Canadian Pizza Magazine

Pizza on Fire: December 2014

By Tom Stankiewicz   

Features Business and Operations Staffing

Hiring the right people

With a busy holiday season just around the corner, many of us have
already started looking for additional staff to help with the higher
volume of traffic at our pizzerias.

With a busy holiday season just around the corner, many of us have
already started looking for additional staff to help with the higher
volume of traffic at our pizzerias. What’s the best ideal way to find new employees who will be the best fit with your team and the culture of your pizzeria? Those of us who are experiencing high employee turnover might consider these strategies to improve and break this cycle.

As business owners, part of our job is to hire employees who will help make the business more successful.

That is easier said than done. Over the years, I have heard many tips for hiring the right people. I wouldn’t be surprised if many of you have heard the same advice as well. I think the secret to a successful hiring process is to follow it all the way through rather than skip steps. This is one of those cases where you need to take the extra time to ensure the right people are hired.


In our line of business, having a good kitchen team is very important. It’s essential that team members work well together for the business to operate efficiently and successfully. In other words, this group of people can make or break your business. For some this seems a scary concept; however, if you know in advance what to look for in your team members, then you’re already one step closer to building a successful team. More importantly, those who work well together tend to stay together longer.

If you have high employee turnover, the key is to find out why this is happening before any solution can be implemented. There are some reasons over which we have no control. Are they leaving for personal reasons such as school or family? It’s not unusual to see this happen if most of your employees are students who at some point must move away to attend college or may need to spend more time studying.

We also need to understand that often people leave for a better pay. It’s a known fact that the wages offered at pizza stores are not at a high end of the salary spectrum. If an employee is strictly interested in a higher pay, then we cannot compete with other businesses who that can offer a higher wage.

If, however, it’s determined that the high turnover is a result of performance-related issues, then possibly the process should be reviewed more closely. Where are the gaps in your hiring process? These could be closed during the hiring process once you know which step is not being followed through. And it could be as simple as not checking employer references.

Word of mouth is a method that has helped many of us find good, dependable employees. Ask your staff if they have friends looking for work. But be sure to specify that you’re looking for individuals who have a similar work ethic to them. As well, your friends who work in the restaurant industry might know who is looking for work and recommend some reliable people to you. The key here is that these people know your business and their recommendations will lead you in the right direction.

I myself like posting “help wanted” signs in the store’s window as well. It allows me to meet potential candidates right there on the spot. Usually, this person lives within a close proximity to the pizza store; this is an added bonus because, if they must, they could just walk to work. First impressions are very important, but my hiring process doesn’t end there. It’s still very important to do your due diligence and ask relevant questions during the interview.

I’m a big supporter of social media. If your business is on Facebook or Twitter, then use these websites to post jobs online. It gives you another way of reaching people who might not see your job postings elsewhere. This opens another opportunity for you to find that one person that would fit perfectly with your team. I like that it’s quick, it’s free, and your message is instantly seen by hundreds.

If you expect your employees to stay loyal to you, then your responsibility is to provide a great work environment. This should start with well-trained team members who understand their roles. You need to take time to hire individuals who are willing to become part of your team and have the specific characteristics that make them the best fit.

Tom Stankiewicz has been in the pizza business for more than 15 years. He has been the proprietor of Bondi’s Pizza in London, Ont., since 2000, and is president of the Canadian Pizza Team.

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