Schwan's
2.1 of 5 206 reviews
www.theschwanfoodcompany.com Marshall, MN 5000+ Employees

Schwan's Reviews

Updated Jul 3, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

2.1 206 reviews

                             

26% Approve of the CEO

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Dimitrios Smyrnios

(23 ratings)

18% of employees recommend this company to a friend
67 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews
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    2 people found this helpful  

    Really miss the customers but not management

    Schwans RSR (Former Employee)
    Bridgeville, PA

    ProsOn your own most of the day, in control of your own income.
    My route had great customers, not all routes are that lucky.
    The benefits are as good as most companies.
    The training is set up very well.

    ConsAbsolutely no home life, puts stress on family.
    Upper management could care less about the route driver, they just look at numbers.
    In my third year with Schwan's and it's the third compensation plan. Seems that the company is struggling to survive.
    Sorry to say, but this is a sinking ship, they will continue to lose market share.

    Advice to Senior ManagementInteract with rsr's, listen to their needs and at least try to accommodate. A very small effort would go a long way.
    Commit to a pay plan.
    Try to retain good RSR's, the turn over is a big problem.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Sinking Ship

    Territory Sales Leader (Former Employee)

    ProsLiked some of the independance, able to make decisions that effect others. Listened to new ideas and allowed me to try them out. Saved company a lot of money by changing some of the old ways of thinking.

    ConsI didnt get the credit for the changes I personally made. Some of them were done company wide- Felt like others took all the credit. Current state of Schwan's home delivery is in Question. I believe the new higher management will shut down most of home service and grow the more profitable wings. The pay doesn't meet with similair industries.

    Advice to Senior ManagementPay your employees what they are worth. The drivers make nearly minumum wage for the amount of hours they work. Its a tough job and they need to be paid properly. I was a manager and I was very disatisfied with the company direction.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    RSR

    RSR (Former Employee)
    Bellingham, WA

    ProsI worked there a year with some very good character's and had allot of support and understanding from My Managers (there were two since I worked there).
    You have plenty of freedom to do things your way once you leave the depot, so long as your numbers are decent and the customers are happy. Job was very challenging but was a helpful growth experience; if you want to know what it means to work hard, apply at Schwan's. Training was also very hands-on and compensation was good as a trainee.
    Good discounts on yummy convenient food (you will be living off it with the crazy hours).
    Lastly you have some great opportunities to meet some very... interesting people. I made good friends on my route(s) and got to drive around through some beautiful countryside. Namely deception pass and Whidbey Island. You might not be so lucky however.
    If you are a young person with allot of energy, people skills and patience then it's a great start.
    If you want a life, go elsewhere.

    ConsThey basically expect you to do two full-time jobs at once. In addition to running and organizing an average 50-80 stop route day you are expected to knock on doors, gather referrals and solicit for more business, for which there is very little time; they do basically nothing to advertise beyond that.
    THE HANDHELD P.O.S. SYSTEM IS THE BIGGEST, SMELLIEST POS ON PLANET EARTH!!! I'm convinced the technology was taken from ancient Greece and manufactured by lobotomized monkeys in china.
    I had to makeup ENTIRE route days on my ONE day off because of that thing.
    Same goes for the system they have to "organize" your stops, basically it takes them and puts them in a blender before each day and you are left to sort it out yourself. If you have been on a route for awhile and you know how it should be run this isn't much of an issue, but as a newbie you could be driving an extra three hours (or more!) moving around like a headless chicken because you are forced to follow the given stop order.
    Speaking of lobotomized monkeys I'm pretty sure that's what they started hiring for corporate management to cut costs.

    The management (above the depot manager) was almost completely obvious to the blatant issues (such as the above ones) on the ground. They would constantly be shoving nonsensical procedures and rules down our depot manager's throat who actually knew how the job should be done.

    Advice to Senior ManagementLET THE RSR DO HIS DANM JOB

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    5 people found this helpful  

    Still too many hours for what we make

    Route Sales Representative (Current Employee)
    Ottumwa, IA

    ProsMostly great products
    Employee discounts up to 40%
    Decent medical & dental insurance, although expensive. Vision coverage is worthwhile ONLY if you live near one of the participating providers
    Customers become good friends over the years. You get to watch their kids grow up (since you're not home to watch your own kids grow up.) Some customers even give you leads on a better job.
    Minimal supervision/interference once you leave the depot in your truck. Your success or failure is largely determined by your efforts.
    A good sales week means a bigger paycheck. A decent route will generate $60K+ annual income.
    Some customers value good, consistent service & will tip you in cash. It's an extra $50-100/week in untaxed income.

    ConsEvery two or three months, another good selling product goes on the "limited availability" or "while supplies last" list. Customers get pissed off when one of their favorites is discontinued. Some cancel service because we no longer offer this favorite product. See also Chocolate Almond Ice Cream, or Green Bean Fries. I don't think anyone in Marshall, MN has embraced the basic concepts in The Long Tail
    New products are sometimes hit or miss when it comes to consumer acceptance & sales volume. See also those nasty Mac & Cheese Bites as well as the Southwest Chicken Panino. These same new products are often discontinued before long.
    You work stupid hours (12-14 hours per day), including most holidays. Customers look at your strangely & say "Dude, it's New Year's Day. What the hell are you doing here?"
    If you get a holiday off (usually only Thanksgiving & Christmas), you have to make up for it on the weekend. Do your holiday shopping early (or online).
    If your truck breaks down, or if your handheld computer fails, or if anything else goes wrong to sabotage a route day, you have to make it up on the weekend.
    If you are sick or have a personal issue or medical appointments or dental work or anything else that prevents you from running your regularly scheduled route day, you have to make it up on the weekend (or lose a day's pay).
    New 2014 compensation plan (the third one in the past five years) can kick you in the balls when you take vacation. If the person running your route while you are away tanks it (because the customers don't know/trust this person, because this person doesn't know their way around your neighborhoods or they're new & don't know what they're doing, because this person is lazy, or whatever), you lose money through no fault of your own.
    Ridiculous expectations regarding how quickly you can get in & out of the average customer's home. Your time is budgeted at 4 minutes per customer. If you service a group of customers (i.e., several people at a business location instead of a single person at a residence), you get 1 minute for the group as a whole plus 1 minute for each member of the group. A stop at the local high school to catch 7 teachers and 3 admin staff is budgeted at 11 minutes total. Good luck catching them all in one spot, each with an order list in hand. And even if you do, good luck filling those orders in 1 minute each.
    Ridiculous expectations for in & out times also lead to ridiculous expectations for how much free time you have to knock new doors and build your route. You may be required to join weekly conference calls if you are not meeting expectations for average daily sales and/or average new customer acquisition.
    If you follow your daily service manifest in exact order, you lack any ability to deliver consistent service times to your customers. The computer system changes your route sequence almost every trip. You might show up at a customer's home today at 11:00 am, and then show up at almost 1:00 pm the next time.
    Route scheduling/routing software has no clue regarding traffic patterns. streets with no parking on one side or the other, etc. You will also likely also find yourself serving one customer, then driving down the street to serve another customer, then making a u-turn to serve a customer next door to (or across the street from) the first customer. (You could have served #3 while you were parked in front of #1.)
    Schwan's requires you to take a 30 minute break during the day (even though the DOT no longer enforces this rule for driver/salespersons). The break is nice, since I need a snack & a bathroom, but interferes with my ability to meet the scheduling demands for customers. If you take your break even one minute late, or take a 29 minute break instead of a 30 minute break, you're in violation of the non-existent DOT rule. Do it too many times, and you wind up suspended or fired.
    New customers added to route are great, but automated system doesn't necessarily put this new customer on a route day when I am serving other customers on the same street. I might have to drive out of my way to get to them on a different day. I might even go into another salesman's territory (or vice versa).
    Turnover is about as high in the warehouse as it is on the sales team. This means that you will often find products missing from your truck, or loaded in the wrong door, making them impossible to find. Just as bad, you will often have customers request a product (which your handheld computer says you don't have) ... only to discover a few hours later that you actually have the product. Either way, it results in lost sales and in frustration for both you and your customers.

    Advice to Senior Management1. Spend more time in the field. Jump in some trucks, both with experienced RSRs and with newbies. Take notes, and then TAKE ACTION to make things better for both your customers and for your employees.
    2. Field test new products more thoroughly before rolling out to the field & building sales expectations on them.
    3. Keep more old products, even if they're available on a "pre-order only" basis.
    3. You need better tracking of product demand for out-of-stock items. Not every OOS shows up on the reports at the end of the day. For example, my customers still want to buy tempura shrimp or cream cheese wontons, but can't get these products. However, my end of day reports do not show the product demand.
    4. Promote from within. Too many people at TSL & higher positions have no idea what a day in a truck is like.
    5. Update your hardware & software. RSRs waste too much time waiting on HHCs to connect for credit card approvals, receipt printing etc.
    6. Remember where you came from. There's a BIG percentage of your customer base who look to Schwan's for comfort foods & favorite products REGARDLESS of carb grams, sodium, and other dietary factors. Offer alternatives, but keep the favorites.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    4 people found this helpful  

    Was once a great company

    (Current Employee)

    ProsExcellent class act product line, paid vacations, 401K match, excellent optional life, AD&D, short, and long term disability, dental, and vision insurances, 40% discount on home service products when you sign up for rewards and order online or through their contact center otherwise discount is 20%. Opportunity to make a very nice high end middle class income as long as you don't mind putting in a lot of time to do it.

    ConsMedical insurance has change to the high deductible plans and are no longer worth very much. Recent pay changes affecting Route Sales Representatives, Bonus structure changes affecting Territory Sales Leaders and Sales Distribution Support Supervisors and the elimination of the opportunity for Chairman's Club for the TSLs and SDSSs which was a very nice merchandise award or trip for exceeding 5% over sales plan for the year. Everyone bonus eligible is not depending on the entire company to make its profit goal and not just the individual location. In reality all the above is compensation changes that are negatively impacting your field employees. More senior management being hired from the outside in hopes that they will have the magic bullet to fix Schwan's when in reality all they do is bring more chaos in upon the long term employees. Outdated Hand Held Computers, printers, and GPS units which cause much frustration in the day to day duties of a Route Sales Representative.

    Advice to Senior ManagementIf you really want to fix your employee retention problem them stop messing with your field employee's income. Retention is going to get much worse before it gets better and also don't plan on your engagement scores being very high this coming summer because all these changes are going to affect that too. I do understand the current business state is difficult and needs to move to the desired state but it still impacts us negatively. Please replace your outdated hand held computers and GPS units for everyone involved including the customer. You asked for constructive conflict. This is as transparent as it gets.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Route Sales Rep (Trainee)

    RSR (Trainee) (Current Employee)
    Fargo, ND

    ProsYou are needed because retention rates for RSR's is moderately high. Good management at my depot. They are concerned about your development as a route driver. The company has a new CEO and is making a push for a better work/life balance, i.e. work 4 days a week for 12-14 hours each day. Weekly pay and opportunities to fill other route days to make more money. The highest compensation that I actually believe that an RSR can make for a year is about 80K for a 20 year RSR who has had the same route for many years. 2 year RSRs make about 40-50K.

    ConsJust finished my 4th week as a trainee. Current pay is $115 per day for fourteen hours. Comes out to about $8 per hour. Driving in all kinds of weather conditions, traffic, dogs, heat, cold, etc. If you are on a rural route restroom facilities are limited, even if you had time to stop and go. Sometimes it comes down to asking a customer to use their restroom (which is unprofessional) or going outside. I have heard of several RSRs soiling their pants because they were trying to hurry up and not stop.

    This job is a balancing act. Company requires you to run about 70 stops on your route day while still expecting great customer engagement/service. If your stops are spread out you might have 30 seconds talk time per customer to take the order, then pull product from the truck, return and complete payment. Customers don't want to be rushed, and want to engage for a bit (especially the elderly ones) and take their time perusing the product book. It is unfortunate that we often have to contact the last 10-15 customers on our route that we can't get to them tonight because DOT rules for drive time have kicked-in. The customers say "why does Schwan's schedule so many customer stops per day"? Good question. If I had 40-50 stops there would be enough time, but then my total potential compensation for the day would be greatly reduced due to lack of commissions because of lower sales. The experienced RSRs know which customers will be home, who the good buyers are, and when they can skip them until next time. etc. What sucks is when you run somebody else's route and you don't know the customers you can skip over.

    Equipment problems cause many heartaches. Truck problems, hand-held device problems, inventory problems, etc. GPS system can be challenging at times.

    Advice to Senior ManagementSpare no expense on top-of-the-line equipment and training. Cut route stops to 40-50 and adjust the commission rates so that a decent level of compensation can be maintained with fewer stops.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    4 people found this helpful  

    Losing its Luster

    Sales Manager (Current Employee)
    Bloomington, MN

    Prosvariety of food types it produces, lots of R&D resources to work with

    ConsIt is so hard to get the highest quality management candidates to relocate to MN, so Schwan's repeatedly settles for mediocre management types (who have been let go from other companies) to fill senior roles. This leads to a viscious cycle of repeatedly turning over employees and making short sighted decisions which negatively impact the businesses.

    Advice to Senior ManagementHire great people. Use best practices. Stop changing course all the time. Play to the company's strengths, do not dwell on its weaknesses. And--for goodness sake--have some checks and balances over decisions management employees are making.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    3 people found this helpful  

    Very mixed feelings

    Customer Service Manager (Former Employee)
    Clayton, DE

    ProsDiscount on products (20%)
    Customer interaction
    Good quality support on corporate level

    ConsLocation general management was insensitive, Co workers critical of each other and unwilling to help weaker members.

    Advice to Senior ManagementUpper management needs to teach the local and district management on the Home Service side how to handle their people. I had 2 major deaths in a 13 month period and the location general management was not sensitive to my needs and expected me to return to work in 3 days. Did not care when economy turned and a lot of customers either stopped service and or reduced their service level. Lost my routes for six months, and when I received them never mind my personal needs for conseling. The location general manager was insensitive. All he cared about was the dollar.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    route sales representative

    RSR (Current Employee)
    Billings, MT

    Proswork with some real good hardworking people, have a great boss who care about us,
    get to know a lot of good people,

    ConsThis used to be a great job, now it has become a struggle to go to work with a good attitude. I have worked for this company for 15 years and made chairman's club for 13 of them. Corporate now micro-manages everything and they have no clue what is going on at the ground level, I could probably get fired for writing this because it is against company policy for us to write or say anything derogatory about the company, but I believe that is against freedom of speech, I have already been reprimanded by upper-management for speaking my mind. This company is going down hill fast, and I expect it will be going up in flames soon.

    Advice to Senior ManagementLook at this company's past, it used to be a great company. You are so caught up with pushing everyone to on-line ordering and getting everyone's e-mail address that you are alienating our customers by this. let us RSR,s get back to doing our job and then maybe this company can be saved.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    2 people found this helpful  

    frustrating

    Route Sales Representative (Current Employee)

    ProsYou have the opportunity to build your route so that you can have a good income. Not locked into an hourly rate where someone else tells you what you're worth. 40% discounts on Schwans food. Plus you get to meet lots of great people on routes!

    ConsNot nearly as much freedom as we had a few years ago. Upper management is micro-managing like crazy! Most of them have never run routes for Schwans and it shows! I understand that you have slackers for whom you have to hold their hands to get them through the day, but, this is nuts!

    Advice to Senior ManagementTo those who came up with the "manifests" in Home Service and the people who approved them - get your heads out of your tech manuals and your rear-ends in the DRIVERS seat of a home service truck! Schwans needs to go through the "undercover boss" process immediately! You could do it internally and "save face."

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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