"Drama" in the pizzeria... what to do about it?

Ok, my shop is small, 1,000 sq. ft with 40 dine-in seats and a kitchen thats 20’x20’. We run though about 100 tickets a day… so it’s pretty good. However the problems i’m having, is with my staff. Everyday it’s something new… this one’s got a problem with that one, that one’s got a problem with these 2… and so on.

And YES, this IS effecting my product. Once I find out who is causeing the majority of the problems they are quickly terminated, and a new hire is put in their place.

I run though about 4 people every 2 months. Dosent sound bad, but my staff is only around 9-11 people (including the 4-5 drivers I have).

I have rules, regulations, also camera’s & POS system for security…

Is it just my shop, or do most other shop’s have this problem as well?

I’ve gone from Teenagers (16-20) to adults (21-50) and still, there are problems.

When I go to resturants like Chili’s, pizza hut, applebees… I never see anything majorly wrong, i don’t see people complaining about one another…

Any ideas?

Thanks all!

Re: “Drama” in the pizzeria… what to do about it

Okay, I’ll tell you how I handle things in my shop and maybe you might be able to find something you can take from it.

Firstly, and most importantly, it starts at the top… with me. I treat everyone professionally, with respect, and demand that from my crew. Yes, every now and then a little tiff will start to erupt but I quickly put out that fire by telling the “tiff starter”, "That does not happen in our shop. We are all adults and we will treat each other with respect. If you’ve got a problem with something someone is doing, you need to go to that person and talk to them about your problem and work out a solution for that problem. If you can’t come up with a solution then I’ll get involved and we’ll come up with a solution together.

Another big thing is the interview process. You’ve got to find the right crew that fits your style of management. I’m a control freak. I’m constantly talking to the crew during a shift (always saying “sir” and “ma’am” and “thank you” and “good job” to my people) as I direct the flow of the store. When I hire I look for bright people who (and trust me there’s some that don’t) have a desire to work hard and learn in an environment that’s conducive to learning.

In a rush environment, communication is always important and I’ve set a precedent in the store that’s followed religiously: pizza slapper always talks to saucer, saucer always talks to makeline, oven tender always grades pizzas and communicates this back to the production people. The delivery drivers know that the rule is one at a time unless otherwise specified by the manager in charge (which most times doubles ARE allowed… we just don’t want to run into problems with “delivery hogs”, as I’m sure most of you guys have a couple in each and every store).

The crew are always pushed to do the best job they can and they’re ALWAYS complimented on a job well done. This creates teamwork and they really feel they’re a part of a team… or even a 2nd family if you will.

We always have extra-curricular activities, such as parades, a Christmas party (last week), meetings, doorhanging parties, etc. I never tell anyone to do anything I wouldn’t do and I always ask for input on things that I might need help with. I’m also very straightforward when it comes to sales in the store, sales goals to be accomplished, and records that we’ve accomplished or potential records that we have a chance to accomplish. This creates an ownership by these guys and they thrive on it. They actually come up to me and ask if they can help with things.

I’m not saying I’m a great operator, and please don’t think I’m bragging because I know this post seems to come off that way. These were not original ideas that I’ve come up with. I’ve just been fortunate enough to have served under some pretty good managers in my career and these are the things that they taught me. I’ve given you examples because maybe some of these things can help you in your store.

So, always be positive. Always treat your people professionally and demand the same from your crew. Never talk about anyone and never let anyone talk about others. Ask for input when input is needed. Always, always make them feel like they’re a part of something special. And finally, in the interview process, make sure you hire the right people for you. Hope this helps. -J_r0kk

Re: “Drama” in the pizzeria… what to do about it

I try to run my shop the same way. No employee ever ends their shift, when I am there, without a “Thank You for your help. I could not have done this with out you.”

Re: “Drama” in the pizzeria… what to do about it

Everyone that works for me knows that we INSIST upon having a positive working enviorment. When you achieve this, it makes a world of difference and everyone that walks through your front door will be able to ‘feel’ the positive energy in your shop.
It does start with you. You MUST be positive and up beat all the time. Even when you’re having a horrible day. We do not allow any negative comments or talking about people when they’re not around.
We encourage teamwork, praise good work and in cases where we need to discipline we state the negative and emphasize the positive. Ex: “Hey Jim, we’re going to have to write you up for being late today. Everyone likes you and you do good work. Be sure to call next time and let us know so we can plan for it. Plus it’ll take the stress off of you being late.” All said in a upbeat, optimistic tone.
Communication and team work are key. There is nothing greater than getting slammed on a Friday night and watching your crew pull it all together. Friday nights during peak rush, the only thing you can hear are instructions and feedback. Makeline: “Timed order #113 going in the oven” Cut table: Got it. Makeline to stretch table: “I need 3 breadsticks and a pepperoni stick.” Stretch: " Working."
Good gravy that gets me pumped up !!! I know I went off the subject alittle but in the whole scheme of things it’s also your answer…

Find people that will ‘fit’ your team.

Let them know what your expectations are.

Train them well and give them all the tools they need to do a good job.

Communicate effectively while insisting upon a positive attitude.(There have been times where things are going good and a driver comes in mad about something and I grab him and just send him home. You can have 8 people working with a great attitude and have jut ONE person come in and ruin everyones night with a bad one.)

Be consistent with discipline, while maintaining a optimistic outlook.

Praise, Thank and Respect your employees.

Re: “Drama” in the pizzeria… what to do about it

This should make you feel better: we have about 1500 sqft and set 8 so most of our sales are takeout and delivery. We average 8-11 employees.

After 90 days in business, we still have about 10 employees and 28 former employees - never more than 11 at any one time so that tells you the turnover. Part is quitting and part is firing. We’ve had direct theft, un-paid-for food, no-shows and excessive call-in and tardy.

We would probably really enjoy owning this business if it weren’t for the employees!

Re: “Drama” in the pizzeria… what to do about it

I know what your saying Tiredpizzamaker, the employees are unreal.

Thanks everyone for letting me know how you run your shops… I will try and keep the mentality positive and keep control of the negitive comments… may be difficult with this crew as they are already “settled in” but it’s time to shake things up.

Any other ideas to add, let me know!

Thanks all!

Re: “Drama” in the pizzeria… what to do about it

Sometimes it’s better to give birth than it is to raise the dead.

Re: “Drama” in the pizzeria… what to do about it

lol, i’ve already put that theory to the test around here. Dosent work to well. The second anyone becomes “friends” or gets “comfortable” it all goes back to the same old crap. :?

Re: “Drama” in the pizzeria… what to do about it

That sucks.

Something you might consider doing, along with all the great advice already given, is implimenting a “No Gossip” policy. I’ve heard of this done in the Tanning industry. You draught up a contract and sit down with everyone and explain that you want a happy healthy environment, and that means no gossip and no backstabbing. Then, you give each employee the contract to sign.
If everyone starts on the same page they’ll be happy to participate.
If they start bickering with you about “he said this and she said that” just say if they don’t agree with the new policy, perhaps they should find somewhere else that will suit them better.

Good luck!

Re: “Drama” in the pizzeria… what to do about it

good idea… i’ll try and find something of that nature on-line and modify it.

do you know of any good places that already have these types of contracts?

Thanks again all!