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DeliOps 101 Seminar

The essential aspects of foodservice operations excellence in a dynamic 3-day seminar

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Thought For Food Consulting Presents

Grass Valley, California

Sept. 24-26, 2024

Hosted by


Who’s This Seminar For?

Co-op and Independent

Natural Foods Grocers!

Owners, General Managers

and Store Managers

who want to

  • Better lead, develop and support their foodservice leaders and their unique operation.

  • Demystify the financial workings and develop greater  clarity about operating your store’s most complicated sales department.​​

Foodservice & Kitchen Leaders

who want to

  • Develop new ideas and overcome barriers for growing sales and margin.


  • Master critical systems to plan, track and analyze your operation’s production, sales, margin and labor.

  • Create visually delicious merchandising displays.

  • Network with other talented prepared foods leaders.

  • Return inspired with fresh eyes, renewed spirit, and coherent plans for achieving your operation’s potential.

Registration Includes

2 Store Tours

You'll gain ideas and insights with two exclusive behind-the-scenes kitchen tours at BriarPatch Food Co-op's best-in-class operations.

Organic Lunches

You'll enjoy exquisitely delicious, all-organic catering from our host store, BriarPatch Food Co-op.

Workbook &
Digital Documents

Your workbook is packed with key systems, forms and documents, and a year of access to download more than 50 digital docs.

Lodging at
Seminar Hotel

You'll wake up where you need to be, enjoying 4 nights of stylish comfort and hot breakfast at Gold Miner's Inn.

Snacks Galore

We enjoy being event hosts! Whether you're craving something salty, sweet, or healthy -- you'll never be hungry!

3 Phone

We'll use your data and a pre-seminar consultation to share personalized  feedback during the seminar, and in two calls thereafter.

Beer & Wine

Network and relax with colleagues each evening with nibbles and cheer with local brews and wines.

Co-op Networking

We are truly better together and you'll benefit from being hosted and surrounded by other interesting and talented prepared foods pros.


Daily Agenda

Day 1
Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2024

9:00 • Welcome

We’ll start with introductions and an inspiring overview to help you imagine a fuller vision of your operation’s potential.

9:45 • Fresh Ideas & Trends

We'll look at what's trending to inspire your product development plans and infuse your program menus with some fresh flair. 

10:35 • Developing Successful New Products

You'll learn our 20-step process from which you'll be clear and confident of quickly developing successful new high-margin products. 

11:30 • Lunch 

Catered from BriarPatch Co-op. 

12:30 • Staffing: Doing More with Less Labor

We'll help you analyze your own department’s program sales and labor data to optimally structure and organize responsibilities for your operation's best success.

2:30 • Making Grab & Go, GO!

Explode your sales with a full exploration of this critical and versatile program. We’ll dig deep into the nuts, bolts and nuances – from plan-o-grams, to portioning, packaging and pricing. You'll leave with ideas and plans for upgrading your G&G program. 

4:00 • Beautiful Boxed Salads

There's never been a better time to expand your selection of healthy, delicious portion-controlled boxed salads. We'll share a process, documents and specific ideas for revolutionizing your selections and sales in this high-margin product category. 

5:00 • Evening Beer & Wine Reception/Break

Relax with colleagues at Gold Miner's Inn's evening reception. Or, take some time to get outside or on your own before dinner and the store tour.

6:30 • Dinner & Store Tour (Grass Valley Store)

Enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour through the bustling prepared foods operation at BriarPatch Co-op. Each of their best-in-class stores produce all-homemade and nearly all-organic products, through an array of busy service and abundant self-service prepared foods programs.


We take 15-minute breaks between most segments, one each morning and two each afternoon, to facilitate your absorption of the content and allow time for personal needs.

Updated: 5/27/24

Day 2
Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2024

9:00 • Store Tour Q&A + SWOT Analysis

We'll share insights and use a classic tool to develop an analysis of their prepared foods operation, and make time for you to practice it on your own.

10:00 • Foodservice Financials 

Working through a prepared foods case study we’ll deepen your financial skills and give you tools to better teach your team about sales, margin and labor. We make this interesting for leaders of all financial skill levels and no one leaves this segment without better understanding and enjoying numbers.

11:30 • Recipe Costing  

As food costs continue to climb you need an efficient way to make sure your products are priced to generate appropriate margins. We'll work through the basics of costing a recipe, share pro tips to ensure you're working with clean data, conversions and shrinks, precise inventory counts, and all the bells and whistles to make the most of a fully functioning recipe costing system.

12:30 • Lunch 

Catered from BriarPatch Co-op.

1:30 • Margin Pricing  

We'll share pricing and margin strategies and pro tips for maximizing sales and gross margin dollars. Then, we'll advance your costing and margin pricing skills by completing yesterday's creative boxed salad program and recipe development work. 

3:00 • Snappy Sandwiches 

Sandwiches are a great program to highlight your signature flavors and bring people in the door. We will provide strategies and pro tips for developing delectable menus. And, host a hands-on, small group product development game that will leave you inspired and confident of bringing your new ideas to fruition.

4:00 • Huddle Up!

We’ll focus on daily huddles and weekly leadership team meetings as the most efficient and effective communication tools you can implement to raise the bar and create an environment of growth, opportunity, and excellence. We'll share guidelines, documents and pro tips for making the most of these critical info-sharing and spirit-raising opportunities. 

5:45 • Evening Beer & Wine Reception/Break

6:30 • Adjournment

Dinner is on your own and the evening is yours to explore the area or enjoy some down time.  The Grass Valley and Nevada City area offers some fantastic fare and we'll share a list our favorite nearby restaurants. 

Day 3
Thursday, Sept. 26, 2024

9:00 • Essential Systems for Production Planning & Analysis

We'll share our simple, scalable and highly effective process for optimizing your production planning – to master the art of maximizing sales, minimizing labor and waste, and all while never running out of your top-sellers. It's math more than art and you'll be amazed at how easily our system can work for you. 

10:30 • Making the Most of Movement Reports

Learn how to organize, analyze and act on your department's sales and margin data to ensure you achieve your production and margin goals.

11:00 • This & That, Etc.: Signage, Manuals, Forms & More!  

A menagerie of documents and pro tips for upgrading your service mojo, creating merchandising magic, and systems for running a best-in-class operation. We'll give you a sneak peek into everything you’ll find in our DeliOps Document Library.

11:30 • Lunch 

Catered from BriarPatch Co-op.

12:45 • Reimagining Hot Foods  

Hot food programs are back and thriving, despite the pandemic and rising food costs.  We'll share everything you need to know to create delicious hot bar, soup and chicken programs that achieve healthy margins. You’ll leave with a hot bar plan to inspire change in your program.​

2:30 • 50 Ways to Grow Sales by $50 a Day  

Growth is the elixir! We'll share easy ideas for incrementally growing and improving any prepared foods operation. 


3:45 • Plans For Change 

Put everything you’ve learned into a plan for action! We’ll provide breakthrough strategies to help you identify priorities -- from which you’ll develop an agenda, timeline, and plans for making the most of your seminar experience.

4:45 • Endings & Evaluations 

5:15 • Evening Beer & Wine Reception/Break

6:30 • Dinner & Store Tour (Auburn Store)

Enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour through the bustling prepared foods operation at BriarPatch Co-op. Each of their best-in-class stores produce all-homemade and nearly all-organic products, through an array of busy service and abundant self-service prepared foods programs.

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Allen provides prepared foods design and consulting services exclusively for organic and natural foods retailers. Since 1993 he's worked for scores of co-ops and independents, and led high-performing teams at Good Earth Natural Foods, Whole Foods Market and Wild Oats Market.

Michelle O'Connor Headshot.jpg

Michelle is an organic farmer and chef, customer service expert and deli operations maven. She managed the exploding growth of a fantastic co-op deli for a decade and now shares the wisdom of her experience with consulting clients.



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Deena Ramberg, Moscow, IMG_2310.jpeg

I've learned more about running a co-op deli in 3 days than I did in my 3 years behind the counter. Co-ops are a completely different animal and this seminar really brought home how to manage the unique kitchen and service side of these small businesses. 

Deena Ramberg, Deli Manager

Moscow Food Co-op, Moscow, ID

Chris Cliff, Moscow, IMG_2381.jpeg

Nice to see some new ideas and ways to look at everyday issues to help us continue to grow. Allen and Michelle both have an enormous amount of experience and expertise to help all of us to elevate our department.

Chris Cliff, Prepared Foods Manager

Moscow Food Co-op, Moscow, ID

Robert Deutsch, Lakewinds IMG_2303.jpeg

DeliOps 101 showed my organization's faith in us by sending our team of managers and allowing us to collectively brainstorm, problem solve, and teambuild. I'm a return attendee but there was a lot of tweaked, updated or new content. I think we've got a bucketful of action items for our near future.

Robert Deutsch, Deli Manager

Lakewinds Food Co-op, Minnetonka, MNA

Erin Evans, Pilgrims, IMG_2469.jpeg

This seminar is great! 10/10! Super well organized. I will be revsiting this workbook many times. I was pleasantly surprised at how much bakery content was covered. 

Erin Evans, Baker

Pilgrim's Market, Coeur d’Alene, ID

Ryan Black, Pilgrims, IMG_2467.jpeg

Lots of great content, tips, tricks. And provided me with renewed enthusiasm to bring back to our deli operation. Allen and Michelle know what they're talking about and deliver the information in a fun interactive way.

Ryan Black, Service Deli Manager

Pilgrim's Market, Coeur d’Alene, ID

Geoffrey Power, Community Market, IMG_2320.jpeg

Great content and well delivered. I came away with a much deeper working understanding of my job. I feel inspired and see a clear path to achievable success. Even if you're a pro who's been doing this for years you'll take something you can apply in your department. I have been to quite a few seminars in the natural foods industry and this was one of the more fun, interesting and useful I have attended.

Geoffrey Power, Culinary Director

Community Market, Sebastopol, CA

Recent Testimonias

Registration Fee

Regular Registration
per person

Plus $800
per single or double lodging room for 4 nights

Change & Cancellation Policy


You may substitute a participant 

at no charge until 9/24/24.



For cancellations, a 95% refund will be provided for notice by 7/12/24; a 50% refund for notice by 8/22/24.


No refund (substitutions only) on or after 8/23/24.


Please send any notice or questions about your registration issue to the event host at

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Quick Links

(415) 497-7861  •

©2024, Thought For Food Consulting

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