Alex Koons: Tips on how to Construct a Optimistic Tradition That Sells Extra Pizza

By Alex Koons

Are you able to describe the tradition of your restaurant in a single sentence? What would your crew members say about your tradition? After I began working at Purgatory Pizza, which I now personal, the tradition was mainly, “I don’t give a s— about something.” Now, as rock and roll as that could be, it was an enormous downside in making a profitable enterprise. After I did something greater than the naked minimal, co-workers mentioned, “What are you doing? Calm down. Discover your Purgatory zen.”

After I began operating the shop, folks complained about each new coverage. There was no scheduling—only a calendar on the wall on which individuals would write their identify to work. It was chaos. This type of perspective plagued my hiring course of, too, as a result of your pizzeria’s tradition will entice a sure type of particular person.

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This was the tradition I inherited, not the one I created. Eliminating it took a few years. I needed to lastly cycle by means of the final worker who remembered what it was like “again within the day.” It was a wrestle, and there was push-back alongside the best way, as a result of I modified issues slowly as an alternative of ripping the entire curtain again and cleansing home. On reflection, I ought to have completed the latter.

I wish to share how I created a tradition in my Los Angeles eating places, Sizzling Tongue Pizza and Purgatory Pizza, that our employees is happy to be part of—and that truly sells extra pizza.

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A disciplined however optimistic tradition makes Sizzling Tongue Pizza workers like Andrea Rodriquez joyful to return to work. Picture by Miriam Brummell

Tradition and Values

I outline tradition as a dwelling set of values. Like at Purgatory Pizza circa 2014, if values aren’t deliberately put in place, the employees will naturally create their very own tradition, and it could possibly be certainly one of laziness, resentment and disdain. That is what I name anti-culture, and it may be a nightmare for any store.

Many enterprise homeowners don’t put money into their tradition. They don’t assume it’s essential. However the actuality is: Your values are one of many largest elements in your backside line. Anybody can write a bunch of feel-good stuff on a bit of paper and name it their “tradition.” However, like something, it takes quite a lot of work to uphold your values and beliefs each single day. It’s one thing that must be practiced, talked about and refined consistently. Figuring out my core values took a while, however as soon as I applied them, they attracted the type of folks I wished working at my restaurant. I promise you: Your retention, productiveness and gross sales will go up.

I construct my tradition on 5 core values. These are the qualities I search for in workers (and the folks in my life), and I try to stay them myself each day.

  • Honesty. With out your phrase, you’re nothing. Discover the information, keep away from gossip, and at all times inform the reality.
  • Arduous work. Nothing is free. The whole lot we would like is obtainable by means of this one worth: onerous work.
  • Braveness. Be courageous within the questions you ask, the conversations you’ve got, the errors you make, and the issues you clear up.
  • Perseverance. Overcome the worst days to get pleasure from the perfect ones.
  • Empathy. Perceive that emotion is a part of life. Assist when wanted, hear when you possibly can, and look after each other.
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this photo shows Alex Koons with three of his team members in a chummy pose
Picture by Miriam Brummel
Communication and Management

Earlier than writing this text, I requested my Sizzling Tongue Pizza crew what they thought our tradition was. Their responses:

  • Enjoyable, and a spot the place I by no means have to tug my toes.
  • Our personal.
  • A spot to develop.
  • Pleasant collectively.
  • I don’t really feel depressed after I’m right here.
  • Enjoyable and inventive.

You may have a look at this listing of considerably summary ideas and ask, “However how on earth do I implement these in my restaurant?” The reply might be less complicated than you assume: It comes all the way down to communication and management.

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Communication: Consistently test in together with your crew and administration. I sit down and undergo these values with every new worker to put out a street map of what success appears like right here and what’s anticipated from them as crew members. We maintain conferences and month-to-month touch-bases with all the group to ensure everyone seems to be joyful. These conferences present nice alternatives to get suggestions, course right, and listen to out any worker who must get one thing off their chest.

Management: Your managers can take your tradition in the best or incorrect path. Ensure that they perceive and comply with these three tips:

  • Lead, don’t boss. Main is far completely different than bossing round or micromanaging.
  • You don’t know every little thing. Method every little thing with curiosity. Assuming or leaping to conclusions is lethal.
  • All the time search for methods to enhance and develop. You’re by no means completed rising.
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Lastly, be pleased with your values and the folks you wish to present alternatives for. In return, you should have a wholesome, joyful work household slightly than a pack of passive-aggressive, burnt-out, gossiping, resentful people—and a tradition that your employees is happy to be part of.  

Alex Koons is an business marketing consultant and the proprietor of Sizzling Tongue Pizza, an all-vegan pizzeria, and Purgatory Pizza in Los Angeles.