Domino's, Kroger and more: Food retailers hiring amid coronavirus pandemic

The restaurant industry is struggling, but grocery stores and delivery services need more workers during the ongoing health crisis.
Domino's and other companies are hiring thousands of new workers to meet the rising demand of takeout and other food services.
Domino's and other companies are hiring thousands of new workers to meet the rising demand of takeout and other food services. Bloomberg via Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY
By Erica Chayes Wida

While many food service workers are facing major industry disruptions, several companies responsible for getting produce and meals to people across the country are ramping up operations.

In order to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, thousands of dine-in restaurants have temporarily shuttered, leaving many out of work.

However, since it is still considered safe to continue ordering takeout and shop at the grocery store, food purveyors in these markets are recruiting new workers to meet the rapidly increasing demand.

Some of these businesses will even prioritize hiring those who have been recently laid off.

"There will be millions of people that are displaced and tens of thousands are dropping daily now. The delivery companies are just overwhelmed," Aaron Allen, founder of the restaurant consultancy Aaron Allen & Associates, told TODAY Food. "My experience the last few days has been unbelievable. Uber Eats has the bulk of restaurants sold out and the bulk of menus out. Just as grocery stores are emptying out in many places, food delivery and restaurants are, too."

Allen, who is currently sheltered-in-place in Chicago, told TODAY that he relies heavily on delivery services for both prepared meals and groceries, so he's experienced firsthand how the increased demand affects both restaurants and grocers. On Instacart, adding just one additional item to his list on Sunday pushed his delivery window from two hours to three days.

According to an Instacart spokesperson, the company has already seen an 150% increase in the amount of orders placed on its platform since many states and cities instructed residents to stay home. The company is quickly working to hire new personal shoppers, particularly in high-demand areas.

While many delivery jobs are not as lucrative as traditional serving posts (especially at higher end restaurants), adding more people to the labor force is definitely a good thing, according to Allen.

"It's going to help," Allen told TODAY. "As a short-term (solution), it's a good way to put workers to work."

Here are some of the big chains and delivery services looking to hire thousands of workers.

Food delivery services

Domino's

This pizza chain says it has seen a major increase in sales since delivery and takeout began replacing dine-in service. As a result, the company plans to hire an additional 10,000 employees, both full- and part-time.

"The positions could be anything from delivery driver, to pizza maker to assistant manager. Every store is going to have its own unique needs,” a Domino's spokesperson said in a statement.

DoorDash

This third-party delivery company announced a new "priority access system" to help individuals who have been laid off or affected by recent restaurant closures. According to a company spokesperson, DoorDash is partnering with many restaurants to ensure their employees (both those who have been permanently laid off or even temporarily out of work) receive early access to become a Dasher.

How does it work? Each restaurant partner will be able to provide workers with a specific URL code that they can use to access DoorDash's hiring system. Dashers must be at least 18 years or older, possess a valid driver's license and consent to a background check.

Instacart

According to a company spokesperson, Instacart will onboard 300,000 additional shoppers over the next three months. The new hires will start nationwide, wherever Instacart is available. California, New York, Texas, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey, Georgia and Ohio currently have higher demand, so there will be more opportunities available in those states.

Little Ceasars

The formerly carryout-only chain began delivering its food in January and announced it will begin hiring more employees, particularly for delivery, to meet demand.

“We are glad that our service is one that the community deeply appreciates during these times, and we are happy to continue offering employment to those who wish to work,” Rick Muse, senior vice president of field operations, told Food & Wine.

Papa John's

The nationwide pizza chain will hire 20,000 people in the wake of the pandemic. The company announced most applicants will be able to interview, get hired and begin working within the same day at most locations. Interested individuals may visit the company careers site or text JOBS to 47272.

Pizza Hut

Pizza hut will be filling 30,000 new positions, including delivery drivers, cooks, shift leaders, restaurant managers and call center agents. The company implemented a training process that will get new drivers safely on the road three times faster than its typical process. Although the new hires will be helping to meet the surging demand during the COVID-19 crisis, all positions will be permanent.

Grocery stores and supermarkets

Albertsons

The parent company for grocers including Albertsons, Randalls, Safeway and United Supermarkets, announced it will hire 30,000 new employees with a focus on those who have been furloughed or had their working hours cut. To do so, Albertsons partnered with 17 other major businesses in the hospitality, food and beverage industries, including BJ's Restaurants, Hilton, Marriott International, MGM Resorts and Regal Cinemas.

Dollar General

This dollar store is hiring nearly 70,000 new positions and has openings in almost every state. For a list of where to apply, including remote jobs, visit the store's careers site.

Kroger

Kroger, which operates almost 20 grocery store brands around the country, has already hired 2,000 additional employees to meet rising demand surrounding the coronavirus crisis and plans to hire 10,000 more, USA Today reported.

Sprouts

This Texas-based market with 340 stores nationwide is looking to fill more than 2,000 roles immediately at many of its supermarket locations, support office and distribution centers. Interested individuals can apply online or text "careers" to (480) 800-8066.

Walmart

Starting now through the end of May, Walmart says it will hire 150,000 new employees nationwide and, additionally, will give out $550 million in bonuses to current associates. Many of the jobs are temporary, but some have the potential to become permanent roles.

Other companies

7-Eleven

The nationwide convenience store chain will be onboarding 20,000 new employees to help meet the rising demand from shoppers.

"This will provide job opportunities and ensure 7‑Eleven stores remain clean and in-stock with the goods our customers need during this critical time," the company's president and CEO, Joe DePinto, said in a statement.

Amazon

The online retailer plans to hire 100,000 workers to ensure delivery needs are met around the country. The company also says it will be raising its minimum wage to $17 per hour.

CVS

This nationwide pharmacy will hire 50,000 full- and part-time employees and award current employees with bonuses ranging from $150 to $500 for continuing to work during the ongoing health crisis. CVS welcomes applications on its website.

PepsiCo Inc.

To meet the rising demand for many of its shelf-stable products, PepsiCo Inc., which owns many food and beverage brands like Lays, Quaker Oats and Tropicana, announced it will hire 6,000 full-time employees with full benefits to "make, move and sell product."

“At this unprecedented time, which is having a profound impact on all of us, we are so grateful to our frontline employees for all they are doing to ensure our products are available for families across the country,” Kirk Tanner, CEO of PepsiCo Beverages North America, said in a statement.

The company is also raising the pay of nearly 90,000 workers in weekly increments of at least $100 over the next month, and says employees who are forced to quarantine and miss work during the pandemic will be paid for up to 14-days.