From the horse's mouth

Everyone does business a different way. In this department, PMQ poses two to three questions each issue to a group of owners/operators from across the country so you can see what others think about certain topics. In this department, you get the word straight from the horse's mouth. If you have a question you would like to have asked or would like to volunteer and voice your opinions, email Tom Boyles at tom@pmq.com.

Demitra Georgopoulos – We pay our delivery drivers starting at $8.50 (starting at $8.62 in San Francisco) with the addition of their tips. Since we continue to provide our customers with free delivery, we do not pay our drivers per run, but instead they are paid at a rate higher than the state's minimum wage.

Richard Young – We started delivery just before the first of the year. Our drivers are inside employees and are paid their regular wage. We do however, charge for delivery. That fee runs between one to three dollars depending on the distance from our store. The driver gets the entire delivery charge and any tips that he receives.

Dennis Sheil – We pay them minimum wage plus a delivery fee per pizza, based on the delivery zone. This fee varies from one to four dollars (we have a very large delivery area).  We have eight drivers between the two stores, but only two at a time working at each store.

Mike Garibaldi – Our pay varies with experience, but we pay our drivers between six and seven an hour and 21 cents per mile driven, though my drivers have been telling me that it isn't quite enough, so we may be going up on that soon. There is a 75 cent charge for delivery that we get and they get the mileage reimbursement.

Do you offer special benefits to employees?

Demitra Georgopoulos – Yes! We offer health care benefits and a 401K/profit-sharing plan to our employees. Other benefits we offer include: educational opportunities for managers, family discounts and participation in corporate events and conferences.

Richard Young – Because we are just short of being a year old, we do not offer any benefits so to speak.  However, we are very concerned with the well being of our employees.  So we are very accommodating as far as allowing time off for family concerns, doctors appointments and such.  This seems to keep them very happy and loyal.

Dennis Sheil – We have two stores and about 30 employees. We have no formal benefits, but overall are very generous with our employees. Since one store is in Rio Vista, California and the other is in Fountain, Colorado, we will occasionally send employees to the other store for a week so they can have a little change of pace. We also do a lot of little things like match tips for them dollar for dollar and matching their (most) charitable contributions they make to organizations of their choice. Employees can get time off pretty much whenever they want time off also. We make up our schedule a week in advance and as long as they ask before the schedule is made, we can almost always accommodate it. Once the schedule is made, we ask that they work with us finding someone to take their shift.

Mike Garibaldi – We really haven't been able to put together a benefit package that makes any kind of sense. We do try to negotiate some deals with the places around us for things like oil changes. We've got a couple of preferred providers that help our employees with maintenance on their vehicles. We're actually talking with our restaurant association to allow pooling of several restaurants to get some affordable healthcare.

How do you handle employee meals?

Demitra Georgopoulos – All menu items are available to all employees at a nominal fee, ranging from the price of 50 cents to $4.00.   

Richard Young – We allow our employees to eat free while they are on shift. They can have anything on the menu as long as it is a regular size portion that we normally sell. Pizzas are different. If it is a personal size, we will provide it at no charge. Larger ones are charged the regular price, less 10 percent. Once in a while, we do have a pizza or other item that was not picked up or made incorrectly and we do allow them to take those home at no charge. I will say that wrongly made pizzas happen rarely.

Dennis Sheil – We offer pizza, pasta, calzones, breadsticks, wings, wraps, sandwiches and salads. Most of our employees usually don't eat pizza: they usually take a sandwich or salad. The number of hours they work determines what they're entitled to. They are entitled to a certain dollar amount and then a 50 percent discount above that dollar amount. They can have as many drinks as they want.

Mike Garibaldi – We don't charge them for drinks – they can have whatever they need. For meals, our employees pay half price for their food on the days they work. We have a luncheon buffet, and once that's over, we let them finish up the leftovers for free.