Cook Culture. A name that speaks volumes about what you’ll find when you visit any of their four locations in British Columbia. Jed Grieve has truly built a business around the culture of cooking and that’s how the brand has made a name for itself.
When he was young, Jed Grieve’s family owned a cooking equipment retail store where he quickly learned that to truly make an impression, you needed to give people more than a place to buy their goods. “We started doing cooking demonstrations and creating excitement around having chefs showing people how to make food. We didn’t have good facilities, but had chefs coming into our store and making food on a hot plate. People were loving it.” Fast forward to 2017, and you’ll find Jed running a four store operation in BC with an advanced cooking station at two of his locations. Cook Culture teaches over 12 000 people a year how to cook, while selling the same wares that visitors use in their cooking classes.
Speaking to Jed, you understand how passionate he is about his industry, the food culture and the future of retail. He expects this same passion from his employees, whether in a management role or on the sales floor interacting with customers every day.
“It’s an environment where food, food trends and what’s happening in the industry, is a conversation that goes on all the time. The culture of food is engrained into our business.”
This passion for cooking and food culture is Jed’s secret weapon and how his business stands out from the competition; his staff stays focused on trends and the latest insights, all while teaching and creating a learning environment.
Cook Culture is not only competitive in what’s become a saturated retail market, but also against the big box stores.
“Our biggest challenge is to stay relevant. That’s something we work at constantly. We enjoy teaching and being educators, but it really comes down to customers having had an experience that they want to return to. We create an environment for them where they can come, get the knowledge and the gear that they need in one place. You just can’t get that at Amazon or at the Bay.”
Cook Culture has grown to take over the market in western Canada and now boasts a massive following. They attribute this to their loyalty program created with Montreal’s Thirdshelf, and a newsletter of over 20 000 subscribers. Jed places great emphasis on the importance of growing this database of subscribers and relies on it to entice new customers to return for a second visit. “We can’t get people back into the store if we don’t have a way of communicating with them. Our salespeople have to do everything in their power to get people into the database with the right information.”
This customer database is an integral part of Jed’s plan to keep taking over their retail space with online cooking classes and a continued focus on innovation with the help of Lightspeed’s newest POS add-on, Lightspeed Analytics.