How one can maintain your greatest peeps: Sq. Pie Guys’ confirmed recipe for retention

Meet the proprietor:

Danny Stoller, Sq. Pie Guys

Sq. Pie Guys is a contemporary pizza restaurant that serves up Detroit-style sq. pan pizzas to the Bay Space. A former head chef, Danny and his co-founder Marc Schechter began the restaurant as a weekly pop-up and have since grown it into a seamless success. 



Constructing a powerful crew is essential to rising a enterprise. And as somebody who’s seen all sides of the restaurant trade, I’ve realized that consistency is what it takes to not solely prepare staff correctly but additionally to maintain them round. 

To me, it’s such an encapsulation of what’s been lacking in eating places: The work itself is chaotic and tense, sure. However all the things else round it ought to be constant and predictable. 

Protecting tradition alive

The largest factor for us is that we would like everybody to have the identical expertise. Marc and I are genuinely enthusiastic about and grateful for each single individual that chooses to work with us. In an trade the place it’s actually onerous to search out expertise, it’s vital that everybody will get that love and pleasure from their supervisor proper from the start. 

So you must guarantee that the managers who’re onboarding them have that as their true north. 

As we proceed to develop, it turns into more and more unimaginable for me to work straight with everybody — I can’t handle a retailer myself and efficiently increase on the identical time. At this level, I’m able to assist, information, and develop however indirectly work with my common managers. 

In an trade the place it’s actually onerous to search out expertise, it’s vital that everybody will get that love and pleasure from their supervisor proper from the start.”

So, I’m having to place one other individual in between me and my GMs, which might trigger an inside persona and identification disaster. That’s simply the character of a growth-focused idea. 

Nonetheless, my greatest concern is that our tradition will find yourself getting diluted. After we first opened our second location in Oakland, we employed an outdoor common supervisor. As I interviewed candidates, I saved this concern in my thoughts and requested everybody what they might do to maintain our tradition constant so I may discover somebody who cared about it as a lot as I do. 

Fortunately, they’re doing an incredible job at maintaining our tradition alive — which makes everybody’s life higher.

Coaching for change  

Earlier than beginning Sq. Pie Guys, I labored as a skilled chef in numerous eating places. I left as a result of I used to be satisfied there was no method to obtain a piece/life steadiness — no manner for individuals to make a good amount of cash, have a great life, and work within the restaurant trade. 

I’ve additionally skilled the worst administration kinds at very high-end eating places. One in every of my cooks tried to show me by letting me fail over and over — and it solved nothing. I used to be skilled on the identical station by completely different individuals, every of whom did the identical factor in their very own manner. 

That very same chef, the one who had me prepare with the opposite cooks, would see one thing I used to be doing that I had simply realized and say, “that’s not how we do it.” The individual they informed me to belief simply spent the final week coaching me on that course of … they usually’d educate me their manner. Then the Government Chef would are available and say, “None of that is right!” 

After strolling away from the trade, I inadvertently labored my manner again with a speculation of how I may change these points. I knew that once I began a enterprise, I’d by no means need that sort of poisonous, inconsistent work setting for my crew. It’s not skilled, moral, or motivational. 

So, we’ve constructed a constant operation as a substitute. We offer our crew the instruments and by no means ask them to step outdoors of what’s lifelike —  and accessible — to attain. It’s been an enormous success for us as a result of it permits us to coach individuals and provides them the alternatives to be taught till they only get it. That consistency I feel has been an enormous a part of our success. 

Everybody learns all the things

Crew members are required to get licensed on a station earlier than they work it alone — even our common managers. As your duty will increase, you accumulate information with it. So for those who’re an hourly crew member, your core operate is clearly producing meals, executing a prep record, cleansing your station, tidying issues up. 

As a shift lead, you progress out of that, however you must nonetheless have the ability to work the stations when wanted. Now you’re answerable for ordering. You’re answerable for taking prep record inventories and making that each day prep record, in addition to speaking with different leads and dealing with elementary HR duties. You’re overseeing that hourly work. 

Everybody has to have the ability to faucet right into a given position if wanted. What we attempt to do is construct a pyramid of information that’s very logical and linear, as a result of our objective is to rent somebody as a dishwasher and have them turn into a GM three years later. That will be the best-in-class situation. 

Documenting the method

We’re nonetheless studying and rising on learn how to make it as constant as doable, however we’re actually targeted on getting the method documented in order that while you’re being skilled, it’s as if there was just one coach in the entire firm. 

To assist streamline the method extra, we’re leveraging a platform referred to as Trainual. The instrument makes it straightforward to coach constantly as a result of the worker can use the app and comply with the system to be skilled on the entire completely different stations. 

Specializing in that consistency, that repeatability, with an app that has all the data the worker wants, actually helps us in a variety of alternative ways. If they’ve questions, they only take a look at the app. Like if somebody forgets when so as to add the purple sauce and the cheese, for instance, they’ll simply consult with the platform. 

Retaining our crew the correct manner 

Like I discussed earlier than, it’s tough within the trade (and in lots of industries) to search out good expertise. And I feel with the intention to maintain the nice crew members we’ve got from on the lookout for one other job, that concept of consistency rings true but once more. 

Constant processes

We publish our schedules with the right quantity of discover. We maintain individuals to the identical requirements. We tackle code violations and efficiency points the identical manner every time, irrespective of who it’s. 

Constant communication 

We additionally present constructions so our crew will be heard and keep away from the traditional difficulty of getting an worker depart indignant sooner or later as a result of regardless of expressing their issues, nothing was ever solved. 

We’ve gone out of our method to create a tradition the place each difficulty will get taken to the highest and handled. Each crew member has the contact data of the homeowners and I constantly encourage everybody to name me and let me know what they want after they want it. We even have an nameless HR reporting line for workers to make use of. 

So I feel that’s a giant a part of our robust retention charge, simply typically attempting to create a construction the place the crew is supported by managers and their wants are being met, as a result of it’s a two-way avenue. 

Lots of restaurant homeowners for a very long time noticed their employees as numbers on a spreadsheet or as replaceable sources. There have positively been occasions when individuals in my firm have had extra outdated opinions on issues like that. 

I’m so grateful that I get to be the proprietor who will get to tug my crew again in and realign them to concentrate on the oldsters that we’re supporting. There are too many corporations the place the managers are begging possession to assist them and their crew and it falls on deaf ears.

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