September 20, 2012 |


By Scott Anthony

My manager’s paycheck and my driver’s tips last week both were more than I took home as the pizzeria’s owner. I logged as many hours as both of them, but I don’t have a steady income (sometimes I don’t even make minimum wage). Sound familiar? Many operators relate to this scenario. Why? One forgotten factor is that operators delegate compensation, but not accountability. Who gets the tip for getting that big order out on time? It is delivery driver Joe. But while helping to prepare the order, who paid for the wings Joe dropped, or the smashed tomato at the bottom of the case that we couldn’t use in the salad? All too often the business owner bears the burden of the world as his profits are thrown in the trash.

Let your staff share the accountability. How, you ask? Consider trying a weight chart. Post it by the makeline for all to see. Every time a pizza, sandwich or stromboli is made incorrectly, note it on the chart, along with its value and the identity of the person who made the error. Each time I find a smashed bun or produce gone bad, it is duly noted along with its cost and whose responsibility it was to check in the order, rotate stock and so on.

Daily, if possible, I review and total how much of my money was wasted. I now have the ability to make sure it does not happen again. Was a pizza made incorrectly because our new hire could not take an order properly or read the ticket? Was the crew just goofing off? Do I need to improve my management skills? Do I need to have a better training system?

How about that moldy bun or rotten produce? Does my stock need rotated properly? Did my manager order too much? Am I receiving outdated product? The answers to these questions will point to the problem that needs fixing. Now, I can fill my wallet instead of my dumpster.

The Waste Chart instills in employees a sense of pride and responsibility. How many times would you want your name up there? If it were up there regularly, would you still have a job? I have found that equating ‘Oops!’ into dollars opens eyes. Letting employees know how much they cost you puts them on their best behavior.

I also utilize a Driver’s Performance Chart. Each week, I use my POS system to post a list of my drivers’ performance by the schedule. This allows my staff to see who is the fastest, who took the most deliveries, etc. Once again, no one wants to be last.

What does this tell me about my drivers? Is Graham on his cell phone instead of getting to and from his deliveries? Does he have no sense of direction? Am I bad at giving directions? Was there no phone number on the delivery ticket? Now my drivers are motivated to safely compete for the coveted top position, and I am able to make sure they have the tools to succeed.

The Waste Chart and Driver’s Performance Chart are two tools any pizzeria operator can use to their advantage — and we need all the advantages we can get!