In mid-2011 Walmart decided the meat division of their retail grocery business needed to be better. They made two important decisions.
One decision was to improve the quality of the beef in the stores. They decided to do away with additives and preservatives, and promote their new policy by offering a money-back guarantee and free samples.
They had a mobile food concession stand designed and built to travel the country. At a different Walmart six days of every week, rib-eye steaks would go on the grill, and juicy samples would be given to the public.
The stand was, their second-best decision.
The really smart decision they made was to hire Dennis and Donna Killian to be their chef/evangelists. Two years ago Dennis and Donna left Othello, WA, retired from their popcorn business (www.killiankorn.com)–which continues to support many family members—to work as missionaries at a temple in Illinois. Then they were recruited by Walmart.
These folks are a couple of years shy of 80 and have a work ethic I haven’t seen since I moved from my father’s house. Also similar is their vitality, vivacity, and charm. They believe if you stop working, you shrivel and die.
They have twelve children, six girls and six boys, and they still count the one they lost in childbirth over fifty years ago. They have fifty grandchildren.
Their Walmart gig started at Bentonville, Arkansas (https://allevenson.wordpress.com/places/bentonville-arkansas-home-of-the-first-walmart/) in October. They are scheduled to be in Florida until the end of March, when they will curve around the panhandle toward Texas. They’ll be at it a year, after which Walmart will review the program.
Every day Dennis cooks about 150 rib-eye steaks on the grill.
With barbecue fork in one hand and meat thermometer in the other, he cooks them rare, medium, and well done and passes them in to Donna who cubes them and sets them out for people to sample. After she’s taken care of the crowd, she looks toward people walking by and invites them to her window
As the son of a butcher, I grew up eating the leftovers from the store. By the time I left for college I consumed a lifetime supply of superb meat. I mention this only for credibility of the next statement.
I give Walmart an A for the steaks, Dennis an A for the grilling, and Donna an A for charm and marketing.
If you order popcorn on line, tell them AL sent you.