Why the Name Pineapple Academy?
From the very beginning, our goal to help employers reimagine the way they engage their deskless workforce through education, especially those on the frontline, has been deeply rooted in hospitality. Our founders knew that promoting a culture of hospitality in the workplace would establish the necessary foundation to create employee engagement. They chose the pineapple as our symbol because it represents hospitality. They believe this idea of hospitality, where you “anticipate the needs of the individual,” is not only meant for the customers, but first and foremost the employees. It was out of their desire to disrupt the status quo that Pineapple Academy was born.
To advance the world’s deskless workforce through training and skills development.
Pineapple Academy was founded by two friends with a common belief that “enough is enough” when it came to accepting the levels of turnover in the foodservice industry. The average turnover in the foodservice industry is 30% higher than the average of all other industries.
Tucker Graves grew up in the family’s wholesale food business. As a kid, Tucker would sit in the corner of his dad’s office listening in on meetings. It was during this time where he was exposed to the ins and out of the foodservice industry. Later in life while meeting with a client of his own, Tucker asked how he could help them with their operation. The client’s response was, “If you want to help me, help me keep my people safe.” The need for knife skills training was so pressing that it became the first seed to the idea of Pineapple Academy. From that point on, Tucker was driven to find a solution to help improve the way operators train their staff.
Greg Gorgone has been working in operations management for over 30 years in both hotels and healthcare. Greg’s passion for food comes from growing up in a large Italian family and attending Sunday dinner at his grandparent’s house. Greg’s philosophy has always been that every operation has an opportunity to deliver great food and great service if given the right tools to do the job. Greg’s consulting work and speaking at foodservice related events around the country led him to a conference in Kansas City, Missouri. It was there that Greg and Tucker met for the first time.
Shortly after their introduction, they proceeded to work with a mutual client to create a brand-new approach to foodservice in a skilled nursing home in central Missouri. One year after a successful implementation with this operation, the two traveled there again to assess the progress of the project. Although there were some noticeable improvements, they were disappointed to discover that most of the investment on new equipment and technology was not being properly utilized and the people had reverted to old habits, and in some cases, worse. That was the tipping point and they decided it was time for a change.
With strengths on both sides of the spectrum, Greg with his knowledge base for the training as a former culinary student, chef instructor, foodservice operator and consultant, and Tucker with his business development and technology experience from operating previous companies, along with a network of peers in the industry to help them get it off the ground, Pineapple Academy came to life.