H-E-B to open Austin tech facility in 2019

Sami Sparber

Students hunting for work in Austin after graduation will be able to apply for employment at a new H-E-B technology facility, set for completion in the spring.

Last week the San Antonio-based company announced plans to transform an East Austin warehouse into an innovation hub for its digital retail team. The 81,000 square-foot facility will also function as the corporate headquarters for Favor, the Austin-based food delivery service owned by H-E-B.

“This state of the art space will be a hub for creativity and innovation as we continue to develop the ultimate digital experience for our customers,” said Jag Bath, H-E-B chief digital officer and Favor CEO and president, in a statement. “Bringing H-E-B and Favor closer together will allow us to promote collaboration between our two companies as we strengthen our commitment to building out H-E-B’s omnichannel services.” 

The new H-E-B facility will bring with it several hundred jobs to the city’s economy, according to the press release. Marketing lecturer Ben Bentzin said UT students hoping to stay in Austin after graduation will likely be enticed at the prospect of working at the new facility. 

“This is great news for students who would like to stay in Austin long-term,” Bentzin said. “H-E-B is based in San Antonio, so up until now, if you wanted to work for their corporate offices, your only option was to move there. Now, students have new employment opportunities here in Austin with a great employer.”

Bentzin said he was not surprised H-E-B chose Austin over San Antonio or other Texas cities for its new tech hub. The city’s overall atmosphere and proximity to a world-class university make Austin a no-brainer, Bentzin said.

“With all of our talented and well-trained undergraduate and graduate students, UT is an attractive employee base for companies looking to locate to Austin,” Bentzin said. “Austin’s culture and lifestyle is also attractive to employers, because companies want to locate places where employees enjoy living and are likely to stay.”

Marketing administration professor Raji Srinivasan said H-E-B is likely building the facility in response to Amazon’s increased share in the grocery delivery service world.

“This is a play on H-E-B’s part to compete more directly with Amazon, a company that is completely tech-driven,” Srinivasan said. “H-E-B is a well-managed company with good marketing. Now they just have to figure out how to beat Amazon.”