It’s Monday. You’re hunched over paperwork, willing five o’clock to get here sooner. Meanwhile, David Kaiser, vice president and cookie-taster in chief at Norcross-based Great American Cookies, has the sweetest work schedule since Willy Wonka. But before you trade in your 401(k) for a golden ticket, you should note that Kaiser got the job thanks to a business background, a degree from the Culinary Institute of America, and a year of kitchen duty in Lyon, France—the world’s food capital.
Describe a typical day. This Friday we’re going to spend three hours basically sitting around eating cookies, talking about what we like about them, what we’d like to see different, and the whole modification process.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
We spend a good amount of time out in the field at food trade shows and visiting small mom-and-pop bakeries in different cities. We’re seeing what they’re producing so we can try to catch the start of a trend.
We always make it a point to hook up to our supplier partners at food trade shows to say, “Hey, can you give us an idea of who’s doing interesting things in San Francisco, Chicago, or New York?” And our partners will literally put together a bakery tour for us in those cities.
And your favorite cookie? A cranberry-orange was ultimately one of my favorite prototypes we’ve developed this year. But it didn’t resonate with our consumer base. That’s important; you have to understand who you are as a brand. We’re much more of a peanut butter and jelly than we are a chocolate truffle cookie personality. We’re very celebratory.
Does this ever get stressful? There’s really not a lot that’s not fun about the job. Maybe if sales dip or something. [Kaiser quickly pointed out that GAC sales have been up every year for the last six years.]
This article originally appeared in our October 2013 issue.