Kroger and Walmart have both reported thousands of new hires as grocery stores — largely deemed essential businesses — remain open across the country during the coronavirus pandemic.

On Friday, Kroger announced that it has recently hired more than 23,500 employees nationwide, and it plans to hire about 20,000 more in the coming weeks. It has targeted hiring individuals from vulnerable sectors, such as restaurants, hotels and food service distributors. 

Kroger initiated its expedited hiring process two weeks ago to shorten the time between application and employment, onboarding new hires in an average of 72 hours. Kroger's human resources leaders are working seven days a week to quickly interview and recruit new talent that can uplift the company's culture and purpose: To feed the human spirit,” the company said.

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The Midwest grocery store chain is also reportedly forming partnerships with local, regional and national businesses in the the same industries where it is hiring employees. The mission between these partnerships is to keep the food supply chain moving without interruptions. 

Kroger’s current partners include Frisch's, Marriott International, McLane Foodservice, Shamrocks Food, Sodexo, SodexoMAGIC, Sysco, Thunderdome Restaurant Group, US Foods and VF Corporation.

The average hourly wage for Kroger employees is $15 per hour. Employees are eligible for benefits as well, which boosts the value of the average wage to $20 per hour. 

Additionally, Walmart announced it will expedite its hiring operations amid greater demand. A press release reports that the general store will hire about 150,000 new associates through the end of May.

As with Kroger, Walmart is looking to help furloughed employees make ends meet. "These roles will be temporary at first, but many will convert to permanent roles over time. We’ve reached out to industry groups representing restaurants and hospitality to facilitate temporary roles that can be a bridge for their employees during this difficult time."

Some of the vacant positions will be fulfilling "key roles" such as cashiers and stockers. The usual two week application process will be reduced to about a 24-hour timeline.

Kroger and Walmart are two of the companies increasing hires during the coronavirus pandemic, along with other food and delivery companies such as Domino’s Pizza and GrubHub. 

Published on Mar 27, 2020