The Collegian
Wednesday, October 05, 2022

A Day in the Life of: A Ukrop's Employee

Beverly Hills 90210 had The Peach Pit, Boy Meets World had Chubbie's and Saved by the Bell had The Max. Here at the University of Richmond, we have Ukrop's.

Even though it isn't a diner with patent-leather booths and it doesn't have a friendly manager that gives life advice, it is impossible to go there without running into everyone you know.

Tyler L. has been working at the Ukrop's in The Village shopping center on Three Chopt Road for a little over a year.

On Monday, he was assigned to work behind the chef's case, but he is trained in every department of the kitchen-cafe area.

The first thing Tyler does when he arrives at work is meet with the manager to find out where he will be working and what things need to be stocked. He said when he was working the chef's case, his favorite post, it was important to be sure that all the food items were neatly kept.

The most difficult department to be assigned to is what employees call "the chicken room," which is the kitchen where all the hot fried foods are prepared.

"You're a one-man team when you are working in there," Tyler said. "The chef's case isn't as hot and sweaty and you get to interact with people more."

In addition to the dishes prepared in the "the chicken room," Tyler also makes side dishes for the chef's case.

All the food is prepared on a rotating schedule, depending on the ingredients and how long they stay fresh, he said.

His manager decides which foods will be available for sampling each day, he said. Generally, the decision is based on what foods they have a surplus of.

Tyler usually packs his own lunch to eat during his 30-minute break. Employees do not get a discount on the food at Ukrop's, but Tyler said he would sometimes buy his meal there if he didn't have time to prepare something at home. His favorite regular item in the chef's case is the Parmesan chicken, but he also likes to try the chef's specials.

Students usually buy pizza, paninis or wraps from the grill, he said. There are lots of regulars who come in at least three or four nights a week to pick up dinner, he said.

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"Everyone seems to be really nice," Tyler said. "Some places are always stressful, and this place can get pretty stressful but at the end of the day everybody is pretty cool."

Tyler prefers to work the afternoon and evening shifts, since he likes to be able to sleep in, he said.

Tyler estimated that there were around 200 employees working at The Village Ukrop's. He said he met the infamous Bobby Ukrop at orientation and has seen him on a few other occasions checking on business.

When he isn't dishing up chicken salad, Tyler likes to play guitar with his friends and listen to music. Right now, he is listening to a lot of Radiohead, but his all-time favorite band is Pink Floyd. He also enjoys watching "The Office" and "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia."

"Yes!" Tyler said as the interview ended. "I got my 15 minutes"

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