Last week I wrote about my first job ever, at a pizza place, and a little bit of background on how I landed the gig. Now we get to the fun stuff! Today is lessons learned and in the future we’ll discuss some of my crazy stories.
Free Food Makes You Popular
I was not a cook but I did cut the pizzas. You would think that the cooks would mess up on purpose to get free pizza but I honestly think they just couldn’t figure out to read a whole ticket at the same time. They never ate their mess ups.
Now if the store was managed properly all of these mess ups would have gone straight in the trash so employees wouldn’t mess up on purpose to get free food. That didn’t happen. Instead we’d cut the pizzas and throw them on top of the pizza warmer and at the end of the night you could take home whatever you wanted.
I was not a pizza fan but my dad loves pizza. In the beginning I just brought home a pizza or two but some nights I ended up bringing home as many as six pizzas! Needless to say my dad couldn’t eat them all so he’d take them to work with him. I heard he was quite popular at work around lunch time and when I went off to college people were sad my dad could no longer provide them free pizza through me.
How NOT to Run a Business
If you own a business you need to check in on it every once in a while. In the three years I worked there on and off I saw the owner once. He came in and walked behind the counter. I remember saying to him “Excuse me, can I help you? Customers aren’t allowed back here.” He identified himself as the owner and I remember thinking to myself… OH CRAP.
Turns out he was a nice guy and knew how the pizzas were supposed to be made as he criticized some of the cooks. The thing I never understood was why he didn’t come by more often. He owned 4 stores and the store I worked in was the worst performing store by far and as I previously mentioned it was eventually closed.
There were so many things that were done very wrong on so many different levels and just a little bit of involvement would have the potential to at least give the store a chance to turn around. I don’t know how or why they finally decided to close the store but if the right people were there I think it would have had a shot.
Don’t Hire Friends or Friends of Employees
If you’re managing a business don’t hire your friends. I’ll extend that to don’t hire friends of employees either. We were constantly hiring, after all it was a pizza place and it had a decent amount of turnover. It was a close to minimum wage job and I feel that is fairly common. The problem was instead of hiring based on any type of metric we hired friends of current employees because it was easier to get them in the door.
Why should you avoid this? First, if it is your friend, people end up getting into arguments over job tasks and you don’t want that to carry over into your personal life. Second, if you are hiring your employee’s friend expect them to get a lot less done. In every single case the friends ended up fighting which translated into bad service for our customers. When they weren’t fighting they were normally trying to find a way to avoid doing work and were just chit chatting. The only positive was it was an easy way to get a body in the door.
Oh, if you shouldn’t hire friends, definitely DO NOT hire family members. It is normally the above on a much larger scale.
These is just some of the lessons I learned but they are some of the more important ones. Expect a follow up soon with many crazy stories from my first job.
What lessons did you learn from your first job?