How to rebuild a staff

Long timer reader/lurker, first time poster.

I have taken over a higher end pizza shop in the DC suburbs. The store was sitting around 5k a week, I have pushed the store to almost 8k a week. It has been quite rough, but I feel like I am almost there. The biggest problem I have is one I just cannot seem to fix: my staff. As I am sure many of you know, its a moving target that I just can not nail down. Here is the situation:

I took this store over in March of this year when I was promoted from a shift leader to junior general manager. When I got here, the store was being run by three shift leaders who fought each other non stop. With the store doing so poorly, they were afraid to hire another GM. Finally, they sent me in here to clean it up. When I got here, one of the three shift leads lost his mind and talked his way out the door. The other two are where I am having the trouble.

These two shift leads are solid cooks but not exactly business growing type material. The problem is, no matter what I say or what kind of rules I implement, I feel like I am getting just enough out of them for me to not want to fire them, but they are not up to my standard. These two have been here since the shop opened and have been through a couple of awful managers who trained them to have lower expectations. They also worked during the very slow growing period, when the store would do like 500-750 bucks a day at best. Now we are hitting more 1100-ish type days and they are doing just good enough to stay, but not anything like the crew from another store (same company) who has a higher volume.

Here is the other twist, after getting the inital house cleaning done when I arrived, I brought my wife in to help me get things tighter. We have a long term goal of doing something like this together, so we are using this chance to practice on someone else’s dime. So far so good. We are best friends and work very well together. She is an amazing pie cook and sets the bar much higher. One of these two shift leads is a younger woman who is in her party mode phase and always talks about going clubbing, being hungover, ect. She also has a way of acting like a baby around the other shift lead (who is my asstiant). This is driving my wife insnae, as she works real hard.

So, the question I have is who to get rid of these employees and train some new ones with a shoestring budget. Whenever I have a new person around, the rest of the staff all treat them poorly, as they all think that their hours are going to be cut. I was supposed to get a new store at first, and I was going to be able to hire and train a crew from scratch. This chance came up and I took it. How can I rebuild with the smallest amount of headaches?

Thanks for reading.

If the staff does not listen
Then u have to clean up and do it yourself until you put a new staff together.
Very simple. Sometimes u gotta jump back in line.
A lot of people are out of work u shouldn’t have a problem finding a new team.
Good luck

Too easy.

Take a week to communicate your standards. Make sure they are written and clearly understood by everyone. Strictly enforce the standard immediately. If that means firing, do not fire immediately, counsel the offenders, and give them time to adjust. Counsel them weekly (written), and if after six weeks, they’ve not adjusted, FIRE them! During this period, feel free to advertise vacancies and hire new people.

$1100/day ain’t bad, 2 people can do that easy.

The key message to give is your basic goal:

“I am here to increase the efficiency and productivity of this shop. I want to do that with this staff. I will do whatever I can to train, coach, and assist this staff in meeting these goals. Know now that I WILL increase the efficiency and productivity. Those who stay and grow will be rewarded and have job security. Those who are not committed to helping, are welcome to say so now with no harm/no foul. Those who are unwilling to grow the business will be asked to leave. Those who have troubles meeting my expectations will be given every opportunity with training, coaching and encouragement to meet the expectations. Teamwork, efficiency, and productivity are required of everyone who draws a paycheck from this company.”

To add to Nicks post. Make your expectations known. To just say you are going to increase productivity and efficiency with out concrete objectives leaves thing open to interpretation. I told my boss I wanted a raise and he gave me a penny per hour. If I had ask for a specific amount the results would have been much different.

Thanks for the responses. I have been pretty good about having a staff meeting every month. I have been working on these two shift lead/cook types for 8 months now. I just dont think they want to help build, they just simply want 40 hours. I can understand that, but I need to try an field a Super Bowl contending team to build up my store, not people who let my slice case look like shit after I leave. So for the record, if I took over 8 months ago and have been trying with the exisiting staff since I got here, if I just decided “enough is enough” and brought in some new blood, would that make me a bad person? Should I give these two veteran workers more time? That is what is killing me. I do not want to be ruthless, but my boss pays me well and pretty much leaves me alone, so I want to make sure I do everything I can to do my best.

Game on, Daddio! Definite performance production goals and expectations make it easier for employees to meet them. Goas should be

[size=5]S[/size]pecific detail is good here
[size=5]M[/size]easurable “faster pizza” is lame . . . “all pizzas produced/packaged 20 minutes of order time” is good
[size=5]A[/size]chievable Has to be within the skill and ability of the shop and staff given the resources and time
[size=5]R[/size]ealistic Has to be within the skill and ability of the shop and staff given the resources and time
[size=5]T[/size]imeframe Goals should always have a target timeframe for achievement

If you have an employee handbook/policy manual, then take some time to go over it with shift leaders and staff and set priorities and short term goals . . . and long term goals. LONG TERM: Increase the gross sales of the shop 20% in six months SHORT TERM GOALS: increase advertising volume, improve efficiency of production times (see ‘Measurable’ above), reduce food waste by 30%, generate 25 new customers per week, etc.

I’m jumping in with Nick and a couple of the other posts. I believe in giving the current staff a solid opportunity to grow with you, maybe 3 weeks instead of the 6 mentioned, and in that time have daily, hourly if necessary, head-butting sessions as needed.

If at the end of that retraining period your albatross-shift “leaders” are still not pulling it…man up and rehire. I think you may find it sooo much smoother to train new and NON-experienced help to follow your energetic lead.

Good luck, you seem to have all the right attitude and skill set buttons in place…now just don’t be afraid to push them!

Having a “Super Bowl” team sounds nice, but what’s the goal?

You’ve said what you and your wife’s goal is, but you haven’t said what the other people get if they help you achieve your goal.

Include the staff in the goals-setting process. Let them be part of the expectation and goals, and you might (might) get a better participation in achieving them. Then hope on the labor merry-go-round many of us live with.

Can I just make an observation… it seems like there are an quite a few chiefs and not enough indians in this operation. Everyone has a title on them…and as soon as you give someone that is not used to it a position of authority…well I think we all know where it leads. For a pizza shop doing $5-8k a week…we have a GM, a Junior GM, 3 shift leaders, your wife…that I am sure likes to think she is more than your line cook… it just seems like a lot of management for the size. You say you are in DC area…so not an inexpensive place too operate… but a store that was only doing $5k a week and it had 3 shift leaders and a GM and a JGM… damn that sounds like a corporate BS title… sorry. I guess I am curious just how much authority your bosses have given you and if you can walk in and fired the crew and start from scratch. I know plenty of managers that work the corporate world that would love to fire their worse headaches and still can’t/don’t because HR says so. There is always way too much BS to go through for them to realize that sometimes you have to fire the bad ones and not wait them out. Next question is with unemployment at its current level…finding workers should not be a problem…but again I fall back on $5k a week and your current employees. How much are they making? Can you afford to replace them with better? Your party girl shift-leader might be the best you get at $8 an hour. I just cannot see how it is currently running at $5k a week. Fill in some numbers if you would…and what type of operation you have. As Dave down under would say… “me confused” :stuck_out_tongue: Sorry Dave… I couldn’t resist after I read the “me thinks” sentence in another post.

@QFCMike You are correct in that there are/were too many chiefs and not enough indians. As of today, I am the GM, my assistant is a Shift lead, the party girl is another Shift lead, the rest are cooks or drivers. My wife cooks 6 short mornings (9-2 or 3), I open with her and work 6 mid shifts until roughly the end of dinner (8pm ish) and have one of my two SL and a driver wrap it up each night. The store now is starting to sit around 8800 a week and counting, not 5k anymore. I pay my main assistant 12, the party girl 10.50, no overtime. I make just a little more than my asstiant, but I get 10 hours of OT a week as part of my salary. Not the greatest, but I do get complete control and left alone by my DM and the owner. I am always 2 points under my direct labor budget and I come real close on food, but since my shop volume is lower, I toss alot more of my case pies so I dont have trash sitting in my case all day.

Again, thanks so much for the replies, this is giving me some awesome perspective.

I totally understand your desire not to be a “bad person” by perhaps unfairly terminating people. What you do to keep your own concience clear is to: First, spell out exactly what you expect, second, make sure one and only one person is responsible for a given responsibility, and thirdly, spell out exactly the punishment that will result if the goals are not reached. For example, don’t say, “If the windows aren’t clean in the morning, there will be hell to pay!”, instead say, " Bob, if the windows aren’t clean in the morning, you will be out of a job!"