Here's Why Aldi Doesn't Have In-Store Butchers

Aldi is something of an odd duck in the cutthroat world of grocery shopping. For a long time, many American folks saw the German discount chain as a strange outcast that offered a bare-bones selection at lower costs than their competitors, which just seemed wrong to a consumer who was used to the overblown selections of massive hypermarkets. The novel approach eventually paid off, however, and the chain's star has been on the rise in recent years. In 2019, CNN reported that even the mighty Walmart was nodding in open approval of the wildly growing, aggressive, penny-pinching Aldi.

As anyone who has shopped at Aldi can readily attest, one of their many peculiarities is their uncannily cheap meat section, which consists of a relatively small selection of cuts that are mostly sold under the company's own labels. The meat's quality is pretty good, but getting your fillets cut to your specifications on-site might prove difficult. Aldi's website doesn't mention in-store butchers, and you can't even find their average salaries on Indeed ... because the company flat out doesn't employ in-house butchers in its stores. But what could have prompted Aldi to avoid such a basic grocery store service?

No in-store butchers means lower operating costs and cheaper prices

Aldi is all about saving money, and the problem with in-store butchers is that they cost money. According to Houston Chronicle, your average in-store butcher has an annual salary of around $30,000, and they can earn as much as $41,680 per year. That money doesn't come from thin air. The monetary cost of operating a business ultimately falls on the customer, and Aldi manages to keep its prices comparatively low with money-saving tricks, like not having to factor in an annual meat specialist cost of $30,000 in every single location.

Tom Cindel, one of the company's Directors of Operations, explained to Food Navigator USA that Aldi's trick to keeping its prices low is to streamline operating costs, then simply pass the savings on to the customer. "Behind the scenes of traditional grocery stores, everything you do gets added to the cost of the product," Cindel said. "Operating a deli or pharmacy is built into the price of that — but not at Aldi."

Customers tend to vote with their feet, and seeing as many of them seem to be heading toward Aldi, it seems that the chain's stripped-down strategy and message of simplicity are reaping rich rewards — regardless of their lack of in-store butchers.