Pizzeria owners are rarely only owners. Instead, we don many hats and understanding every role in the shop. In fact, I know one clever owner who wears a shirt that says “Maintenance Man” on the back.
Even if we’re not masters in every facet of our business, we’re masters of learning. But along with being students, we’re teachers.
We can all think back to our years of school and remember our favorite teachers. But what made them so memorable? They probably made you feel special, like you were the only kid in the classroom. They did that through the passion that they felt for teaching and for their role in helping young minds discover the world. That passion shines through and reflects onto the one being taught. Let your employees feel the passion you have for pizza and the business — that enthusiasm is contagious.
There are many things we must teach in our business, from the simple tasks of mopping the floor to the stuff we take for granted, such as stretching dough. All the way to more complicated matters, like how to read a profit-and-loss statement, these are things we want to teach and not train. Systems and how-to manuals are there to train our employees how to navigate certain operations in the pizzeria. Teaching is an art, where we inspire our employees to care and to perfect the task they are assigned.
Timing is so important in life, as it is when teaching. Teaching in a very hectic situation like during dinner at a busy restaurant is probably not ideal, so set yourself up for success when you are ready to teach your employees. Having a dedicated time when you don’t have to tend to the oven, answer the phone or perform other various tasks will be best.
It is important to teach because employees want to work at places where they feel like they are part of something special. Most pizzeria owners know they can leave a job and go just about anywhere for a shiny nickel. That’s why there needs to be a bond with your employees, one strong enough where they want to work for you, they want to do a good job, and they want to learn.
Through teaching, showing our passion and guiding with patience, they will experience just that. And not do we just want to teach them, but we want to empower them to become teachers, too. When a new employee gets hired, your team will take on the job of being the teacher, showing their passion and inspiring a new crop of employees and team members.
That’s when you can start to recognize the ones on your team who have become leaders and teachers. In our next installment, we will break down just that — how to evaluate and identify who you should promote.