Dandelion Chocolate Website
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.
About the Role
This role is particularly key as it will be responsible for hiring the team and instituting the processes, structure, and training that will rebuild our cafe operations post-pandemic. Due to COVID, our thriving retail business had to hunker down to get through a tough time. This position will be the guiding force in not only reopening our locations, but pushing for excellence and reimagining exquisite experiences for our guests. This means working with the kitchen as they rethink and relaunch our menu, rebuilding merchandising playbooks, training (and creating a training program for) a whole new staff – so this is not just about getting “back to normal” but pushing us way beyond where we were before. We’re looking for a visionary leader to make our retail operations, once again, a key pillar in our long term success and to guide our expansion strategy to future locations.
A Day in the Life
Your Monday morning begins with analyzing last week’s inventory and staffing reports, noting that guests bought surprisingly few Tasting Gift Sets last week, perhaps a merchandising or stocking issue? You send a weekly report to your café leadership summarizing progress to your goals, listing new products being released in the upcoming weeks, and checking that each location increased staffing ahead of the upcoming three-day holiday weekend. During the afternoon, you visit with each of your GMs, walking through each café, complimenting their working light bulbs, organized back closet inventory, completed daily checklists, and clean tables with tidied merchandising shelves. You take a moment to join in singing a café team member happy birthday and tasting a barista’s latest experimental triple-origin, five-spice chai drink. 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 make a note to ask your training leader to update the café leadership handbook with clearer instructions. Now that the 2021 season is almost to a close, you turn your attention to the upcoming years. Tomorrow you will present a 3-5 year plan and budget to the exec team sharing your vision for the future of bean-to-bar cafés and educational experiences. 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.
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. Your been-there-done-that experience to develop long-term retail plans with the empathy for what it is like to work a café on the busiest and most stressful December weekend day. Ideally you have previously worked in a significant café leadership role for multiple years that prioritized warm hospitality, an appreciation for the craft food movement, and a high standard for food and beverage service.
- Rebuild retail operations – During the pandemic, oversee a lean operation and tricky tradeoffs. Post-pandemic: rebuild our retail operations including hiring new managers, building out training and leveling programs, and world-class customer support to immediately restart our operations as soon as we are able to do safely.
- Strategy & planning – Be the go-to leader to answer questions about Dandelion’s retail strategy, forecasting and analysis, and quarterly OKR objectives. Develop retail expansion plans that are consistent with Dandelion’s values and mission. Develop and oversee a 3-5 year plan that is consistent with Dandelion’s values and strategy.
- Financial analysis – Track and hit revenue goals and contribution targets, while maintaining positive reviews, customer service, and happy team members. Help build revenue targets and scenarios, labor forecasts, and capex/opex plans so the team can adjust quickly to changing traffic and holidays. Regularly review café menu pricing as necessary.
- 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.
- Operations and procedures – Develop 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. Develop and roll out effective and comprehensive training programs so that our hot chocolates have consistent temperatures, whipped cream topping heights, and presentation. Create playbooks and guidelines for merchandising that can be adapted for each location’s specific needs. This is a hands-on role: regularly visit and check in on your assigned locations 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.
- Team management and health – Keep a keen eye on retention, being available for first-line managers, fostering a sense of belonging within cafes. Have clear advancement paths and plans for retail staff. 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 (e.g. 100 or more individuals) across multiple locations, and retail revenue between $5-$10M annually. You have experience building reports for C-level 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 C-level staff and our finance team to create accurate revenue forecasts and labor plans that adjust to the seasonal nature of our business.
- Soft Skills – It’s unlikely you’ve ever worked in a culture as collaborative and thoughtful as Dandelion Chocolate. 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.
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.
Cover letter Required
Other Application Requirements
In your cover letter, please include a couple of sentences about the best team you’ve worked with and why it worked so well. In accordance with the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, we will consider qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records for employment.