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Yves Brunner in front of ‘his’ Migros store in Affoltern am Albis

A store manager’s everyday life

“I often feel like a football coach”

Yves Brunner manages the Migros supermarket in Affoltern am Albis. He gives us an insight into leading an 80-strong team and tells us what his typical working day involves.

From
Michael West
Date
Format
Story

7 a.m.

Today is Friday – the longest day of my working week. I arrive at my supermarket an hour before it opens. All the LED ceiling lights are dimmed, and it’s still quite dark in the 2,000 m² store. But it’s already a hive of activity – trucks are pulling up at the loading ramps, delivering fresh fruit and vegetables, milk, yoghurt, and butter. My logistics team receive the delivery.

Yves Brunner helps to bring goods from the truck into the store.

I help them to bring the pallets loaded with goods into the store by forklift truck. As store manager, you can’t just give orders, you have to get stuck in yourself, too. Trucks continually arrive throughout the day, bringing more food deliveries, such as cakes and pastries. The only thing we bake at the store ourselves is the bread – or at least most of it.

7.35 a.m.

The first two cashiers get ready to start work. They take cash trays from the vault and insert them into their checkouts. As the morning goes on, more and more customers will arrive at the supermarket. That’s why five of the six checkouts are staffed by 9.30 a.m. at the latest.

8 a.m.

Now we turn on the ceiling lights fully and also illuminate the Migros sign above the entrance. We’re ready for our first customers. Retired people often do their shopping at this time of day. I greet an elderly regular and chat to her about a recipe she’s tried at home – a horseradish marinade.

9.43 a.m.

I stop briefly at a table where we’re presenting Tex-Mex specialities – nachos, spicy sauces, tortillas and grated cheese mixes with cheddar. I arrange the products in a way that I prefer. Presenting our food in an appealing way is something that really matters to me. For example, all labels should face the customer.

Store manager Yves Brunner arranges the products to make them look better.

11.06 a.m.

I use a mobile device to place an order for a regular customer –she needs six kilos of celery. This lady leads a yoga group and makes healthy vegetable smoothies for the members. However, I don’t place most of the orders myself – that’s done by an automatic system linked to the checkouts. It even takes the weather into account and orders more ice cream, for example, if it’s going to be hot the next day.

Yves Brunner places an order on a mobile device.

12 noon

I eat lunch with a few colleagues in the canteen. Our checkout manager, Tamim Omar, has made Thai yellow curry for us all. He’s a great cook – his spicy dishes are simply irresistible.

2.27 p.m.

I have a quick chat with Lea Länzlinger, my Head of Food. We discuss what to present on our new product table next week. When I give instructions to my team, I often feel like a football coach. I tell them what to do, but they have to work independently, be given some leeway and be able to develop. To a large extent, the employees run the store. Or, to put it another way, they score the goals.

Yves Brunner talks to one of his staff.

6 p.m.

Katja Bächtold, who is responsible for baked goods, uses a small device to print out orange discount price tags. She attaches them to goods we can no longer sell the next day – such as Black Forest gateau, princess cakes and pots of vermicelli. Employees in other sections also start marking up food that is now discounted. This prevents good food from ending up in the waste. That’s also why we fill bags with perishable goods – such as sandwiches, ready-made salads, bananas or grapes – for the Too Good To Go organisation. They can be purchased from customer service at a knockdown price – just before closing time.

Katja Bächtold attaches a discount price tag to a Black Forest gateau.

8 p.m.

We wish our last customers of the day a nice evening, and the supermarket closes its doors. This is still a very busy time – my staff are cleaning the display cases at the meat and fish counters, as well as the checkouts and the conveyor belts. The cash trays are returned to the vault. A professional cleaning team takes care of the floors. The store needs to look like new again the next morning.

8.15 p.m.

I drive home to my wife and young daughter. We live in the Lucerne village of Greppen on Lake Lucerne. On the way, I reflect on my day – especially the many encounters with all sorts of different people. They make my job incredibly exciting and varied.

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