2012 May: Ask Big Dave

I want to stop living in my business, but I don’t have a manager I can count on. I go on vacation for a few days, and I have hell to pay when I get back. I know I’m not the only one in this boat. How do I get out of it?

Dominic Maggiore
Sarasota, Florida
via Facebook

You are right, Dominic: You aren’t alone. But it’s time to get out from behind the apron and work ON your business, not IN it. That’s a big step towards freedom. You know, the reason you went into business for yourself in the first place. I wanted to make sure my managers were fully committed. I did so with various incentives. One winning idea is to give them a piece of the pie. Regardless of how you do it, I recommend you make your managers read and sign a written “Manager Commitment Agreement.” Below is a copy of the one I used in my pizzeria.u

Your Pizzeria Manager Commitment Agreement

The first thing that I will ask of all managers is to take some time to consider if this is the job for them. Do you like being a manager? Will you be able to do what is necessary? Do you have what it takes to get the job done? If you answer no to any of these questions, I ask that you do not sign this form and pursue employment elsewhere. There will be no hard feelings, I completely understand that some jobs are not for some people.

• I understand that being a manager is something that I feel that I am cut out for. I feel that I have what it takes to keep Your Pizzeria going strong and smooth.

• I understand that a portion of my pay is tied to store performance (such as labor cost, food cost, and delivery times) in the form of a monthly bonus. I feel that this is fair method to ensure that I and my fellow managers will do our jobs.

• I promise to give 110% at all times I am on the clock.

• I will hustle at all times.

• I will demand nothing less than 110% from all the employees that work for me.

• I will have one goal while working.

• I make the absolute best pizza, as fast, profitably, safely, and fun as possible.

• I will leave all of my personal problems at the door.

• I will come to work with a positive attitude everyday.

• I will come to work on time everyday.

• I will treat all employees with respect and fairness, but I will also demand their respect.

• I will not engage in petty arguing, gossiping, or back biting.

• I will not turn a blind eye to any unacceptable behavior or performance.

• I will report any theft, abuse of power, slacking, or the like immediately.

• I will spend all my time productively while on the clock.

• I will answer my phone when on call.

• I will cover shifts as needed.

• I will conserve utilities, conserve labor, and use food wisely.

• I will do everything within my power to keep Your Pizzeria a profitable, lean, efficient, fun, and fast paced company.

Big Dave Ostrander owned a highly successful independent pizzeria before becoming a consultant, speaker and internationally sought-after trainer. He is a monthly contributor to Pizza Today.