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Research Associate, Fermentation



San Leandro, CA, USA
Posted on Monday, June 3, 2024
About Us
Dandelion Chocolate is a bean-to-bar chocolate company based in San Francisco’s Mission District. We make chocolate from only two ingredients, cocoa beans and cane sugar, and travel to origins as often as we can to build good, trusting relationships with the producers who grow and ferment our beans. Most Dandelion guests are new to bean-to-bar chocolate so our hands-on retail experiences are key to education, establishing continued supply chain transparency, and developing appreciation for well-sourced, fine-crafted cacao products sourced with trust and long-term partnership in mind. We now seek an experienced, empathetic, and financially-savvy Senior Manager of Retail Operations to oversee our west coast café and retail operations (San Francisco and Las Vegas.)

A Day in the Life
Your morning begins with analyzing the prior day’s sales and labor reports, noting that guests bought surprisingly few 3-Bar Tasting Sets last week, perhaps a merchandising or stock issue? You send a weekly report to your café leadership team summarizing progress to your goals, highlighting the recent strong store audit rating from Ferry Building, and checking that each location increased staffing ahead of the upcoming three-day holiday weekend. During the afternoon, you visit the Valencia cafe with its General Manager, walking through the café, complimenting their hospitable and engaging guest welcome communication, organized inventory, completed daily checklists, and clean tables with tidied, well-merchandised shelves. You take a moment to wish a café team member happy birthday and taste a new barista’s mocha. After some investigation, you find the answer to your morning mystery: a new Assistant Manager has been hesitant to display 3-bar Tasting Gift Sets until a new shelf sign arrives to replace the former dog-eared and sunbleached version. You help the new Assistant Manager place an expedited sign request from the Creative department and ask the GM to update the café leadership handbook with clearer instructions. You double-check your numbers, key points, and reach out to a few other senior leaders to double-check your assumptions before heading home, ready for tomorrow, and another store visit.

About You
You have been-there-done-that retail operations experience and the EQ that knows how much of this role comes down to having exceptional people practices from training, scheduling, to performance management with leveling that crosses all locations. You are equally comfortable analyzing data to developing a retail expansion strategy, visiting each location to inspect stock closets, preparing robust spreadsheet reports for BOD meetings, sitting in on kitchen menu tastings to offer an opinion on the best brownie experience, and developing support teams (e.g. merchandising, facilities, training) to ensure that all of our locations operate at their best. You have experience developing long-term retail plans informed by empathy for what it is like to work in a café on the busiest and most stressful December weekend day. Ideally you have previously worked in a significant retail leadership role for multiple years that prioritized warm hospitality, an appreciation for the craft food movement, and a high standard for retail and F&B service.

  • Operations and procedures – Reinforce and build on the brand’s DNA and focus on delivering exceptional chocolate experiences and hospitality to our guests every day. Refine and apply systems, processes, and support (training, merchandising support, etc.) that will scale to the upcoming 3-5 years of the business, ensuring that each café is operating at its best, even when management is not present. Signs, cups, cookie sleeves, and toilet paper are supplied and in good condition. When there’s a facility issue, it is handled promptly to avoid downtime and to keep locations at their best. Ensure our training and quality checking programs deliver consistent hot chocolate temperatures, whipped cream topping heights, and presentation. Constantly improve playbooks and guidelines for merchandising that can be adapted for each location’s specific needs.
  • Support General Managers - This is a hands-on role: be in stores regularly to ensure excellent standards. Whether a guest walks into our Vegas café or our Ferry Building shop, your behind-the-scenes work ensures that they will receive a warm welcome, accurate information about each chocolate origin, and the same perfectly-made hot chocolate.
  • Strategy & planning – Be the go-to leader to answer questions about Dandelion’s retail strategy, forecasting and analysis, and quarterly OKR objectives. Partner with CRO and CEO to develop retail expansion plans that are consistent with Dandelion’s values and mission.
  • Financial analysis – Track and hit revenue goals, labor percent objectives and contribution targets, while maintaining positive reviews, customer service, and happy team members. Help store leads internalize and interpret financial plans so the team can adjust quickly to changing traffic. Review and present to executives below-the-line results monthly to understand the broader context for store and channel performance.
  • Guest happiness – Ensure that Dandelion is well-regarded for its hospitality; guests feel welcomed into the story of craft chocolate and consistently recommend our experiences to others. Develop retail and café experiences that cater to each location’s unique visitors and needs. Track and report on Yelp and Google reviews, ensuring total ratings continue to meet our lofty standards and constructive feedback is responded to in a timely manner.
  • Team management and health – Partner with HR to track retention and use our Leveling program to reinforce advancement paths and plans for retail staff. Foster a sense of unity and cohesion between store teams and corporate. Your weekly reports to the leadership team keep everyone updated on current trends, forecasts, and any potential bumps in the road. You meet regularly with each café manager to stay informed about the inner workings of their teams.
  • Vendor relationships – Maintain excellent relationships with our vendors including external facilities, janitorial services, pest, and night security. Many of our external partners have worked with us for years and we’ve depended upon their goodwill to help us out of urgent situations.
  • Other tasks as necessary

  • Management – You have experience overseeing multiple functional teams (e.g. training, merchandising, café, etc) with a significant staff across multiple locations, and retail revenue of at least $5M annually. You have experience building reports for the exec and finance teams to aid with future forecasting.
  • Tech Skills – You have no problem learning new systems, can easily understand sales data in Square, Shopify, and track items in inventory systems. You’re very familiar with Google Suite and complex spreadsheet formulas.
  • Financial Acumen – While you don’t have to have a degree in Accounting, you can work seamlessly with the exec team and our finance team to create accurate revenue forecasts and labor plans that adjust to the seasonal nature of our business.
  • Soft Skills – Our culture is a positive, can-do, servant-oriented culture that takes active listening to an entirely new level. You can eloquently distill and communicate complex topics broadly to the exec team, individual team members, and everyone in-between. Your bias is toward action and decisiveness, but you understand the importance of broad-based collaboration across functional teams.
The benefits and perks continue beyond a robust chocolate education. Dandelion Chocolate invests in our people and culture. All team members receive medical, vision, and dental benefits as well as the option to enroll in our 401k program, paid vacation time, holiday pay, and paid sick time. In addition, our team members enjoy commuter benefits, FSAs, local gym discounts, chocolate tasting opportunities, the chance to travel to origin and our Japan locations, and a range of opportunities to grow and develop within the company. This is a salaried, exempt position with a range of $90k-$125k depending on experience level.

How to Apply
If you are interested in applying, please email your resume and a cover letter to jobs@dandelionchocolate.com. In your cover letter, please include a couple of sentences about the best team you’ve worked with and why it worked so well.