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United Airlines Director - Catering Operations Commercialization in Chicago, Illinois

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Catering Operations

The Catering Operations department develops and provides the great dining experiences on board our aircraft and ensuring the catering operation goes smoothly.

Job overview and responsibilities

Will own strategic go-to-market decisions that will help define the way Catering Operations executes its commercial plan. Will work closely with food safety, local kitchen leadership teams, operations and procurement to develop and execute on all product initiatives. In addition to working cross-functionally, this role will lead life cycle management of onboard product offerings and be responsible for product development process scale-up. Develops vendor strategies based upon current vendor strengths & weaknesses and long-term development requirements in conjunction with Menu Design & Procurement. Build effective relationships with other members of the business and vendor community. Maintain solid understanding of the competitive set and emerging technology to help identify gap or opportunity areas for technical point of difference in US Foods products. This role will also be responsible for enterprise catering technology systems strategy including Airvision, KMS and the ERP system

Product Lifecycle Management

  • Oversee new products through their entire lifecycle in Catering, from farm to flight (concept, creation, and execution). This includes focusing on the quality of the product and the efficiency of the production process.

  • Lead commercialization of developed products from pilot plant to scale-up at a wide range of owned-kitchens and third-party caterers

Go-to-Market Strategy and Execution

  • Function as a central resource with product design, procurement, food safety, production, test, marketing, and distribution as products move through lifecycle

  • Identify efficiencies in our value chain and optimize existing supply chain processes

  • Serve as a subject matter expert on a wide variety of food manufacturing unit operations and technologies

  • Guides product developers in use of these technologies and processes

  • Identify and qualify contract manufacturers for specific project needs, and conduct site assessments.


  • Responsible for enterprise strategic support of catering systems to include Airvision, KMS, warehouse management and ERP systems

  • Promote use of new technologies, automation, and adoption of industry-leading trends

  • Help design, simulate and test automated processes and identify needed subject matter experts

Business Office Support

  • Catering operations support for United Owned kitchen business office operations related to warehousing, local product sourcing, inventory management of food products responsible for minimizing waste

  • Troubleshoot technical, formulation and processing issues during kitchen runs

Contingency Planning

  • Identify potential business disruptions, develop safeguards, and implement recovery procedures

  • Create business continuity and recovery budgets and formulate strategy to re-establish operations from various types of disruptions

  • Create and administer training and awareness

  • Proactively identify development approaches and contingency plans for product scale-up challenges

  • Acting as the owner of the business processes, develops solutions to optimize these processes, leveraging technology as appropriate


  • Bachelor's degree

  • 7 years experience in food production, food manufacturing, food service operations, or airline catering

  • 3 years experience in product life cycle management and developing go-to-market strategies

  • 3 years in progressive leadership positions

  • Proven track record or prior experience with leading or playing a key leadership role in a large company, e.g., Fortune 100

  • Continuous Improvement, Lean processes experience

  • Change management experience

  • Ability to develop and execute go-to-market strategies

  • Strong operations and people leadership skills

  • Financial acumen

  • Ability to effectively work with all levels of the organization, employees and outside suppliers

  • Excellent written and verbal communications skills

  • Strong analytical capability

  • Must be legally authorized to work in the United States for any employer without sponsorship

  • Successful completion of interview required to meet job qualification

  • Reliable, punctual attendance is an essential function of the position


  • MBA or equivalent advanced degree

Equal Opportunity Employer – Minorities/Women/Veterans/Disabled/LGBT

Division: 67 Catering Operations

Function: Food Services - Management & Administrative

Equal Opportunity Employer – Minorities/Women/Veterans/Disabled