Canadian Pizza Magazine

Features Business and Operations Marketing
From the Editor’s desk: January-February 2013

Born to be good?


It is fair to say that doing good in your community is good for business.

It is fair to say that doing good in your community is good for business.

It gets your name out there and encourages people to associate your pizzeria with benevolence. It will most certainly help build your business, and that’s exciting. But serving pizza with purpose is more than that. It’s a nod to humans doing what humans do best. This year, we are proud to honour Wayne Rempel at JP’s in Lacombe, Alta., with the Pizza with Purpose award sponsored by Saputo Foodservice. We thank the folks at Saputo for their support in honouring Rempel with a $2,500 gift and plaque as part of winning this award. As you’ll read on page 12, doing good comes naturally to this businessman. This raises the question: Are we born to do to good? I think so.

As a species, we’re simply “Born to Be Good,” according to the title of Dr. Dacher Keltner’s book. Keltner is the director of the Berkeley Greater Good Science Center at the University of California. We are a caretaking species from the get-go, with offspring that take “anywhere from seven to 45 years to reach the age of independence,” he says with a laugh. We have a neuropeptide in our bodies called oxytocin that promotes trust and devotion to others. Keltner talks of our vagus nerve, a large part of the central nervous system flowing from the brain stem that is “probably what is going to catapult our world towards a more sustainable future.” The wandering nerve is the compassion branch to the nervous system, he says, and what stimulates the oxytocin. It is a part of the nervous system that promotes altruism. He points to everyone from Darwin to the Dalai Lama as having noted that compassion was our strongest instinct.

Advertisment

When you reach out to others, you are reaching out to your own human nature and the benefits reach far beyond your business. United Press International ran a story in 2011 titled “Study: Altruism benefits givers’ health” that summarized the research of Stephen G. Post of Stony Brook University School of Medicine in New York. Post had reviewed over 50 studies on sincere acts of giving and found that “healthcare professionals should consider recommending such activities to patients” after finding how deep an impact altruism had on health factors ranging from mood to mortality. Post found that even just thinking about giving had a positive effect on health and well-being.

How your pizzeria runs is an extension of you and how it touches people is a result of your vision. It’s your connection with your community at large. Technology may muddle how important all the “real” face-to-face connecting is, but consider this: Keltner’s research found that human connection is so strong that people who could not see one another but could touch a forearm for half a second were about four times more accurate in judging the emotional state of that person than if they hadn’t touched them at all.

I’m not suggesting everyone run out and become a personal space invader, but that we keep in mind the power and exquisite depth of our species when it comes to communication.

You cannot be left poorer for giving if you are left richer in heart. I hope that this year’s winner inspires you to continue the spirit of gestures, big and small.