Cheese Department Specialist

Apply for this Position

Application Form     (* indicates required field)

Please attach the following files

Please upload either a word or PDF version of your cover letter for this position.
Please upload either a word or PDF version of your current resume.
Such as letters of recommendation, work examples, etc.

Please answer the following questions to help us better evaluate your application.

  1. You will receive an email confirmation after we have received your application.

To finalize your application, please confirm you are not a bot

You will receive confirmation after we have received your application.


This is a provisional position intended to develop the necessary skills needed in order to be promoted into the role of Cheese Buyer. This position will have an extended trial period of 4 months, with the option for a 2-month extension, in order to gain buying, receiving, merchandising, and production skills necessary for a cheese buyer.



  • Follow the Core Values as defined by EEFC's Core Value statement.
  • Provide exemplary customer service to both customers and staff.
  • Professional appearance and behavior.
  • Accurately communicate what the Co-op is and the process for becoming a member.
  • Familiarity with store layout, products, and services.
  • Familiarity and understanding of emergency procedures.
  • Stay up to date with current storewide and departmental communications, policies, notices, and logs.
  • Abide by Co-op policies as delineated in the Employee Handbook.
  • Willingness and ability to learn to meet the changing needs and requirements of the job.

 Departmental  Purchasing

  • Learn to place orders by appropriate deadlines.
  • Optimize stock levels to minimize out-of-stocks while maintaining strong inventory turns.
  • Oversee customer special order procedure.
  • Learn to pursue discounts, establish favorable terms, and negotiate promotions through established relationships with vendors.
  • Learn to plan, communicate, and execute regular sales and promotions. 
  • Maintain up-to-date records of vendor contact, order, and delivery information.  Ensure current supplier affidavit information.
  • Learn to evaluate vendors and investigate new sources of supply.
  • Learn to maintain dynamic product mix by utilizing proper Category Management processes.  Choose products meeting the criteria established in the East End Food Co-op's Buying Guidelines.
  • Work to meet and exceed established sales, margin, and inventory goals. 


Departmental – Receiving         

  • Learn to ensure accuracies of orders, deliveries and invoicing and take action to correct discrepancies.
  • Learn to ensure integrity of product, checking for short or expired dates, damages or poor quality.
  • Learn to receive and sign for product deliveries.
  • Ensure timely and appropriate stocking or storage of delivery.
  • Date, code, log, and send invoices to Finance Department for timely payment. Maintain good communication regarding credit or invoice issues.
  • Obtain credit from vendors where applicable.

Departmental – Food Preparation and Production

  • Ensure that food quality, quantity, freshness, and presentation meet all Café standards.
  • Ensure that displays are attractive, fully stocked, maintained, and accurately rotated throughout shift.
  • Ensure that soon to be expired items are properly marked down in price in accordance with procedures.
  • Learn to ensure that expired or low-quality items are pulled and that shrink logs are regularly maintained.
  • Learn to manage and organize effective inventory levels to ensure adequate amounts are on hand to meet business needs while taking steps to minimize waste and loss.
  • Learn to ensure that production is done using correct cutting tools and devices and that all cheese is cut into accurate sizes, shapes, and quantities. 
  • Learn to ensure that items are properly packaged, weighed, priced and labeled and that all major allergens and ingredient information are accurately identified on labels and signage. 
  • Accurately and consistently fill out all checklists, production lists, logs, and records to ensure good processes.
  • Work with Supervisors to create, maintain, and update procedures manuals for all cheese operations.
  • Learn to maintain accurate up-to-date records for cost of preparing cheese products.
  • Research, develop, and maintain cheese recipes, while maintaining confidentiality.
  • Advise Café Manager or Supervisors of any supply needs.
  • Provide product information to customers, staff, and marketing for newsletter and website.
  • Ensure that samples are available for customers.
  • Plan and execute regular education, cooking, and tasting events under the direction of Supervisor.
  • Provide staff training for all functions associated with cheese activities and production.
  • Participate in essential departmental meetings and special events as directed by manager.
  • Assist with other food production and preparation tasks as directed by Supervisors.    

Departmental  - Merchandising

  • Learn to build effective displays according to movement, promotions, cross-merchandising opportunities, profitability, and value, while maintaining alignment with store merchandising guidelines.
  • Learn to maintain accurate and up-to-date POS data for all products. 
  • Educate coworkers and customers on new, local, and specialty products and provide product information to Marketing & Member Services for marketing and promotional communication.
  • Attend Buyer’s meetings to plan promotions, cross-merchandising, and advertising as directed by supervisor.
  • Attend offsite training or special events as assigned. 
  • Visit other stores for price comparisons, new product ideas, and merchandising ideas.
  • Stay current with developments in the cheese and natural foods industries through reading trade publications and speaking with brokers.

Departmental – Maintenance, Sanitation, and Safety

  • Follow and comply with established procedures, including Weights and Measures, Health and Sanitation, and safe work practices.
  • Maintain valid Allegheny Health Department Food Handler’s Certification.Follow storage and labeling procedures at all times per EEFC and health department standards.
  • Maintain work and sales area in a clean, organized, and safe manner throughout the entire shift.
  • Follow storage and labeling procedures at all times per EEFC and health department standards.  
  • Ensure accurate completion of daily, weekly and periodic cleaning tasks.
  • Empty trash, recycling, and compost as needed throughout shift.
  • Operate and maintain all equipment in a safe and appropriate manner.  Advise Supervisors of equipment repair and replacement needs.
  • Monitor cooler and freezer temperatures.  Advise Supervisors of equipment problems immediately.
  • Participate in inventory counts as directed by Supervisor.
  • Assist with other maintenance tasks as directed by Supervisors.

Required Skills and Qualifications:           

  • 6 months to 1+ years of experience in a retail cheese shop, cheese department, or cheese industry. 
  • 1+ years of experience purchasing retail foods.
  • Passion for and exceptional knowledge of specialty cheeses, dairy products, charcuterie, as well as natural and organic specialty products.
  • Excellent understanding of cheese cutting tools, proper cutting techniques, quality cheese production and paring knowledge.
  • Friendly, outgoing personality, positive attitude and enthusiasm for interacting with people and giving great service.
  • Ability to work harmoniously on a diverse team within a dynamic prepared foods department.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently as well as within a team.
  • Ability to maintain excellent verbal and written communications.
  • Strong work ethic and ability to work in a fast-paced environment with a sense of urgency.
  • Ability to handle multiple demands and stay calm.              
  • Ability to be organized and methodical in action while maintaining accuracy and attention to detail.
  • Excellent logistical problem solving skills.
  • Excellent negation and conflict resolution skills.
  • Ability to be punctual and maintain excellent attendance for regularly scheduled shift work.
  • Ability to work a flexible schedule including nights, weekends and holidays as needed.
  • Moderate proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, email, organizational programs, and internet research.          
  • Familiarity with ordering and POS systems.
  • Strong basic math skills.
  • Ability to understand and comply with organizational guidelines, standards and goals.
  • Extensive knowledge of and ability to demonstrate safe food handling.
  • Ability to handle, touch and taste all different kinds of food, including all dairy products and charcuterie.
  • Ability to be exposed to FDA approved cleaning and sanitizing products.
  • Ability to perform routine, repetitive tasks accurately and safely while using tools and equipment, such as knives, box cutters, cheese wires, processors, and other kitchen equipment.
  • Ability to work in an environment which includes exposure to noisy, wet, humid, cold, and hot conditions.
  • General mobility requirements include the ability to:  stand or walk for several hours at a time; lift up to 50 lbs. on a regular basis and 75 lbs. with assistance using safe lifting techniques; push and pull carts weighing up to 100 pounds; twist, turn, squat, and bend frequently; reach above and below shoulders; do repetitive motions; hand and wrist mobility including the ability to repetitively grasp objects; visually read fine print; visually read a computer screen for long periods of time; climb a ladder.

Desired Skills and Qualifications:

  • 1+ years of experience in a retail cheese shop, cheese department, or cheese industry. 
  • 2+ years of experience purchasing retail foods.
  • Experience purchasing natural and organic specialty foods.
  • Advanced knowledge of organic, natural foods, and non-GMO products.
  • Advanced proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, Access and internet research skills.
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Apply for this Position
Apply at: