Managing your pizzeria: 5 ways to reduce employee turnover

Competition for high performers is getting stiffer, and the rules are changing. Here’s how to keep your crew happy and productive.


Your employees are your business. They greet and serve your customers, open and close the pizza shop, handle the money, and work alongside you in the kitchen. Each night, they leave, and each morning, you hope they come back.

Other pizzerias would love to hire your high-performing employees. You have to keep them happy, or they might look elsewhere. Here are five ways to improve employee retention at your pizza shop:

1. Create flexible working hours. There’s a lot of chatter about millennials and how to manage them. More than two-thirds of all service-industry employees are under 35 years old, and three out 10 are between ages 19 and 26. Often, they’re students balancing inconsistent study schedules with part-time work or people working multiple jobs. Millennials value flexibility. Building a schedule that accommodates their personal obligations will greatly improve their satisfaction.

2. Be consistent. Recently, Reuters profiled a McDonald’s employee whose work hours fluctuated almost weekly. Last-minute schedule changes can make income and life unpredictable for workers, a problem that’s getting attention from politicians in states like Oregon and New York. Creating consistent weekly schedules, weeks in advance, is a big win if you’re looking to improve employee retention.

3. Offer training. Professional development is a powerful way to keep employees happy and productive. Can you offer them training in new skills? Can they work in another part of the restaurant one day a week—or move over entirely—to learn a new part of the business? Is there a relevant seminar or class that might improve their work? Think outside the box, and you’ll watch your employees’ contentment and productivity rise. 

4. Incentivize results. No matter how busy you get, don’t forget to reward your star performers. Results that go unnoticed can be deflating to employees, giving them a reason to look elsewhere. Find ways to keep track of employees who consistently perform. For example, acknowledge their on-time arrivals and reward them with a small token of appreciation.

5. Communicate! Communication is particularly important in the workplace. Some messages need to be communicated verbally and in-person, such as feedback on how an employee is doing at their job. Other messages can be delivered electronically. Most small businesses still handle time-off or shift-trade requests on paper or verbally, and these can easily get lost or forgotten. Putting electronic systems in place—such as specialized scheduling software—will improve your ability to quickly and clearly communicate with employees and can have an impact on their output. 

John Waldman is the co-founder and CEO of Homebase (, which provides a free real-time software solution that helps over 60,000 small businesses eliminate the paperwork of managing their hourly employees, manage overtime, and curb absenteeism and turnover.



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