You’re open, your marketing and branding is working, and your processes and equipment are improved. Things are looking great, but there might be another major bottleneck bogging down operations — and it’s a big one: training.
Training is one of the key elements to a pizzeria’s success. Too often, it goes like this: “Welcome to the store, new guy. Meet Julie; you’re going to train with her. Bye.” And that’s it. The new guy shadows Julie, who might be a great employee, but she’ll probably only be showing him what she believes is important, or the parts that pertain to her specific role. That’s why the owner and managers must be taking the lead when it comes to training.
Step 1: The Tour
Training begins from the moment the new employee is hired, or at least during the onboarding process. I like to start with a store tour on the very day a new employee completes their paperwork, showing everything from where the bathroom is located, to where and how they purchase and eat employee meals, and where the dumpster is located. Within their first 10 minutes, they’ll feel more like a part of the team.
Step 2: The Binder
Afterward, if Julie is going to train, then she should be aware that it’s expected of her — and she should have resources to do so. In our pizzeria, new hires receive two items: a job description sheet, which details every duty they will be asked to perform in their position, and a “training binder,” which includes a checklist going over every procedure they must know to perform those duties and other general tasks. After the new employee studies the documents, the trainer quizzes them on the information and signs off on individual tasks they are confident the trainee has learned. It is crucial you spend time thinking about the most important tasks in the store and develop thorough descriptions for the training binder.
Step 3: S.A.W.
Our in-house training includes a method that we label the S.A.W. approach — Show, Assist, Watch. Take dough-stretching, for example. First, we show the trainee how to stretch the dough, as the trainer explains every step thoroughly as they perform the task. Then, we assist the trainee, performing the task together, taking the pressure off of the new trainee, and allowing us to help them through the process. Finally, the trainer takes a step back and watches as the trainee stretches the dough on their own, all while the trainer offers feedback and advice. This part can take a while, so repeat these steps as many times as necessary until the trainee understands and completes the task in a satisfactory way.
With a training system in place and the bottlenecks cleared up, are you still waiting and waiting for the store to turn a tidy profit? Controlling costs is crucial to the success of your new restaurant, so we’ll be digging into that in next month’s column, ensuring that your bank account rises just like your dough!
NICK BOGACZ is the founder and president of Caliente Pizza & Draft House in Pittsburgh. Instagram: @caliente_pizza