Step into her fresh, healthy and honest kitchen. For the last 6 months, production manager Kate Lee has been working tirelessly out of Zest Juice Co.’s newest addition…the Central Kitchen.
All of the cold pressed juice and food menu is now created inside the Central Kitchen and delivered several times a week to Zest Juice Co.'s 4 different Central Ohio locations.
In the heart of the Central Kitchen, you’ll find Kate.
“It’s really cool. I’m finally getting to the point where I feel I have ownership and I have an awesome team. It’s a lot of work, but I really love it. I don’t see the retail side anymore and I am totally okay with that.”
Kate is one of the original Zest employees. She has been with the company since their grand opening in Grandview in December of 2013.
“It’s not where I thought I would be 5 years ago. I graduated with biology and chemistry and that’s what I wanted to go into. But right out of college I went to work at Sherwin Williams. I wasn't totally happy there and was looking for a career change, I had already quit Sherwin Williams and that’s when I met Jesse Cale at a party. Jesse told me about some of his friends who were opening a juice bar."
Kate applied and was hired on the spot. She started one week before Zest’s grand opening. Fast forward 3 years, and she's worked her way into a manager role. Kate isn't just any manager, she is in charge of all of production. It's a big undertaking, but Kate was up for the challenge.
“It’s Natalie and Jordan. That’s why I love working here so much. I love working for them, I love working with them. And this central kitchen, they really allowed me to take ownership and make a lot of the decisions."
As the production manager, Kate is in charge of ordering the produce, checking the quality of produce, making sure items are delivered, and overall making sure the stores get everything they need.
“This is a new challenge for me. Natalie and Jordan have given me freedom, and we’re really starting to get into the swing of things here. It’s an unique operation and I’m happy to have an incredible team to work with, not to mention a new facility.”
Kate credits the central kitchen for a lot of the company’s success. “It’s not bringing in the money its just pushing it out. Which is greatly benefitted. If we were still juicing in Grandview, the store wouldn’t have received their new remodel. We’re able to make greater quantities here.”
As for the future, Kate was very clear.
“I’m not going anywhere anytime soon. I tell them all the time; I’m not going anywhere unless they fire me. I want to keep helping this company grow; it’s so exciting. I am here for the long haul!”