Front-end managers are one of the most visible employees at grocery stores. The term front-end refers to the fact that these managers work in the front of the store, interfacing with customers and employees throughout the day, as opposed to the back-end of the store where stock is warehoused. During the course of a day, a manager could be helping a customer sort out meal options, rearranging an inventory shipment or even helping out behind the register when things get hectic.
Knowledge of the food supply industry and experience with managing supply chains is a key skill needed in being a front-end grocery manager. Equally important for this position are interpersonal relation skills, as one of the key responsibilities is to interface with both suppliers and customers. In this digital age, a basic knowledge of computer operating systems is required. Front-end managers also have to have a high level of attention to detail to be able to adhere to both grocery store operational policies and current state and federal regulations.
The main duty of a front-end grocery store manager is to see to the day-to-day running of the store. At the beginning of the day, the manager distributes cash for each register in accordance with store policy and then balances the registers at the end of every shift. During the course of the day he deals with food distributors and suppliers if any supply issues arise and makes sure that the day's deliveries have all been accounted for. If store customers have issues, the manager meets with them to see how they can be resolved and, if they can't be taken care of immediately, logs the problem for future resolution.
Secondary tasks of an employee in this position vary from store to store, but generally involve supporting upper-level management and filling in for missing personnel as required. He is usually responsible for filing daily, monthly and weekly reports of inventory and supply chain performance. Along with the general manager, the front-end manager assists in compiling financial reports and summaries for management. If needed, he makes banking runs during the course of the day to keep a steady supply of cash on hand in the store.
Front-end managers are typically promoted from within and commonly have at least five years of experience in a grocery store environment. Employees working in these positions should have at least a high school-level education or GED. As of 2013, there are no federal or state regulations requiring that front-end managers be certified, but individual stores or chains may require candidates for this position to pass an internal certification before managing in the field. As with most modern jobs, familiarity with office productivity packages and programs, such as spreadsheets, may be a requirement.
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