Associate Category Manager

Job ID
Job Category
Marketing/Category Management
Nearest Metro Area
MI-Grand Rapids

Welcome to Gordon Food Service!  We are excited that you are thinking about opportunities with us, and we have an amazing story to share.  

Here's a quick glance of who we are and the impact you could have on the food service industry:  Gordon Food Service At a Glance 

There's a seat at our table for you..


Come help our Marketing Teams champion a “Customer is King” environment...


and see why we set the bar for customer satisfaction in the food service industry! Our Marketing anc Category teams support our sales force and our food service customers with digital tools and content, events to educate and inform, creative ideation and development, distinctive products and brands, and consultative expertise on both business operations and culinary trends.  


US - Pic - Sales_-_with_Chef

We’re seeking Associate Category Manager for our Center of the Plate, Fruits, Vegetables & Dairy, and Table Top/Disposables Departments!


Associate Category Managers are responsible for collaborating with key stakeholders on the national category team, division marketing teams and with vendors to execute strategies to achieve sales, margin, and brand goals.  In addition, this role performs category management that is informed by knowledge of current trends, internal and external category data, and feedback from engaged relationships with GFS division marketing teams while managing, developing, and implementing go-to market activities to support division sales and marketing strategy.  See below for additional details!


Check out some of the day to day in this role!

Vision & Planning


  • Assists the North American Category Director with the development and implementation of the Annual Operating Plan to achieve corporate goals for growth, earnings, RONA and brand penetration.
  • Collaborates with divisional sales and marketing teams to create and support divisional go-to-market strategies.
  • Supports the planning and development of sales product training, food show strategy, and other related activities in support of the division marketing strategy.
  • Develops and monitors marketing plans with key vendors and brokers, including creating, monitoring, and adjusting effective pricing strategies.

Communication & Relationship Building

  • Communicates effectively with regional merchandising on issues pertinent to business success, including the Divisions key performance indicators and category management impact on performance indicators.
  • Builds an effective feedback loop with regional merchandising and sales teams related to unique market differences.
  • Builds and leverages effective, collaborative, relationships with business unit specific regional marketing teams by communicating regularly via email and phone, and by conducting quarterly ride-along with front-line sales and marketing employees.

Category Management

  • Manages a category plan for sales, net margin and brand penetration.  Monitors performance versus Annual Plan and works with the divisions and vendors to take corrective action in order to assure annual plan is achieved.
  • Manages an end-to-end Category Management process that transforms internal and external information and customer insights into a relevant product assortment, net cost, and pricing that increases Net Margin contribution for assigned categories.
  • Oversees and approves product lifecycle management, from new product selection and launch, to product discontinuation and deletion, ensuring optimum product mix focused on defined customer needs, operational efficiency and financial goals.
  • Collaborates with regional merchandising and division marketing teams to establish appropriate product assortment to attain Sales and Net Margin goals.
  • Collaborates with the North American Brand team to establish and attain category brand penetration, new product development, and innovation goals.

   Vendor Management

  • Develops and manages performance of strategic vendors toward continuous service performance improvement utilizing Vendor Business Reviews, the Strategic Business Development process, top-to-top leadership engagement, Co-Creation of Value process and the VIP Program.
  • Is responsible for overall ownership for the business relationship of assigned suppliers and for the final determination/reconciliation of any business disputes.
  • Develops new category supplier relationships for continuity of supply and a competitive source of supply.
  • Maintains knowledge of current trends and developments in the field by reading appropriate books, journals and other literature and attending related conferences, seminars, training, supplier visits, etc.  Maintains peer relationships in the field to share issues and ideas.

What do we need from you…

  • Proficient category management skills including product lifecycle management.
  • Proficient analytical skills to analyze and interpret data related to industry trends, pricing, margin performance, customer needs, etc.
  • Ability to inject creativity, fresh thinking, and new perspectives and to generate new and imaginative ideas.
  • Proficient leadership abilities, capable of motivating others and influencing direction without explicit authority.
  • Proficient/Expert level experience with MS Excel.
  • Ability to travel up to30% (US and Canada).

Leading candidates will have…

  • Bachelor's degree in Sales, Marketing, or other related field preferred.
  • Three or more year’s previous experience in brand, product or category management with one year of project leadership experience.


Be part of an amazing culture where what matters to you, matters to us!


Gordon Food Service values our customers and understands that their success is largely dependent upon their workforce.  To demonstrate our commitment to our partnership, we will require any candidate who works for a Gordon Food Service customer to provide a letter of support from their management if they are selected for the interview process.  



We take care of each other at Gordon Food Service.  Employees love our competitive benefit plans, which include all the things you would expect and a few that you might not! 
Click here for more details.


Want to Learn More About Gordon Food Service? Check Us Out:





Gordon Food Service is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants and employees will receive consideration for employment, or in terms or conditions of employment, without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, status as a protected veteran, or status as a qualified individual with disability.   The EEO is the Law poster is available here:

If you require reasonable accommodation for any part of the application or hiring process due to a disability, please submit your request to and use the words “Accommodation Request” in your subject line. Please keep in mind this method is reserved for individuals who require accommodation due to a disability.

All Gordon Food Service locations are tobacco free.

Gordon Food Service is a drug free workplace and drug tests all employees.


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