Canadian Pizza Magazine

from the editor’s desk: Taking a gamble

Laura Aiken   

Features Business and Operations Staffing

Hiring a new employee is a bit of a gamble. Despite your best efforts
to screen and interview, a poor performer, liar or thief will
occasionally slip through

Hiring a new employee is a bit of a gamble. Despite your best efforts to screen and interview, a poor performer, liar or thief will occasionally slip through. Knowledge and a proactive approach are definitely your best defences. Researching a candidate’s background and knowing how to thoroughly conduct a great interview will go a long way to stacking the cards in favour of the house. For our September/October cover story, we’ve collected some great tips and research on how to prepare and hold an interview more effectively, including ways to spot deception beyond such standard non-verbal clues as avoiding eye contact.

A bad hire can wreak havoc. We mustn’t forget the Domino’s employee who was discovered by the media to be a registered sex offender after a YouTube video of kitchen mischief went viral. Talk about salt on a wound for the franchisee. During my tenure in food service I saw employees canned for such major misdemeanours as drug trafficking and alcohol abuse and such lesser transgressions as a complete inability to remember the pop on a delivery order or show up on time. In all cases, I noticed the bad behaviour was chronic, not just an occasional mistake that even great employees can make. Sometimes your bad employees won’t have a lot of face time with guests and you may be spared some customer service fires, but they will always cause issues with the rest of your team. I worked in one restaurant that was so closely knit that if the staff didn’t like a new hire they would band together and pressure the management until the person was cut loose (fortunately, I was part of that clique).     

It’s tempting to hire someone who looks perfect on paper quickly when you’re in a jam,  but you’re playing employee roulette. It’s wise to make, rather than find, the time to set up a proper patterned hiring and interviewing process for your pizzeria. After all, you’re betting your business success on it. 


On the note of all things gambling, the Las Vegas International Pizza Expo is seven months away but I’m already counting down on my calendar. What I learn each year at the show is worth the trip tenfold . . . and I have no complaints that they happen to host it in one of my favourite cities, even if I’m not much of a gambler. I’m very happy that we’re able to take our top two Chef of the Year competitors with us. It’s a great opportunity for them to meet fellow pizzaiolos from around the world, and see how their pies measure up on the world stage, while taking advantage of the many seminars.

Now, you’re probably wondering why I have Vegas on the brain so early in the game. Usually we begin accepting entries for our Chef of the Year contest in December. This year we decided to give you plenty of extra time to test your recipe and encourage you to submit anytime from now until Jan. 19. As always, I look forward to the truly creative entries we receive from coast to coast.

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