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Author Topic: How do we solve the employment crisis? Ideas provided and welcomed.  (Read 1615 times)

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Offline Whatsgooddough

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I speak to a lot of pizzamakers and this labor problem is a huge issue and I would love to workshop ideas with folks. As a point of reference, in addition to being a pizza podcaster, I am a labor union rep and negotiate for city and county municipalities. I also run a dance company that employed 7 employees prior to the pandemic.

From what I'm gathering, people aren't going back to work NOT because of government support. I think two things are happing.

1. Families don't need the money- Some spouses, and/or parents got a pay bump by switching jobs and so less income is needed in the total household.

2. (What I think is the most apparent) People have more options today and food service is at that bottom of that options list.

As someone who has been working since 16, I was limited in what I could do to make income. My first job was at a theme park and my first side hustle was selling my employee tickets to said theme park while on my lunch break. Back then I didn't have uber or door dash where I could make money on my own time. I couldn't make money from home doing freelance work or gambling investing online through trading. As someone who personally hires contractors today on fiverr, I'm certain the gig economy isn't going anywhere. So what do we do?

For those going into business, I think it makes sense to either build as a soloprenuer OR consider partnering with folks and relying on said partners to can help with the heavy lift. This means building a business that doesn't allow either of you to take home a lot of cash today, but perhaps builds a brand that can grow and pays dividends later on. Also consider having a bigger capital investment at the onset to buy equipment that helps automate certain processes like dough dividers or spiral mixers.

For those who are already in business and I assume that's most people on here, I think the question is how do we better incentivize staff? When I look for staff, I look for people who are interested in the work and want to learn and grow. But what if that list has run dry? How do people feel about giving up equity or even just bonuses to employees? That way, they have something to look forward to and work towards.

I'd love to hear people's thoughts on this.
The What's Good Dough Podcast talks to pizza makers about how they built their pizzerias and social followings.

Check out my episode with Brian Spangler who talks about dabbling with the pizza he grew up with (not the stuff he sells every day):
https://open.spotify.com/episode/26fllQ5glSXBbflH2pWv8s

Check out my episode with Craig from June's pizza who blew up in the pandemic and then got shut down by the health department:
https://open.spotify.com/episode/3sjrxkmeQfk0dmmUec36gi?si=CGk62UkxRjqqeFbPG8nYe

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: How do we solve the employment crisis? Ideas provided and welcomed.
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2022, 04:42:12 PM »
This is one of those topics that has a super high chance of going sideways.
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Offline waltertore

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Re: How do we solve the employment crisis? Ideas provided and welcomed.
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2022, 04:55:18 PM »
I grew up in the pizza scene, 15 minutes outside NYC in the Newark NJ area.   This is where pizza in the USA started and what people have lost sight of today is these pizzerias were all family owned and family run.  They were also small and didn't sell booze, sides.  My mother came from Italy, and they worked like dogs to build a better life for their children.  That is where the pizzerias started to decline IMO.  The kids, my generation, were not 100% onboard with making pizza and many parents were dead set on them not doing it and going to college.  Still, the culture for pizza was deep and employees were found that would work their entire careers in these shops.  They made enough money to live a good life for their families. 

Today, big is better, more is better, fame is the best.  In my day we only knew pizza in our neighborhoods.  No Cable/dish, computer.  Things were still regional, and the migratory nature of today's workers was not the norm.  Things started going south IMO in NYC when the price to live there went beyond a 6 figure paycheck.  The Metro NJ has lagged behind but is now getting beyond what most pizza places could pay to keep lifelong employees. 

My friends that own pizzerias in big cities today are always looking for employees.  For this reason, my wife and I decided to make our shop a throwback to what I grew up in.  We just sold the shop, both of us are in our late 60's, but here is how we ran it.  I would shop for produce each day/make every dough/ make every prep/ opened, baked every pizza, by myself.  Judy did the books, ran the register, made the salad, answered the phone.  Check out our menu - probably the simplest pizzeria menu in the country.  We had 3 employees that would show up 15 minutes before we opened.  They would put toppings on pies, cut/box, serve, cleanup.  That amounted to about 30 hours a week in total payroll.  Our reputation was strong for consistent pizza and great customer service.  With that said, we paid them $9/hr and with tips they earned $30-33/hr.  We were able to hire the old schoolwork ethic, A personality people, most in our just out of college and figuring the next step of their life.

With Judy and I onsite all hours, we kept the vibe as we wanted it to be. If we were sick we closed as no one knew how to make pizza but me. Judy took orders starting at 3pm on the phone and scheduled pickup times on the quarter hour starting at 5pm.  We sold out of dough most nights before we opened.  That made for an easy workflow. 

No offense, but today's pizzerias and most restaurants, are wildly inconsistent with food and service.  We would get travelers from all over the country who were pizza lovers and most all said we should move to their cities (NYC, SF, LA, Chicago, etc) and we would destroy the scene.  Sounded good to them but when we explained we would go broke in a month doing it our way in the big towns due to crazy rents, costs of living. 

My mother, 94 this year, is from Italy.  She always says 2 things survive any depression - the small pizzeria and Chinese Restaurant.  During the pandemic we could have sold 500 pies a night (something we couldn't do).  All said and done, the old model of mom-and-pop run shops still is very profitable in the right location.  We made a great living doing it here in Reno, NV, and when we sold the shop there was a bidding war with over 100 parties from around the country. 

Today the celebrity chef thing is huge thanks to TV.  We had lots of offers to expand but said no. Also, many times was asked by friends to compete at pizza expo and such.  I said why?  I make the pie I love, people love it, we are doing great financially, and to go there would have to close the shop, pay the costs to get there and back.  We had no interest in that stuff.  What turned us on was creating a space that knew your name, followed your life, and basically, became part of our family.  When I had both my hips replaced 3 years ago, we had thousands of dollars given to us in get well cards, 3 chefs (one who cooks for Zuckerburg), came by every week to cook for us at our house.  Regular customers came by to visit and help out with things as well.  I could go on and on with stuff like this but in a nutshell, we were doing it like I was raised to do it back in NJ during the 50's - 80's.

We also had 2 employees with Cognitive Disabilities that did the dishes and folded boxes and things like that.  That was our driving force behind doing this. 

http://www.smilingwithhopepizza.com/
« Last Edit: December 11, 2022, 05:00:15 PM by waltertore »
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Offline Travinos_Pizza

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Re: How do we solve the employment crisis? Ideas provided and welcomed.
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2022, 06:53:21 PM »
As Craig mentioned, this topic can go severely sideways, but I think we need to be cognizant of the fact that everyone runs their business differently and some are wildly successful whereas others, not so much. Thereís no one size fits all, but Iíll try and offer my thoughts.

Kids these days hear about workers rights and CEOs who make over 300 times the cash of the bottom worker (Iím not going to debate itís accuracy, kids see it, thatís all that matters). They also see the toxic social media where people live lives of ďluxury,Ē when itís all a spin zone thatís more fake than reality.

My solution to this is purely my own and how I plan to run my shop someday. If you donít like it or disagree I am not here to debate it, we can disagree and no harm is done.

I think it takes a team that feels they own an equal slice of the pie, same as the owner. I want to every person who works for me to care just as much about the pizza that we create as I do. I canít personally guarantee that without equal ownership.

So my business model, albeit rough in this format is simple as having a very strict hiring process with the understanding that this could be a career and a one stop destination. Learning about personal finance, 401K, retirement. Iím going to invest in them if I want them to invest in me.

I want them to learn from the ground up. Buying, prep, customer service (perhaps the biggest for me), cleanliness, and then reaping that reward. Arbitrary number, but at the end of the year if the profits are $20k, we discuss what the $20k is invested in as far as equipment, capital, etc., and then we split the rest equally among the team.

Will this work for everybody? No. Is this the only way? No. But for me personally, I want to be the guy in front of the oven every day. The only way I feel I can trust someone else to be in front of the oven is to make sure theyíre an equal partner in terms of benefits.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2022, 06:58:06 PM by Travinos_Pizza »
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Offline Jimbolini

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Re: How do we solve the employment crisis? Ideas provided and welcomed.
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2022, 09:19:24 PM »
I can throw my .02 in on this if that's ok?

My wife and I run a profitable pizza restaurant in the Midwest. (KC area)

We have been open now for 15 months.

We have grown from an initial staff of five to 28. (4 of them are full time, the rest are high school kids)

We ARE NOT hiring. Fully staffed with 10-12 referrals waiting at any given time.
We pay $11.00 and tip share the entire staff. Our dining room seats 60.
Most of the kids are averaging $16-$17 per hour steady over the last year.

I get some of these kids from just about every chain fast food place. most are first time job kids expected to stay 1-2 years and get on with a successful life.
Almost all of them don't give a hoot about money, as they are just setting up first bank accounts, etc. (They like money, don't get me wrong it's not the main factor it seems)

The #1 reason most stay here? We respect them at every level. (This is what they tell us in employee meetings)
Some don't know how to mop, we don't laugh we never talk down and we train respectfully. We also close by 8pm and they are home by 8:30.
Short hours, fun environment, never have them do something they have not seen me do as well.

We have a sweet 16 year old female (hired at 15) that did not know what a dial tone was on our landline phone. I laughed at first, but then realized cell phones don't have them and no-one has land lines at home anymore how was she to know?
We chuckled together and I explained what it was and how to navigate the phones. Now this shy timid teenager kicks ass on the phones!

My opinion be honest, make it fun, respect their thoughts and opinions. Our staff works very hard and learns very quickly. (Much harder than I did at 16 years and years ago)  :)

With food costs being silly, labor becomes one of the most important factors for me so we look for multi task type of young person. (no dedicated server, or kitchen, etc)
Find their strengths and comforts and use that to your advantage.

Sorry, I am rambling.  ;D
Good luck!




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Online Timpanogos Slim

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Re: How do we solve the employment crisis? Ideas provided and welcomed.
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2022, 09:46:13 PM »
I speak to a lot of pizzamakers and this labor problem is a huge issue and I would love to workshop ideas with folks. As a point of reference, in addition to being a pizza podcaster, I am a labor union rep and negotiate for city and county municipalities. I also run a dance company that employed 7 employees prior to the pandemic.

From what I'm gathering, people aren't going back to work NOT because of government support. I think two things are happing.

1. Families don't need the money- Some spouses, and/or parents got a pay bump by switching jobs and so less income is needed in the total household.

2. (What I think is the most apparent) People have more options today and food service is at that bottom of that options list.


The US BLS has six different ways of describing the unemployed, which are referred to as U-1 through U-6.

Most of the time the number you hear is the U-3 number -- total unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor force.

Historically, a U-3 a bit over 4% has been regarded as being as close to total employment as we are ever likely to see.

For the last year, the U-3 has averaged 3.8. A more total employment than has typically been observed.

"people not returning to work" would be the U-1 number, people unemployed 15 weeks or longer.

For the last 12 months, the U-1 number has averaged 1.4%.

What this means is that if people don't want to work for you, it is probably because they have better employment options.

Keep in mind that over a million people in the US died of covid.

Data:

https://www.bls.gov/lau/stalt.htm
« Last Edit: December 11, 2022, 09:48:56 PM by Timpanogos Slim »
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Online Timpanogos Slim

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Re: How do we solve the employment crisis? Ideas provided and welcomed.
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2022, 10:45:22 PM »
The #1 reason most stay here? We respect them at every level. (This is what they tell us in employee meetings)
Some don't know how to mop, we don't laugh we never talk down and we train respectfully. We also close by 8pm and they are home by 8:30.
Short hours, fun environment, never have them do something they have not seen me do as well.

During my year-ish stint as a pizzahut doughmaster at some 3 different locations in the early 90's, i recall one coworker who was trying to get into management, which involved an exam with multiple choice questions.

He related that the correct answer to the question "Why do people keep their jobs with PizzaHut" was "because of relationships with people they work with".

Not the pay, not the hours, not the shift meal, not random free pizza when someone screws up an order, an order gets cancelled or sent back, etc. The people they work with. They stay there because they like the people they work with.

I was officially fired from one location i worked with after i complained that the combination of not giving me enough hours and expecting me to open the restaurant at 6:30am but making a conscious decision to not give me keys was unreasonable.

It should be noted that a business offering key duplication was in the same parking lot less than 100 yards away.

The manager there was, ah, the term i recently became aware of was seagull management. Swoop in, scream at everyone, %$# all over the place, fly away.

I was then immediately hired by another location which also, curiously, couldn't see fit to secure a key for me to open the place. The whole "you MUST unlock the door at 6:30am, and we WILL NOT provide the means to do so" thing still puzzles me.

I took some time off for a family california trip that got extended, and their puzzlement when i called and explained that i was stuck in san jose for another 4 days was enough for me to say "you know what, forget it". I started my IT career a few months later and never looked back. i have an unreasonably agreeable job at the moment and don't have the hustle that people in food service my age have. I Could still see maybe doing farmer markets and the like, some day, maybe.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2022, 10:46:53 PM by Timpanogos Slim »
There are many kinds of pizza, and *Most of them can be really good.
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Offline Travinos_Pizza

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Re: How do we solve the employment crisis? Ideas provided and welcomed.
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2022, 06:41:03 PM »
Yep, Iím likely to do private events/catering when I get started.

The capital investment just isnít palatable to me at this exact moment and I still want to perfect my dough recipe.
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Online Timpanogos Slim

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Re: How do we solve the employment crisis? Ideas provided and welcomed.
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2022, 08:23:07 PM »
Yep, Iím likely to do private events/catering when I get started.

The capital investment just isnít palatable to me at this exact moment and I still want to perfect my dough recipe.

If i end up building a trailer oven, there's a good chance that I'll start by just parking somewhere and giving away slices as practice. My finances are comfortable enough for that.

And maybe let it grow into occasional events and catering.

It looks like maybe the right kinda banged up old horse trailer might be the correct starting point. Chop off the canopy, have someone weld on some angle iron to support a cast platform that i can cast an oven dome on. And install shocks if they don't already exist.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2022, 08:31:02 PM by Timpanogos Slim »
There are many kinds of pizza, and *Most of them can be really good.
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Offline Andrew t

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Re: How do we solve the employment crisis? Ideas provided and welcomed.
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2022, 10:52:16 PM »
I've been in other areas of food service for the past 30 years. Currently in a small grduate university cafe/catering setting. Pizza is my side hustle.

I think Jimbolin has on a key point. My last gig was at a major University with over 400 student employees. Culture and training are key. Most young people mow don't work in high school. They also need to be respected and treated like grownups. I've found empowering entry level supervisors or lead roles that are of the same generation is key to bridging the gap in generations.

For more professional food operations that are looking for lifers having a culture and mindset that treats them with respect and dignity. That includes reliable hours, pay, and time off to do the things real people have to do.

As to bigger issues that are influencing it-

Gig work is huge. In the old days restaurant work was a haven for folks who struggled with being together enough to hold a job long term for a lot of different reasons. They might learn the soft skills needed to become desirable employees or move on to another job when they struggled.

Now you can do gig work in lots of different places all with app-based access. You don't have a boss to worry about; the generally unemployable have no reason not to stay in gig work. They can take or leave shifts with no notice. I use temps quite a bit; five years ago it was folks looking a few extra hours or looking for a full time gig and they were reliable even if not skilled. Now its folks doing gig work- no show rate on confirmed shifts is 20-30% for temps.

I also think lots of folks have rethought the childcare/work cost/benefit and have made different choices for their families.

Lastly, it has become harder and harder to hire workers without legit green cards. We have lots of folks in the states who can only work on the fringes because they don't have the legal right to work and now most places use outsourced payroll that requires proper documentation so (un)willingly accepting fake ID is not an option anymore. 10-20 years age it started and now in food service it's most places that can't/won't look the other way.   


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Online Timpanogos Slim

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Re: How do we solve the employment crisis? Ideas provided and welcomed.
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2022, 11:07:46 PM »
I would just like to point out that the executive administration's solution in the works, via the fed, is to force a recession.

Because it's not that people aren't working. It's that there is more demand for workers than there are viable workers.
There are many kinds of pizza, and *Most of them can be really good.
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Offline Whatsgooddough

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Re: How do we solve the employment crisis? Ideas provided and welcomed.
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2022, 02:11:02 AM »
I grew up in the pizza scene, 15 minutes outside NYC in the Newark NJ area.   This is where pizza in the USA started and what people have lost sight of today is these pizzerias were all family owned and family run.  They were also small and didn't sell booze, sides.  My mother came from Italy, and they worked like dogs to build a better life for their children.  That is where the pizzerias started to decline IMO.  The kids, my generation, were not 100% onboard with making pizza and many parents were dead set on them not doing it and going to college.  Still, the culture for pizza was deep and employees were found that would work their entire careers in these shops.  They made enough money to live a good life for their families. 

Today, big is better, more is better, fame is the best.  In my day we only knew pizza in our neighborhoods.  No Cable/dish, computer.  Things were still regional, and the migratory nature of today's workers was not the norm.  Things started going south IMO in NYC when the price to live there went beyond a 6 figure paycheck.  The Metro NJ has lagged behind but is now getting beyond what most pizza places could pay to keep lifelong employees. 

My friends that own pizzerias in big cities today are always looking for employees.  For this reason, my wife and I decided to make our shop a throwback to what I grew up in.  We just sold the shop, both of us are in our late 60's, but here is how we ran it.  I would shop for produce each day/make every dough/ make every prep/ opened, baked every pizza, by myself.  Judy did the books, ran the register, made the salad, answered the phone.  Check out our menu - probably the simplest pizzeria menu in the country.  We had 3 employees that would show up 15 minutes before we opened.  They would put toppings on pies, cut/box, serve, cleanup.  That amounted to about 30 hours a week in total payroll.  Our reputation was strong for consistent pizza and great customer service.  With that said, we paid them $9/hr and with tips they earned $30-33/hr.  We were able to hire the old schoolwork ethic, A personality people, most in our just out of college and figuring the next step of their life.

With Judy and I onsite all hours, we kept the vibe as we wanted it to be. If we were sick we closed as no one knew how to make pizza but me. Judy took orders starting at 3pm on the phone and scheduled pickup times on the quarter hour starting at 5pm.  We sold out of dough most nights before we opened.  That made for an easy workflow. 

No offense, but today's pizzerias and most restaurants, are wildly inconsistent with food and service.  We would get travelers from all over the country who were pizza lovers and most all said we should move to their cities (NYC, SF, LA, Chicago, etc) and we would destroy the scene.  Sounded good to them but when we explained we would go broke in a month doing it our way in the big towns due to crazy rents, costs of living. 

My mother, 94 this year, is from Italy.  She always says 2 things survive any depression - the small pizzeria and Chinese Restaurant.  During the pandemic we could have sold 500 pies a night (something we couldn't do).  All said and done, the old model of mom-and-pop run shops still is very profitable in the right location.  We made a great living doing it here in Reno, NV, and when we sold the shop there was a bidding war with over 100 parties from around the country. 

Today the celebrity chef thing is huge thanks to TV.  We had lots of offers to expand but said no. Also, many times was asked by friends to compete at pizza expo and such.  I said why?  I make the pie I love, people love it, we are doing great financially, and to go there would have to close the shop, pay the costs to get there and back.  We had no interest in that stuff.  What turned us on was creating a space that knew your name, followed your life, and basically, became part of our family.  When I had both my hips replaced 3 years ago, we had thousands of dollars given to us in get well cards, 3 chefs (one who cooks for Zuckerburg), came by every week to cook for us at our house.  Regular customers came by to visit and help out with things as well.  I could go on and on with stuff like this but in a nutshell, we were doing it like I was raised to do it back in NJ during the 50's - 80's.

We also had 2 employees with Cognitive Disabilities that did the dishes and folded boxes and things like that.  That was our driving force behind doing this. 

http://www.smilingwithhopepizza.com/

I had a feeling this was you before finishing reading the end of the post and seeing your website. Honestly Walter, it sounds like you had a great business and I'm sad I never made the drive up to you guys while you all were the owners. I'm thankful you touched so many lives with your pizza.

It's awesome to read that your community was so supportive and was able to get tips that high. I think, however, that is very circumstantial and brand specific. But this does give me an idea because when I read listings for pizzeria jobs where they list X hourly by Y after tips, I think to myself, how consistent are those tips? Maybe if there was more certainty for prospective employees that there is a 90% chance you will get Y wages, people would be willing to come aboard and move the mission forward.
The What's Good Dough Podcast talks to pizza makers about how they built their pizzerias and social followings.

Check out my episode with Brian Spangler who talks about dabbling with the pizza he grew up with (not the stuff he sells every day):
https://open.spotify.com/episode/26fllQ5glSXBbflH2pWv8s

Check out my episode with Craig from June's pizza who blew up in the pandemic and then got shut down by the health department:
https://open.spotify.com/episode/3sjrxkmeQfk0dmmUec36gi?si=CGk62UkxRjqqeFbPG8nYe

Offline Whatsgooddough

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Re: How do we solve the employment crisis? Ideas provided and welcomed.
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2022, 02:19:03 AM »

I think it takes a team that feels they own an equal slice of the pie, same as the owner. I want to every person who works for me to care just as much about the pizza that we create as I do. I canít personally guarantee that without equal ownership.

So my business model, albeit rough in this format is simple as having a very strict hiring process with the understanding that this could be a career and a one stop destination. Learning about personal finance, 401K, retirement. Iím going to invest in them if I want them to invest in me.

I want them to learn from the ground up. Buying, prep, customer service (perhaps the biggest for me), cleanliness, and then reaping that reward. Arbitrary number, but at the end of the year if the profits are $20k, we discuss what the $20k is invested in as far as equipment, capital, etc., and then we split the rest equally among the team.

Will this work for everybody? No. Is this the only way? No. But for me personally, I want to be the guy in front of the oven every day. The only way I feel I can trust someone else to be in front of the oven is to make sure theyíre an equal partner in terms of benefits.

This reminds me of the co-op model that A Slice of New York in San Jose, CA does. It's super rare, but its super empowering. They do a model where if you want to have ownership, you have to meet certain hours and maybe a buy in for a seat, but at the end of the year, you get profit share. Super dope idea and I would love to see a larger data size to see if it works.
The What's Good Dough Podcast talks to pizza makers about how they built their pizzerias and social followings.

Check out my episode with Brian Spangler who talks about dabbling with the pizza he grew up with (not the stuff he sells every day):
https://open.spotify.com/episode/26fllQ5glSXBbflH2pWv8s

Check out my episode with Craig from June's pizza who blew up in the pandemic and then got shut down by the health department:
https://open.spotify.com/episode/3sjrxkmeQfk0dmmUec36gi?si=CGk62UkxRjqqeFbPG8nYe

Offline Yael

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Re: How do we solve the employment crisis? Ideas provided and welcomed.
« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2022, 02:49:06 AM »
I can share what I experienced and/or simply understood while living in China. Here also, it's my personal truth, not universal.

Being an Asian country, there is a huge culture of work in China. Even if it's changing and it's less and less true (specially in big cities, where both these:
[...]
1. Families don't need the money- Some spouses, and/or parents got a pay bump by switching jobs and so less income is needed in the total household.

2. (What I think is the most apparent) People have more options today and food service is at that bottom of that options list.[...]

And this:
[...]
Kids these days hear about workers rights and CEOs who make over 300 times the cash of the bottom worker (Iím not going to debate itís accuracy, kids see it, thatís all that matters). They also see the toxic social media where people live lives of ďluxury,Ē when itís all a spin zone thatís more fake than reality.[...]
are completely true), the working class still work long hours and frequently do overtime, with 4 days-off per month on 2nd-tier cities being a standard (ok, except those who work at the office maybe). Obviously, this is a paradise for the business owners. At 7pm after a 10-hours work day, the boss be like "guys, tomorrow cancel your day-off I need you at the office, lunch is on me". They will be compensated of course, most of time. But the workers don't enjoy it that much anyway.

So, what makes it work??

As you can imagine, there's a lot of pressure for the working class in China. Nothing's free, basically no healthcare, the estate is ridiculously high... In this contemporary culture, young men who want to get married have to own a car and an apartment. Besides, when you're over 25 years old, parents start to frequently ask you "when are you gonna get married and have kids?" Yes, exactly like the clichť ^^
Financial pressure, social pressure, working pressure...
So what can you do except working and make money?

Ok now we know why Chinese are big workers. And we can easily understand why the workforce is very unsteady. Next company's salary is 2 bucks higher? Let's quit here and try there.

Then, to be back on our topic, how do we keep the staff??
And this is the universal question. The answers could work pretty much anywhere.
1. More money, obviously. Not always possible though. And actually, the more you pay doesn't necessarily means the more efficient they are. Two of the best staff I ever had were paid with a salary on the low side.
2. Respect the staff, as it's been said above. I think this is very important as well. However, this point doesn't always apply in China, for some reasons.
3. Upgrade possibilities. This one is an important point in China. That's why many prefer to work in big companies/chains. You can start from zero and end up managing a lot.
4. Job security. A good healthcare? A good contract? Nice working hours? One of my friends who used to manage an office in Shenzhen from 2005 to 2010 never gave a salary increase, at a time where the cost of life started to increase a lot there. Instead, he wouldn't harass them if they were 20 minutes late and would give them more free time, as long as the job was done of course.

Bottom line, I think the respect and the upgrade possibilities are the most important points. IMO, the job of a staff manager is a hard job, because respecting doesn't mean being friend, and a lot of us are lost in translation here.
ďLearn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artistĒ - Pablo Picasso

Offline waltertore

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Re: How do we solve the employment crisis? Ideas provided and welcomed.
« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2022, 11:53:19 AM »
I had a feeling this was you before finishing reading the end of the post and seeing your website. Honestly Walter, it sounds like you had a great business and I'm sad I never made the drive up to you guys while you all were the owners. I'm thankful you touched so many lives with your pizza.

It's awesome to read that your community was so supportive and was able to get tips that high. I think, however, that is very circumstantial and brand specific. But this does give me an idea because when I read listings for pizzeria jobs where they list X hourly by Y after tips, I think to myself, how consistent are those tips? Maybe if there was more certainty for prospective employees that there is a 90% chance you will get Y wages, people would be willing to come aboard and move the mission forward.

Thanks.  It was a gift, which we worked hard to create and maintain, to be able to provide a space where people could experience food quality/consistency/service that they enjoyed visiting Europe but is near extinct here in the USA. The adding of people with disabilities to be included in our workforce was another gift.  America is of the mind set to make things easier and more profitable for the owners via lots of talk but no walk.  We try to convince ourselves that one can make great food without having to make it via hiring unskilled labor off the street and in 10 short hours they can make a product that is indistinguishable from the one made by the person with decades of experience.  We do this in all segments of our society - get a black belt in 2 years........  Bottom line is great food is done by people with great skill.  Now people own so many locations that they are never at them as they are busy promoting their artisian operations on the various media outlets.  I have nothing against this approach if it creates a product as good or better than the skilled chef that started it. With the ever dumbed down food of today that continually lowers the workforce skills needed to be making the food, I don't see how this could ever happen.  We convince ourselves that the mind can create any reality we want to see regardless of the reality of the result.  That is funny to me but I will not waste my money. amd ,more importantly my time, to lower my benchmark for high quality food/service to eat at subpar, to me, food places.  Sadly, eating at McDonalds is more consistent than most artisan food places.  They never give the rap " give us another chance as we are working out the kinks/just hired a new chef/are short staffed... while the artisan place throws these excuses at customers all the time and still takes my money for a meal/service that was terrible. 
« Last Edit: December 13, 2022, 12:11:51 PM by waltertore »
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Offline Travinos_Pizza

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Re: How do we solve the employment crisis? Ideas provided and welcomed.
« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2022, 11:05:48 PM »
This reminds me of the co-op model that A Slice of New York in San Jose, CA does. It's super rare, but its super empowering. They do a model where if you want to have ownership, you have to meet certain hours and maybe a buy in for a seat, but at the end of the year, you get profit share. Super dope idea and I would love to see a larger data size to see if it works.

Yep, itís something Iíve continually tinkered with in my brain running different scenarios.

As you said, the buy in has to be there because you canít hand out ownership at the drop of a hat, but Iíd rather have someone who is willing to put in that time with me to reap the rewards.
- Travis

Offline scott r

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Re: How do we solve the employment crisis? Ideas provided and welcomed.
« Reply #16 on: December 14, 2022, 08:50:03 AM »
I think things are changing.  At least in Boston, the labor shortage seems to not be as bad now.  The restaurants that are really busy are always fully staffed because they can pay the highest wages and keep everyone happy.   I think it really comes down to that.   You pay up, you can retain good people that care and want to make the food great.  To do that you have to charge at the upper end, and to be able to do that you have to have the best food.

Offline waltertore

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Re: How do we solve the employment crisis? Ideas provided and welcomed.
« Reply #17 on: December 14, 2022, 02:00:03 PM »
I think things are changing.  At least in Boston, the labor shortage seems to not be as bad now.  The restaurants that are really busy are always fully staffed because they can pay the highest wages and keep everyone happy.   I think it really comes down to that.   You pay up, you can retain good people that care and want to make the food great.  To do that you have to charge at the upper end, and to be able to do that you have to have the best food.

I agree it has gotten a bit better out here in Reno as well.  One thing that has changed since this problem got so bad with the pandemic is no shows for interviews and people working a day or two and then never return and never contact us.  Prior to we never had a no show but since the pandemic we have had a dozen or so.  We paid $9 hour and tips averaged $21 -24 dollars an hour, so they made 31- 33 an hour working part time with us and all they did was put toppings on pies/cut pies/cleanup/take pies to cars -all we had was curbside pickup.  Still, it was hard to find people with food intuition and only 2 out of a hundred had it.  That is something that was always hard to find with young people during our 7 years. Most of our employees were honor students at the Univ of Reno but came from families where mom/dad worked and there was little to no cooking done in their upbringing.  Until we figure a way to subsidize small business's ability to compete with big corps in paying a living wage with full medical benefits, retirement, vacation, be able to raise a family/buy a home/retire someday comfortably, it will be an ever-going problem finding/retaining full time employees.
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Offline scott r

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Re: How do we solve the employment crisis? Ideas provided and welcomed.
« Reply #18 on: December 14, 2022, 03:08:55 PM »
Being in one of the biggest college towns we have an abundance of students in the 20-s to early 30's.  My first few years in business I hired lots of college and grad school students, but for me they just never worked out as kitchen staff.  One of them moved up the ranks, is still with me, and ended up becoming my GM at one location. 

Unfortunately most of the college/grad students always seem to want to take lots of time off even though they committed to a certain amount of hours on hire, and they quickly tire of working nights and weekends.  The majority of the American born workers I hired, although usually wonderful people, just didn't seem to care enough the end product or perfecting the craft of pizza.  I think the problem is that they know they are just passing through.  The college students do great as bartenders and servers, though, and I still have some working part time doing that even after graduation and moving into their studied professions. 

I didnt know it at the time, but my life changed forever when I hired my first Spanish speaking employee.  He is from a small village in Honduras where nobody goes to school past 3rd grade because at that age they become coffee farmers. He had never seen a motor vehicle until he left the village to come to America at the age of 25.

He is an American citizen and speaks decent enough English to communicate with me, and has completely turned around my kitchen labor force.  For someone that only made it to 3rd grade, he is an incredible student and teacher, and within a year or two he was a better pizza maker than me. At that point he had everyone in my kitchen doing such a great job that I very rarely can find anything to bring to their attention. 

About a year ago he gave me the painful news that his church had gotten together and raised the funds to loan him enough money to purchase a failing take out pizzeria in the same building as their church.  He left me and now has a very successful pizzeria of his own.  His wife, 4 cousins, and sister in law all still work for me.  He promised that he would not take any employees with him and he lived up to that promise.  I fully expected ALL of them to leave with him, and was devastated when I got this news.  In his own words, he really thought he would be working for me for the rest of his life.  He is still a great friend and helps me when im looking for new employees, which is rare, as most of my hispanic kitchen staff apparently want to stay with me for many years.

Offline waltertore

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Re: How do we solve the employment crisis? Ideas provided and welcomed.
« Reply #19 on: December 14, 2022, 04:06:24 PM »
Scott: I hear you with the Hispanic hires.  Being in the West it is the norm in the kitchen but we only gave max - 12 hours a week to a person so that never panned out. So glad you discovered that part of the work force. We decided to keep it small, simple, with 50% profit margins as Judy and I were the only full timers.  To go bigger would mean going the route you have gone and that just doesn't work for our way of doing things. 
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