Author Topic: so you think running a pizzeria is tough??  (Read 2111 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline waltertore

  • Vendor
  • *
  • Posts: 1299
  • Location: granville ohio
    • The Smiling With Hope Bakery
so you think running a pizzeria is tough??
« on: May 23, 2013, 07:56:48 AM »
Many of you here know I am a special education teacher at the high school level and have created a full time wholesale/retail bakery/pizzaria/bagel shop that serves upwards of 10,000 people a week.  My classroom is located in the high school and we are thus subject to all the things that go on in a school.    These include planned fire drills//lockdown drills, more than I want to count bomb threats, fire alarms pulled, continually changing bell schedules (affect my students lunch period) and on top of that my students by in large come to me with behavioral issues.  Put all this together and it is often a trainwreck.   I am typing this as we sit in darkness.   The police are going through the entire school with drug searching dogs.  All students  had to put their backpacks/coats out in the hall and we sit  here in silence.  This can take upwards of an hour or more.  Bomb threats  have taken upwards of a few hours and when there is a dangerous person loose in the area we have to hide in our pantry.   This  took all day once.  So,  we  have to stop in midstream with our production, turn off all cooking/baking activities.  Yet we have customers coming in to pick up or we need to deliver things by set times.  These places range from school districts, universities, cafes, and other such places that are selling our products to thier customers.  It is a tense scene when I have to say this days stuff is not happening..............   I wish we were on an off site location and free of all this stuff.   Today our bread production is suspened in mid mix, our cookies/brownies are turned off in the ovens 1/2 cooked.   Luckily our baguette order (70 loaves) are rising.................  Pizza doughs are not out of the fridge yet and luckily we shredded cheese, sliced pepperoni, and made sauce before the lockdown today.   We have to be self sustaining.  The school district pays our utilities and provides the space.   We  have to provide and maintain everything with our profits.  These events often result in a complete days work going in the dumpster.    Sometimes I want to quit this scene, open my own little shop, employ a couple of my former students, make pizzas, breads, bagels.    I can't count how many times in the middle of peak production a student goes off and I have to deal with it and still keep my mind on 2 blodgett 1000 ovens full of pizza, breads, bagels, 2 stacked convection ovens full of baked goods, other students putting together 3-10 recipes, and often an administrator calling me into the hall because a parent is upset with something.  Schools are becoming an ever increasing bummer to work in.  Pressures to put my students in all academic classes (taught at the 1-3 rd grad level and they are 18-21) most of the day are always trying to take over.  Yet there are no academic based jobs in our society for skills at this level and conversly there are endless entry level jobs my student can attain with the skills they learn in the bakery.  I have to jump endless hoops to legitimize what I do as well as do 30-100 pages of paperworkl on each student, deal with insane parents.    The list goes on but I will stop here.   SO YOU THINK RUNNING A PIZZA SHOP IS ROUGH?  TRY MY GIG SOMETIME :chef:  Luckily summer vacation starts next week and tomorrow is our last day of working in the bakery.  Walter


1 hour later we are back to "normal"
http://www.newarkcityschools.org/content_page2.aspx?cid=1032
« Last Edit: May 23, 2013, 08:41:56 AM by waltertore »


Offline grathan

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 59
Re: so you think running a pizzeria is tough??
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2013, 08:53:20 AM »
Sounds like a great experience for the students though.

Offline Jackie Tran

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 6968
  • Location: Albuquerque NM
Re: so you think running a pizzeria is tough??
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2013, 09:14:24 AM »
Walter, thanks for giving us a peak into your everyday life.  It sounds extremely busy and stressful.  Yes much harder than just running a pizzeria since there are all the hassles of working in a school.  When I have to coordinate and make pizzas for a family party, I am totally focused.  I couldn't imagine being distracted with bomb threats, lockdowns, firedrills, and a helper just wondering off.  That would drive me insane!!!   :-D

Offline waltertore

  • Vendor
  • *
  • Posts: 1299
  • Location: granville ohio
    • The Smiling With Hope Bakery
Re: so you think running a pizzeria is tough??
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2013, 09:58:24 AM »
I had a rough morning and it felt good to type it out as we sat in silence.   Overall the program is running great and we are getting a lot of state and national attention.  My students are finding employment which is unheard of.  My population has close to a 100% unemployment rate as adults.  I have 3 working this summer out of 9 so I feel like I have already exceeded the wildest expectations.  Wearing a lot of hats has been my life.  I just have to take a breath and laugh alot :-D   Walter

Offline norma427

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 21145
  • Location: Lancaster County, Pa.
    • learningknowledgetomakepizza
Re: so you think running a pizzeria is tough??
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2013, 10:38:44 AM »
Walter,

I can't even imagine what is like to deal with all that you do.  Congrats for all that you do for your students!  I have a granddaughter that has learning problems, but she sure wasn't the challenge that you have to go though almost everyday.  The hat is off to you!  :chef:

Norma 
Always working and looking for new information!

Offline slybarman

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1009
  • Location: Maryland
Re: so you think running a pizzeria is tough??
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2013, 11:07:04 AM »
Keep on keeping on. I could not do what you do.

Offline Serpentelli

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1129
  • Age: 48
  • Location: Wilmington, NC
Re: so you think running a pizzeria is tough??
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2013, 11:14:58 AM »
I had a rough morning and it felt good to type it out as we sat in silence.   Overall the program is running great and we are getting a lot of state and national attention.  My students are finding employment which is unheard of.  My population has close to a 100% unemployment rate as adults.  I have 3 working this summer out of 9 so I feel like I have already exceeded the wildest expectations.  Wearing a lot of hats has been my life.  I just have to take a breath and laugh alot :-D   Walter

Walter,

What you are doing is so much more involved, on so many different levels, than simply running a bakery with "off-the-street" employees. It is easy for people on the outside of your situation (such as me) to look at all the positives in your narrative and think, "Boy! What a great thing Walter is doing, and wouldn't it be great to do the same thing elsewhere! Such as here!"

And then when I hear you talking about all of the variables that you have to face in addition to humidity, product waste, supply chain issues, etc. it really gives me pause... "What would I do to help my employee with autism deal with a high stress situation? How would I tell an employee with Down syndrome that it was OK that they measured wrong and 100 lbs of dough was ruined?..."

You are all at once an educator, care-giver, baker, psychologist, and special-needs expert. Whether you have to wear those hats one at a time or simultaneously you have put yourself in a position of great trust, honor, and responsibility for many individuals.

I'm not sure I have any advice that I can give you other than to say make sure you have one OR MORE real human beings that you can talk with on a regular basis. I am a physician and I could not imagine practicing "solo". There are just too many days when things aren't going right, or an outcome fails to meet expectations, or things just suck where if I didn't have a partner to discuss things with I would probably go berserk! My staff can't comiserate with me; my wife can't really understand my concerns, etc, and so-on and so-forth.

Venting on this forum is an "OK" means of getting support, but although we are here with words and moral support,  at the end of the day none of us can sit down with you face-to-face and just chat about things. And those types of interactions are indispensable for a person in your position.

God Bless you and I hope you get some much needed rest during the summer!

John K

Offline waltertore

  • Vendor
  • *
  • Posts: 1299
  • Location: granville ohio
    • The Smiling With Hope Bakery
Re: so you think running a pizzeria is tough??
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2013, 02:18:06 PM »
I appreciate the support!   Being stuck in one of these lockdowns is a drag and I was lucky to be able to use my computer.  Usually they are for intruders/dangerous stuff going on in the neighborhood.  Luckily this was just a drug sweep.   Our school has one of the lowest graduation rates in Ohio so there is often a lot of negative stuff going on.   I love it.  Working with those that are born into multi generations of poverty is very rewarding.   

I do have people to talk to and  yes I would flip without that, my music which I do most everyday, riding my bicycle to work, and a lovely wife of 33 years.  I invite anyone on this forum to stop in anytime for a visit.   We love visitors at our bakery.    The day ended beautifully.  Lots of sadness with goodbyes to my graduating seniors.  Life is all about hellos and goodbyes.   Here is a link to over 5,000 of my songs.   If you dig it go to the widget link and it streams my most current 200 songs.  My  music has kept me alive and continues to be my source of rejuvination.   I have had a wonderful life so far.  Walter

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=157137

Offline jeffereynelson

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1216
  • Location: Los Angeles
Re: so you think running a pizzeria is tough??
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2013, 04:44:51 PM »
I agree that giving students an actual skill can be very helpful for the students. It would be neat if more school did this. I remember watching a restaurant impossible episode where a school high school in Ohio ran a restaurant and the students could apply the for class. That seemed really cool to me. I wonder how they dealt with all these same problems and having customers sitting down in the restaurant for lunch? Maybe they just had to close on days with some type of drill.

Offline waltertore

  • Vendor
  • *
  • Posts: 1299
  • Location: granville ohio
    • The Smiling With Hope Bakery
Re: so you think running a pizzeria is tough??
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2013, 09:03:42 AM »
I agree that giving students an actual skill can be very helpful for the students. It would be neat if more school did this. I remember watching a restaurant impossible episode where a school high school in Ohio ran a restaurant and the students could apply the for class. That seemed really cool to me. I wonder how they dealt with all these same problems and having customers sitting down in the restaurant for lunch? Maybe they just had to close on days with some type of drill.


Where there once was actual vocational shops on each middle and high school campus today they are gone.  What has replaced them is vocational schools.  These serve an entire school district or in our case 1/2 dozen or so districts.   They have also become highly competitive.  Special needs students rarely qualify.   The saddest part is many regular education students on regular high school campuses have no interest in the college track.  They fail and thus are not qualified for what they want to do-vocational training.  In a district like mine it results in like a 68% graduation rate.  I am not sure how they structure their fire drills, lockdown drills, tornado drills, testing schedules, but I image they meet as a staff and come up with times that are least disruptive to the various working businesses that on these campuses such as restaurants, beauty saloons, etc.   But they are legally mandated to do these drills and if there is a threat in the vicinity the school will go into lockdown.  Customers will have to do so as well.   Schools sure ain't what they use to be.........   Walter

yesterday we had an order for 25 pizzas.  Right in the middle of it the entire counseling dept, principal, and assistant principals came into my room and said they needed to open the large window that opens to the cafeteria and hand out student schedules for next year.  Of course they came in a minute before they needed it open.   We had  pies in the ovens and I  had to stop and search for the key to the window.  It turns out someone stole the 2 folding tables that sit outside our room that are normally used for such things.  So for 3-45 minute lunch periods our room was invaded by 1,500 anxious students waiting to get their schedules for next year.   The good news is with the window open many were staring at us make pizzas-something kids here only see on tv.  Seeing my students doing real/meanigful work instead of being located in dark corners of schools, doors closed, doing 1-2nd grade worksheets as 18 year olds with 50% accuracy, and a lifetime of nothingness as adults, makes it all ok.   I am on a missionary type thing and the good vibes of this helps me get use to this stuff and it will make my retirement pizzeria that will employ only me making everything, my wife as cashier and bookeeper, and a special needs adult for cleanup and some prep work, a walk in the park :-D
« Last Edit: May 25, 2013, 09:57:08 AM by waltertore »


Offline Chicago Bob

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 9609
  • Location: North Carolina
  • Easy peazzy
Re: so you think running a pizzeria is tough??
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2013, 11:56:38 PM »
Sounds like the Administrators are forgetting to wear their Educators caps. You should have some help in there Walter. Even if only a teachers aide or two; minimum.
I would start mentioning that in the interviews you are probably giving ; due to the ever increasing awareness of your program.

Bob
"Care Free Highway...let me slip away on you"

Offline waltertore

  • Vendor
  • *
  • Posts: 1299
  • Location: granville ohio
    • The Smiling With Hope Bakery
Re: so you think running a pizzeria is tough??
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2013, 10:59:38 AM »
Sounds like the Administrators are forgetting to wear their Educators caps. You should have some help in there Walter. Even if only a teachers aide or two; minimum.
I would start mentioning that in the interviews you are probably giving ; due to the ever increasing awareness of your program.

Bob

I hear you Bob.  I had a full time assistant but asked to have her removed from my room.  She was with me 3 years and had yet to master a single recipe.   I can't tell you how many batches of stuff I have had to throw out, burned up.    Because we are a union workplace they moved her to another room but can't fire her.  Thus there is no one to take her place.  The few other aides I could choose to replace here are worse.  This is why when I open my own pizzaria I will do the making by myself and keep it within comfortable limits.  I wish I could hire my #1 student.  She outperformed my paid aide within a day of being in my room.  I remember we were making 50 pizzas for an event.  Paige, my student and myself were making and baking the pizzas.  My paid aide was putting the boxes together......  Luckily my students have stepped up and the negative energy my aide constantly brought in the room is gone and we are finishing up quicker without her.  Also as soon as I kicked  her out several adults from the community who have culinary experience appeared.  It was another lesson in letting go of negative stuff to make room for positive stuff.    Walter
« Last Edit: May 26, 2013, 11:01:10 AM by waltertore »

Offline Serpentelli

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1129
  • Age: 48
  • Location: Wilmington, NC
Re: so you think running a pizzeria is tough??
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2013, 11:09:57 AM »
Luckily my students have stepped up and the negative energy my aide constantly brought in the room is gone and we are finishing up quicker without her.  Also as soon as I kicked  her out several adults from the community who have culinary experience appeared.  It was another lesson in letting go of negative stuff to make room for positive stuff. 

And those several people will start talking with several of their friends...... :)

Good things are coming Walter. I am sure of it!

John K

Offline steven.fisher

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 28
    • How to make pizza
Re: so you think running a pizzeria is tough??
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2013, 12:01:13 PM »
Doing good Walter! You actually CARE and that counts at the end!

Offline waltertore

  • Vendor
  • *
  • Posts: 1299
  • Location: granville ohio
    • The Smiling With Hope Bakery
Re: so you think running a pizzeria is tough??
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2013, 03:51:20 PM »
thanks guys!  we wound up another school year today.   3 of my 9 students have part time work this summer.   With this population being close to 100% unemployed I feel very grateful for this.  My main pizza/bread maker is working 20 hours a week at the Sparta coffee bar.  She will be making bread and assisting the chef in the kitchen.   We make bread for the Sparta and she will be hand kneading loaf cinnamon raisin and plain bread so they don't have to search for another bread supplier.  More people have helped our bakery/pizzaria than I can ever list.  The most recent support is coming via Denison University students in the teacher training program.  They will be volunteering next school year.  This will really help me.  The pizza ovens will go cold for the summer break other than an occasional day here and there with me in there experimenting with new ideas.  We served approx 7,000-10,000 customers a week and didn't take one dime of $ from the school district to run the program.  We did this with 9 Developmentally  Delayed students.   These people have so much to offer our society and I hope we create more opportunities for them to do meaningful work.   Walter
« Last Edit: May 29, 2013, 03:58:23 PM by waltertore »

Offline Peasant

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 56
  • Location: NYC
Re: so you think running a pizzeria is tough??
« Reply #15 on: May 30, 2013, 11:26:55 AM »
As much as it would hurt your program, sounds like you could definitely go off on your own to bake if that makes you happier.


 

pizzapan