocols and procedures in advance of reentering the marketplace to safely reopen, protecting customers and employees and flattening the curve," said McMullen. "We recognize that not all businesses are the same. What worked for us may not work for some companies. And while there is no "one thing" that makes all the difference, taking a comprehensive, thoughtful approach to safety will lead to better outcomes."
Kroger will continue to update the Blueprint in the coming days and weeks, providing additional recommendations, insights, best practices, tools and templates for other industries to leverage.
"We share our learnings with the same spirit that many business leaders from around the world have generously shared their experiences with our company, which helped us anticipate the steps we needed to take to provide a safe environment for our associates and customers," said McMullen. "We know that we don't, and we won't, have all the answers – no one business or organization will. It will take all of us sharing openly the ingenuity that has always been the heart of American free enterprise to get through this, together, allowing America to come out stronger.”