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Gelson's Markets' Abe van Beek Discusses Evolution of the Gelson's Kitchen

Gelson's Markets' Abe van Beek Discusses Evolution of the Gelson's Kitchen



ENCINO, CA - Retail success resides within the experiential. This is something I have learned to be true from speaking with several different retail chains over the years on their strategies for differentiation. Gelson’s Markets is one grocer intent on delivering a unique experience to every shopper, and one area of the store that certainly captures attention is the Gelson’s Kitchen.

Abe van Beek, Corporate Executive Chef, Gelson’s Markets“Part of the transition we have undergone over the past several years is moving away from the term ‘service deli’ to create more of a food hall experience where shoppers have access to almost anything they desire,” Abe van Beek, Corporate Executive Chef, tells me. “From a brand perspective, we are creating an atmosphere that elevates what we do and elevates the experience we can provide to our customers.”

Within the Gelson’s Kitchen, the retailer offers several sub-departments, such as build-your-own and prepared signature sandwiches, a gourmet case that serves as a meal prep station with fully cooked proteins and sides, a carving cart station with freshly roasted meats, soup and salad bars, as well as wine and tap bars—and that is just a brief rundown of the department. The Gelson’s Kitchen is a carefully curated collection of international cuisines, flavor profiles, textures, and seasonal items.

Elevating its in-store shopping experience, Gelson's Markets has introduced a food hall experience where shoppers have access to almost anything they desire

“It has resonated very well with our customers, and I think the changes we’ve made to the menu really help us present differently than anywhere else,” Abe continues. “We are engineering the menu to provide this tremendous variety of product and cultural cuisines, utilizing ingredients in multiple locations so that we don’t incur unnecessary shrink. As we grow into a larger brand, we really want to hone in on standardization and consistency of our execution and our product.”

Another aspect of the Gelson’s Kitchen’s evolution lies in the advancement of technology. Abe looks to further support the retailer’s kitchen staff through advancements such as combitherm technology ovens that allow chefs to prepare multiple different items within one oven space. After all, as Abe tells me, the chefs behind each plate are what set the Gelson’s Kitchen apart.

Through the Gelson's Kitchen, the retailer offers several sub-departments, such as build-your-own and prepared signature sandwiches, a gourmet case that serves as a meal prep station with fully cooked proteins and sides, a carving cart station with freshly roasted meats, soup and salad bars, as well as wine and tap bars

“The privilege and luxury we have at Gelson’s is a very dedicated team. Our kitchens are home to folks who have been with the brand for decades. They really care about their job, about their customers, about the communities they work in, and they care about their food. I think it really shines,” Abe says. “Happy cooks make better food, right?”

With high-quality ingredients and a passionate team at the forefront of the Gelson’s Kitchen, I ask Abe how the retailer keeps its offerings fresh and relevant in the eyes of consumers.

The Gelson's Kitchen features a carefully curated collection of international cuisines, flavor profiles, textures, and seasonal items

“We’re fortunate to be in Southern California in a densely populated restaurant world, so there is inspiration everywhere” he responds. “I also think there’s a benefit to creating the recipes from within by collaborating with our team members. If we find something that works, then I like to put their name on it because it becomes an incentive and is something they’re proud of.”

Looking toward the future, the Gelson’s Kitchen is taking what it has learned throughout the past two years to continue evolving its offerings to meet the needs of consumers.

Taking advantage of the rise in popularity of prepared and prepackaged foods, Gelson's Markets is looking to continue evolving its food hall concept

“COVID really changed not only the way we operated, but also the way people shopped. We saw a big lift in prepared, prepackaged foods, and that hasn’t really shifted away. So, we hope to continue to expand those offerings and our merchandising space for those offerings,” Abe concludes.

So, if you have the chance and find yourself in the Southern California region, you may want to take a stroll through the Gelson’s Kitchen. The experience will be well worth it.

Gelson’s Markets