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The Foodservice Operators Who Started a Tech Company

It’s a story of passion, experience, and a shared vision that gave rise to Pineapple Academy, a content streaming platform created for the sole purpose of changing the future of on-the-job training for frontline workers.

And it all started in the kitchen, when a couple foodservice guys decided the industry they loved was long overdue for a change.

Burnout. Turnover. Anger. These were, and still are, the issues that burden nearly every food and beverage operation across the country. Turnover in foodservice was 30% higher in foodservice than the average of all other industries. Organizations have been struggling and shutting down because they can’t keep their teams staffed.

So, what’s the fix? Better leadership teams. More training and resources. Better pay. An interest in developing employees for a career, not just a job.

While the founders couldn’t take a personal interest in every frontline employee in the country, they could focus their strengths to make a difference in the way workers learn and progress as a whole.

Obviously, training is not a new concept. But most training platforms are ineffective and outdated, and the information doesn’t stick. And while learning from a veteran employee can be a good way to build skills, it’s inconsistent and pulls workers away from their regular duties.

This platform would be different. Pineapple Academy would become the very first tech company built by operators from inside the foodservice industry.

The Founders

At the heart of the company’s inception were CEO Tucker Graves and COO Greg Gorgone. Tucker came from a background of wholesale food distribution operations, growing up assisting his dad and learning the fine points of the foodservice industry and all things business. Greg’s expertise came more from inside the kitchen. From working as a pot washer and discovering the electrified energy that coursed through a restaurant during a dinner rush, he quickly became inspired and began learning as much as he could from any chef that was willing to teach him, eventually going on to work as an executive chef, chef instructor, restaurant manager, hotel general manager, and beyond.

Eventually, Greg’s consulting work speaking at foodservice events around the country led him to a conference in Kansas City, Missouri. It was there that he was introduced to Tucker, and the two quickly began working together with a mutual client.

As they began discussing their backgrounds and the current situation in their beloved industries, they saw an opportunity to create something extraordinary. To give these industries a proper future. To help millions find where their passions lie and help pursue them. At the end of the day, these two just wanted to create an industry of inspired frontline workers who feel called to serve. Driven by a collective desire to nurture and elevate the deskless workforce from the bottom up, they fused their expertise to lay the foundation of what is becoming the next generation of training and development for frontline staff.


Tucker and Greg envisioned a platform that would not only teach necessary skills but also celebrate the spirit of hospitality and create positive work cultures with engaged employees. Pineapple Academy was to be more than just an ordinary training platform - it was to be a community where learners could, grow, uncover their passions, and set a course for their future.

Why Pineapple Academy?

When the company was established, the first thing most people noticed was the name. Why pineapples?

Well, the name itself carries a deeper meaning, something that Tucker and Greg valued at their very core. Because, you see, the pineapple symbolizes hospitality, warmth, and a sense of welcome - values that would become the essence of the platform.


With a mission to cultivate excellence, Pineapple Academy took aim at the research behind success. With so many other failed training programs and tactics already on the market, how could their solution be different? How could it be more effective?

Greg and Tucker looked to the science. In a published study known as ‘The Harvard Report’, it was concluded that short-form, blended content was the most effective way to teach someone something. Skills-based videos that were no longer than 6 minutes, combined with an assessment of some sort created a significant increase in the retention of information.

Click here for more about the world of microlearning.

Changing the Status Quo

Everyone who’s worked in foodservice or a frontline operator position knows that most times as a new hire, you’re trained through job shadowing and online training modules, most often meant to check a regulatory compliance box. And with the excessive levels of turnover, management spends an insane amount of time teaching the same skills and procedures over and over. It’s a massive waste of time and money. Pineapple Academy was going to be the change that everyone needed.

So that became the backbone of Pineapple Academy’s training solution. With the expertise of Chief Technology Officer Scott Puckett, the online platform was created, becoming etched in code forever. Students could now access skills-based demonstration videos taught by industry experts right on their mobile device during their shift. The best part? No more long, boring trainings filled with information that employees couldn’t remember. Every video is curated to deliver core information in 5 minutes or less.


Pineapple Academy's recipe for success is a blend of expertise, passion, and dedication. The team of instructors consists of renowned chefs, seasoned restaurant owners and managers, and other industry experts who bring their years of experience to the table. These leaders have become guiding stars for aspiring chefs, mixologists, bakers, EVS professionals, and hospitality enthusiasts, lighting up pathways to success. This collective wisdom ensures that every course offered is carefully crafted to cater to the diverse needs of every learner.

Into the Future

As users dive into Pineapple Academy's virtual world, they’re greeted with a massive content library that covers a wide array of topics from food preparation, environmental services, proper cleaning procedures, special diet recipes and a lot more. From mastering knife skills and cooking techniques to the art of mixology, from the science of baking to the intricacies of restaurant operations and specialty diets - there's a course to satisfy every craving for knowledge.


Pineapple Academy believes in the power of education and its potential to transform lives. With a unique approach to learning, we foster a sense of community among students, encouraging collaboration and networking, creating an environment where dreams are nurtured, and passions are ignited.

So, whether you're a frontline worker with big dreams, someone who’s entering the workforce with no idea what you want to do, or a seasoned professional looking to revolutionize onboarding and training in their business, Pineapple Academy invites you to be a part of its learning revolution.

We can’t wait to teach you.



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