Do you hire smokers?

Several of my employees are smokers, and on their breaks must go to an outside designated smoking area to smoke. This is an area in the back and not where customers can view. The drivers ( if not busy) seem to hang out in this area a lot, the inside help seem to be taking a lot more smoking breaks then allowed. The area needs to be cleaned daily as most butts end up on the ground. There is a trash can for butts they don’t use it
It stays empty. This is a pain in the butt to clean but thats their job. :lol:

 Should I ban smoking altogether, and maybe lose some otherwise good employees? Should I let them continue to smoke as long as they clean up after themselves? Any thoughts out there?
 By the way I have a non smoking restaurant. 


Good luck. I have always had about half of my staff smoke. That is just the nature when you are getting full timers that don’t go to school and the like. If all they smoke is the legal stuff, I think you are ahead of the game. I am sure some will not agree with me but in my market, foget about it. They can go to any of about 50 places within a few square miles.

Try a one smoker at a time policy. Just explain to them that the privelage of smoking is becoming abused and that you feel this is the best way to limit the mess and absense of staff in the restaurant.
As for the drivers, I would say go hang flyers and you can smoke all you want.

I would not agree with Roller. My drivers are not allowed to smoke when they are driving cause they have signs on their cars. I would not suggest letting them smoke when they are passing out flyers with your shirts on.

Good point Guest, but Once the Drivers are in their own cars I know they will smoke if they want to, no matter what they have been told. Do you really think they are going to listen to you?

I didnt mean to imply that a driver should be walking up to a door in uniform with a cig hanging from his lips. I meant that while they were driving, they could choke one down.
Drivers are inherently lazy, and looking for the easy $$ job which requires little commitment and effort on their part. (NOT ALL DRIVERS BUT MOST) They will get in there car light a bowl, crank up the music, and drive like there in the movie FAST AND FURIOUS.
Hard line management will usually trigger an I QUIT, and the next hire is most likely a clone of whom who just got rid of.
Finessing them to compromise has always been the most productive solution for me.
Im sure there may be some geographical variations of the stereotypical pizza driver, but in my neck of the woods, they are usually Mid eastern, or Carribean, or the modern American Pothead.

All the posts on this subject seem to speak from real world experience. As a non-smoker, I certainly don’t want to be served a pizza, or have one delivered, by someone who is smoking. At the same time, we have to live in the real world. Most young people seem to smoke. I agree with Mike. Have an designated smoking area, out of view of customers, that smokers are REQUIRED to keep clean.

You can put me into the non-smoking room too. Lets not forget to have our employees wash their hands after coming back in from a “smoke break”. We have a pizzeria here where I live that has burn marks all over their wood top boxing table. Gee… I wonder how they got there? Then I went to the store to pick up some pizzas for an office meeting and I was treated to the sight of the employee making pizzas with a cigarette hanging from (in this case her) lips. Ugh! Yep, found a different place to get our pizzas from. I know this isn’t the same type of case, but the point is that smoking becomes such an everyday habit/occurance that the smokers tend to forget about that cigarette and where it is, and this is where the real problems can begin. I was recently in Guatemala wotking with a chicken and pizza chain called Pollo Campero. Everytime an employee came back into the production area after taking a break, or even going up front to help wait or bus tables they were at the sink washing their hands. I was impressed.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Roller is right about the steroetypical driver. I have really worked to get away from that a bit. I am much more careful in who I hire to drive than I used to be. No more driving shitboxes and smoking. My guys know if they are caught speeding or smoking that they are gone. We are busy so most of my guys like it here and stay for a few years. They have signs on their cars so it is really not that hard to police. If a family member of mine, other employees, or a customer calls for smoking or speeding we have a three strikes rule. I think as an industry we need to make a real effort in this area to make pizza delivery more professional. 50% of my business is delivery. That means to 50% of my customers my phone staff and delivery staff ARE the representation of my business. They never get to meet the owners face to face and have that connection. I really encourage drivers to get to know their customers names, their kids and pets names too. Whatever it takes to seperate you from the guy down the street and make it a more personal expierence for our delivery customers.

I follow what is prescribed in the labor code for breaks and the staff must log out for their breaks. I also only all a max of 2 on a break at a time. These rules are made clear when the employee is hired and I have never had a problem.

My staff are required to clean the common areas of the strip mall that I am in as part of their regular duties so they are careful about where they deposit their butts.

I am usually the one to say relax, but I am a bit offended. I own 3 shops, but at heart (as my screen name implies) I am always a driver.

Sure, half my drivers smoke, but smoking does not make them bad people. I have strict rules about smoking, and as a former smoker I try to make them reasonable as well.

What really has me ticked is the characterization that drivers are somehow lazy and irresponsible. Slackers exist everywhere, but being a driver does not make one lazy! I must be honest when I wonder how we as a group (owners) can hold the largest segment of our labor force in such contempt!

I think too often we focus on the exception. The true bums that occasionally slip past our interview process. As far as I am concerned, my drivers are the cream of the crop, and deserve my respect AND my sincere thanks! Every week, my drivers represent ME at 1,000 doorsteps.

If it were not for those drivers, I would not be here. They are the lifeblood of my company.

Well said!