Penzeys Spices Reviews | Glassdoor

Penzeys Spices Reviews

Updated February 20, 2017
55 reviews

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Full-time Part-time

2.4
Star Star Star Star Star
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William Penzey Jr
30 Ratings

55 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • Too much secrecy on the part of the upper management including the owner (in 6 reviews)

  • Would like to go full time but there are no other (in 5 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (3)

    "Production worker"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Production Worker in Wauwatosa, WI
    Former Employee - Production Worker in Wauwatosa, WI
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Penzeys Spices full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Free lunch on Wednesday, soup on Friday. Donuts. Lots of work, great co-workers.

    Cons

    The work was clear but the communication with bosses or the future of company wasn't.

    Advice to Management

    Work on communicating better with employees


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Sales Associate"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Albuquerque, NM
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Albuquerque, NM
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at Penzeys Spices (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Great existing customer base. Great product. Many customers have been using Penzeys Spices for years and are very knowledgeable about them.

    Cons

    Home office staff is on another planet. I was reprimanded for deleting an email that is clearly still in the Inbox. Expectations are totally out of line with their pay scale.

    Advice to Management

    Be a little more compassionate with your employees.


  3. Helpful (3)

    "Customer Sales/Production"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Customer Sales Representative in Brookfield, WI
    Former Employee - Customer Sales Representative in Brookfield, WI
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Very family oriented company
    Recognize and appreciate hard work
    Free lunch given one day of the week and snacks
    Kind upper management
    Good place to learn customer service skills
    Good pay

    Cons

    Some management was untrustworthy. Put me down and constantly looked over my shoulder. Hard to learn that way. If it's not a busy day in the store, there is not much to do other than clean although that is common.

    Advice to Management

    Make sure employees are comfortable and able to learn in their environment. They should be comfortable with processes and able to learn about cooking if they are younger and don't cook a lot.


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  5. Helpful (6)

    "Great for the Right Kind of Person!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Retail Sales Associate in Madison, WI
    Former Employee - Retail Sales Associate in Madison, WI
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    Reasonable hours for retail setting
    Great coworkers*
    Flexible scheduling* **
    Your time is spent with fellow food lovers (and you learn so much!)

    Generally speaking, I had a nice experience working here. If you play well with others (truthfully, objectively evaluate yourself now!), you'll be fine. Don't shy from pitching in with the nasty cleaning of bathrooms or standing tall with a mean customer and you'll probably be fine. It's a very social job, with 8 hours shifts standing next to your coworkers.

    *If your store manager (called "Keyholder") maintains a responsive, respectful environment.
    **Except holidays. Holidays make your soul and body hurt.

    Cons

    Repetitive, mindless tasks
    Negative treatment by customers (rare, but more common than other retail jobs)
    LOW pay, below a living wage for full-time employees (I believe raises are $0.50/year across the board)
    Management doesn't take any feedback
    Potential for workplace bullying is very high

    Honestly, I find every critical assessment on Glassdoor to be spot on (if a bit disapproving). If you're the kind of person who can't cope with frustration, Penzeys will bother you very quickly. It's easiest to succeed if you can step back and relinquish all need to control a situation and be more "go with the flow". There are many obvious improvements that can be made, but it's not the type of company that takes feedback.

    I tried so hard to give positive, helpful feedback only to have every single person (Retail Room and above) I spoke to clam up and shake me off as quickly as possible. Most people step gingerly around speaking your mind due to the circulating rumors of employees being fired after stepping out of line, although you're pretty safe at the store level.

    This past holiday, I watched my store give away hundreds, perhaps thousands of gift boxes valued over $50. It was painful to see such generosity towards customers when my last raise was a nickel ($0.05!) and the most I could hope for was two more quarters per hour. I've had better luck in parking lots. #4yeardegreeFTW

    Anyway, if you've got an interview, I'd try to gently investigate the workplace environment through casual conversation. Is it positive where everyone tries to build each other up? Or is it bullying where others are openly disrespected? Ask how long most employees stay at the store (in months). If it's less than six months, I'd be cautious.

    Advice to Management

    Try to have more real, honest conversations with your employees and less sugary-sweet, sweep-it-all-under-the-rug-and-smile-harder conversations.
    Also, stop saying "Yes" to Bill Penzey. All of your employees can see the indulgence and it makes many of us so sad. Do protect your jobs, of course. That I can understand.


  6. Helpful (12)

    "Not for the career-minded individual"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Warehouse in Milwaukee, WI
    Former Employee - Warehouse in Milwaukee, WI
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Penzeys Spices full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    For the most part, a great team of people at the corporate warehouse. Employees have come from varied backgrounds and (potentially) have so much to offer the company. The product itself is stellar, although many of it is bought from the same huge companies McCormick's, Spice Island, etc. buy from. Great work/life balance. Lunch is supplied to the warehouse every Wednesday and Friday, which is a nice little perk.

    Cons

    Where to begin? The company is literally the owner’s life playing out in his business. This means the disorganized, jumbled nature Penzeys exhibits to its employees in stores across the country is the direct result of middle-management not knowing what the heck is going on from day to day. Penzeys is a poster child for micromanagement; nothing happens without the owner’s approval. Managers are handicapped daily to make the decisions they have been hired to make (or have they been hired to stoke the owner’s ego?) which has a domino effect down the lines and the stores end up having no faith in what corporate is doing. And why should they?

    Instead of focusing on the quality of the spices, you know the reason people buy from the company, the owner is more concerned with espousing his political beliefs. His tone is that of a know-it-all uncle, condescending and a little “I’m smarter and better than you and if you disagree with me, it means you are either stupid or bad.” Open dialogue is definitely NOT encouraged. If you tend to lean to the center or, God forbid, the right of the political spectrum you had better keep your mouth shut because you would be ostracized. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard mean-spirited comments about people who lean right. This is not the faux kindness preached about.

    Indeed, the “kindness” at Penzeys extends to the customers only. Employee wages are far below the norm for similar positions at other companies. When was the last time wages were looked at? Starting pay for some positions is at least 50% less than other companies for the same position; Penzeys Spices is truly lucky the economy is slugging along. I would have a hard time naming all the people, good, hard-working and talented people, who have 2nd jobs to support themselves and are looking for a new full-time positions. It’s sad, really. Penzeys Spices is definitely NOT a company for someone who is career-minded, as that is looked down upon, and ambitious.

    Advice to Management

    Be open to feedback. Pay your employees fair wages; these are talented, experienced people who have so much to offer and deserve better. For all the talk of "kindness" by the owner, have you ever heard of the phrase "Practice what you preach." No one respects a hypocrite.

    This company is not stable, despite strong sales whenever emails go out telling customers to order to get free shipping. Stores have been closing left and right and there are more on the horizon.


  7. Helpful (6)

    "Low pay, Poor schedule"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Retail Associate in Scottsdale, AZ
    Current Employee - Retail Associate in Scottsdale, AZ
    Doesn't Recommend

    I have been working at Penzeys Spices part-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The store staff and home office staff are friendly and supportive. You can usually get a specific day off if you need it.

    Cons

    On your feet for 8 hours, the pay isn't great and the so-called Christmas bonus is meager. Raises are once a year and not very big and I don't believe that it makes much difference in your job performance.

    Advice to Management

    You are great at offering deals and give-aways to your customers, but it would be nice to see a little better pay rate for your loyal employees.


  8. "Penzeys"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Wauwatosa, WI
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Wauwatosa, WI
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Treat their employees with respect and many perks of the job. Free spices and meals weekly.

    Cons

    Low base rate of pay. Tends to be difficult to move up into higher positions with current management.

    Advice to Management

    Pay your employees more, they will work harder and you will receive better quality out of them.


  9. Helpful (3)

    "Store Clerk"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Store Clerk in Harrisburg, PA
    Current Employee - Store Clerk in Harrisburg, PA

    Pros

    The company will stand behind you if you need to do something exceptional to make a customer happy. Their credo is customer service, and they stand up for it. Customers are very appreciative and that makes you feel good.

    Cons

    The left hand does not seem to know what the right hand is doing. Different departments don't seem to coordinate or communicate well, e.g., things happen in production with out much thought on their impact on other departments or the stores.

    Advice to Management

    Try listening to the people actually doing the work on the front lines - retail room and stores


  10. Helpful (3)

    "Associate"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Retail Sales Associate in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Retail Sales Associate in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Penzeys Spices part-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Product excellent, customers great for the most part - some a bit demanding when it came to coupon redemption

    Cons

    "Flexible: hours means flexible to the needs of Penzey's not necessarily the employee. Impossible to hold 2nd part time job because of scheduling practices. Special consideration to long time "senior" employees. Personal SAFETY was not a consideration for management. Always short staffed, even during holidays, which meant employees worked crazy hours (but not over 24) all shifts to meet coverage needs, usually alone for the majority of the shift while expectations from Corporate not modified and assistance limited.
    Limited to non existent career opportunities - straight retail work.

    Advice to Management

    Hire, hire, hire. Get your stores up to full staffing and start taking care of your younger employees. They are your future!! If you are looking to close a store - then do it and stop abusing your dedicated employees. - Respect them and their contributions to your bottom line!


  11. Helpful (4)

    "egomania + lack of respect for employees = WORK SOMEWHERE ELSE!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Former Employee in Pittsburgh, PA
    Former Employee - Former Employee in Pittsburgh, PA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Penzeys Spices part-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Good product, good prices, good discount.

    Stores were closed by 5:30 pm, so no evening hours.

    Usually pleasant coworkers. Most of them were fellow foodies. Some were accomplished pros in other areas, who loved the product, and were just there for pocket money and the discount

    Cons

    Other current/former employees, y'all KNOW whose ego I'm talking about.

    Never met The Man, but met many of his underlings. Some asked "how high?" when he said "jump"; others spoke openly and derisively behind his back.

    It was the worst kind of micromanaged retail nightmare. I understand that it was relatively well-paying for retail when the location first opened in 2002, but wages/raises have stayed flat.

    Buy your spices from his sister's store.

    Advice to Management

    Pointless, because The Man doesn't take it.


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