Cater to my crew, you ask? You’re thinking, “In this economy my employees are lucky to have a job, lucky to get the check I give them.” Well, the truth is: So are we.
Generally speaking, the better result our crew gets the better bottom line we get. We’re lucky to have employees that are making the daily operation of our stores a reality. It is up to us to keep them tuned up, fueled up and regularly maintained. A restaurant is like an engine: Without every part running, things start to slip.
My name is Jacque Farrell and I co-founded and own Farrelli’s Wood Fire Pizza. We have five Farrelli’s stores and an Irish Pub called McNamara’s. We founded Farrelli’s in 1995 and are opening our sixth Farrelli’s next May. We employ close to 400 people, and I attribute a majority of our success to our crews. Yes, we have an outstanding product and a great business system. But our people make us special. We have cultivated an environment that fosters a healthy working family where employees take care of each other and our business.
The first step in catering to your crew is understanding and authentically believing that everyone is of equal importance and should be treated with respect and dignity. If a dishwasher feels slighted, do you think they are going to do their best to provide the cleanest dishware around? With spotty dishes and dirty silverware, your engine starts to slip. Even the best server or cook cannot do their job without clean, well-maintained dishes. It takes 100 percent teamwork to provide the best experience for your guests.
The solution? Keep your dishwasher happy! Don’t let that key cog in your operation be overlooked. In my seminar we will be covering many different scenarios and specifics you can take immediately back to your store. For example, at Farrelli’s we train our servers to also serve the dishwashers. It’s hot in a dish pit, so we instruct our servers to offer dishwashers cold drinks throughout their shift. We also train them to respectfully scrape their plates or, if they’re rushed, to acknowledge to the dishwasher how much they help them out. Just teaching servers to always say “please” and “thank you” goes a long way.
Why is Jacque so passionate about dishwashers? The answer is simple. Out of our six stores, four of the general managers were former dishwashers who began as teenagers. Three of my senior corporate managers also started out as dishwashers. With guidance and training, they are now my top leaders, all of whom have been with me for 10 years or more.
My seminar will tell you the stories of these amazing partners. I always hire character over skill; skills can be taught, character cannot. And some of that character will stay with your pizzerias. I’ll share the motivational practices that have allowed us to build a company with 100 percent of our leadership grown inside our stores. With them, we’ve refined ways to have our crews hold each other accountable through positive peer pressure. (Note: That happy young man busing dishes in the accompanying photo is none other than Clayton Krueger, who has become our director of marketing and communications and will be giving his own presentations at the next Pizza Expo.)
Fun is one of our values at Farrelli’s because we’re convinced that happy people make better crews. I’ll introduce you to Kitchen Bingo, one of the ways we amuse ourselves. We create cards and offer a prize to the winner. The prize might be, for example, the right of the winner to write his or her own schedule that week. The catch is this: The squares are filled with extra jobs beyond the staff’s regular duties, such as tossing dough in front of guests for five minutes or cleaning the rock around the wood-fire oven. We get extra work done, but they’re happy to do it because we’re making it fun!
I’ll have leaders from my teams at the Pizza Expo seminars to answer questions and share stories. You’ll see videos with examples and interviews from our crew on what motivates them and what inspires them to represent our brand with authenticity.
I look forward to meeting all of you and it is my personal goal that each person attending will go home with at least one great idea to enhance their work environment, lower employee turnover and increase profits to your bottom line!
See Jacque Farrell at International Pizza Expo® / Click Here to Register for Expo
Jacque Farrell helped her parents launch Farrelli’s Wood Fire Pizza in 1995 in Tacoma, Wash., and since then has hired and trained the staff to support the company’s growth to six stores, with more planned in the future. She’ll give a seminar on “Catering to Your Number-One Guest: Your Crew” at Pizza Expo 2012, once during special pre-show programming for new attendees and again during regular show days.