Restaurant Insider with Anne Lee: Times SupermarketsRestaurant Insider
February 16, 2020
Story By: Anne Lee | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO
ANNE LEE speaks with director of food service operations for Times, Big Save and Shima’s AARON YOKOMIZO, and Times Beretania store director NERIO ROMELO
Times Supermarket on Beretania recently underwent some exciting renovations. The longtime beloved grocery store now has a self-service hot foods and salad bar, a char siu station and a fresh mochi station. I had the pleasure of sitting with Aaron Yokomizo, the director of food service operations for Times, Big Save and Shima’s islandwide, as well as Nerio Romelo, the store director of Times Beretania.
Times Supermarkets first opened in 1949 and is now one of the leading supermarket operations in Hawaii. It has grown to have 24 supermarket locations, which includes 17 Times locations; ﬁve Big Save Markets; Shima’s Supermarket located on the east side of Oahu; and Fujioka’s Wine Times, a ﬁne wine and specialty foods shop.
Today, I’m excited to get to know Yokomizo and Romelo and their experience in the supermarket industry, in addition to learning about what makes Times Beretania stand out, besides all of its new updates.
AL: How long have you been working with Times?
NR: I have been with Beretania Times for a little over one year. I am originally from Maui, and have been working in supermarkets since 1993. Overall, I’ve been with Times since 2009, was with Star Markets before then and started off bagging groceries and worked my way up — hard work does pay off.
AY: I have been with Times since 2009, from high school I have always worked in retail. I was born and raised in the Big Island, worked at Sure Save Supermarkets during high school (which is no longer there) bagging groceries, stocking shelves, cashier, supervisor, worked my way up. I enjoy this industry.
AL: When did Times Supermarkets ﬁrst open its doors?
NR & AY: Times Supermarkets started as a dream more than 75 years ago on the sugar plantations of Hawaii. Albert and Wallace Teruya were sons of Okinawan immigrants, and dreamed of creating a successful business in the “Land of Opportunity,” which is what Hawaii was to thousands of immigrants and their offspring.
We refer to each location by number, in the order that they were built. Beretania is our No. 8 store, while McCully is our No. 1 location, being the ﬁrst Times ever built on Oahu and Kahala location was the second. Hawaii is very diverse, the foot trafﬁc and clientele differs from each location and area they are in.
AL: What new offerings does Beretania location have to offer?
NR & AY: When customers ﬁrst walk into the store they’ll see a mochi station — which took the place of the old customer service kiosk — where mochi is prepared fresh. It’s very rare, to maybe even non-existent, to ﬁnd a mochi maker in a Hawaii supermarket setting here because of the growing grab-and-go trend. But at Times, we offer this special and fresh service, and we are keeping up with the demand!
Plus, our Beretania location has a lot of Japanese foot trafﬁc. We want to give the customers more options, more variety. We also expanded the bakery area, where we have a cookie warmer to keep all of our chocolate chip cookies fresh, that guests can smell as soon as they walk into the door.
Additionally, we expanded our self-serve salad bar, where we feature nishime, haupia, pasta salads, mac salad, greens and more. Dishes cost $8.99 by the pound for either cold or hot options.
We updated food service area, where we offer sushi and now smoked meat. Customers also have the option of indulging in Manapua, which is sold by the piece, baked and steamed char siu, bento and more.
Hot and ready!
Self-serve hot foods and salad bar ($8.99 per pound) open 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Hot foods item menu changes daily. Menu items include grilled steak (daily), beef brisket (daily), roast duck (daily), roast pork (daily). Other hot food menu items include chicken wings (daily), fried chicken thighs (daily), beef stew, kalua pig, lau lau, guava ribs, smoked ribs, mushroom chicken, hamburger steak, chicken long rice, corned beef cabbage, Italian salmon, fried rice, taki soba noodles, Okinawan sweet potato and more.
Self serve breakfast bar open 6-10:30 a.m., daily.
Breakfast items include scrambled eggs, fried rice, French toast, bacon, link sausage, Spam, ham, Portuguese sausage and more.
The food service buffet area is open 6-10:30 a.m. for breakfast and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. for lunch and dinner, daily