But, I do like Pizza...and my section of beautiful downtown Wisconsin is blessed with a good half dozen 'non-franchise' places to get a good pie. Ain't no deal, really...but it got me to thinking a bit of a Pizza place down in Madison, WI.....Ian's
AND, the founder of Ian's sticks with what he wants to do... and writes his philsophy up in a little newslateer on there web page....check this out...
The ongoing political events here in Madison have been nothing short of historic for the people of Wisconsin and, on a much smaller scale, Ian’s Pizza. Starting on February 16th, Ian’s Pizza was entrusted with delivering pizzas to demonstrators on behalf of people from all 50 states, over 60 countries and Antarctica. Media coverage soon followed with articles mentioning us by name in newspapers all around the world. The following on Ian’s Pizza on State’s Facebook page alone grew from 3,900 to almost 15,000 fans in one week. Given all of the media scrutiny, not surprisingly, many people have asked what Ian’s Pizza stands for.
When I founded Ian’s Pizza 10 years ago, I wanted to create a business that could make a positive difference in the lives of our employees and customers. I wasn’t convinced I could change the world, but within the confines of the four orange walls in our original store I was confident Ian’s could be a force for good. Over the past decade Ian’s Pizza has grown to four stores, yet the values, which were so important to me in beginning, persist throughout our company today.
One of the greatest contributions we can make to our community is to be a good employer. We believe being a good employer means, above all, treating people with dignity. We don’t believe yelling is an effective means of communicating with each other. We cherish greeting our co-workers with a smile and sharing a beer after work. Disagreements are okay, demeaning comments are not.
We realize that you have many choices when you want to go out for pizza. While we work very hard to serve you the best pizza we know possible, what makes Ian’s Pizza unique and what truly is our greatest asset, is the people who work with us. Simply stated, our goal as a business is to continually humanize our work environment and personalize your customer experience.
In addition to treating our staff with dignity, our leaders are also expected to practice Servant Leadership. The practice of Servant Leadership, which was coined by Robert Greenleaf in a book of the same name, simply states that the job of the leader is to serve the organization and not the other way around. I understand Servant Leadership to mean that ultimately, as a leader at Ian’s, it’s my job to help our staff be successful in theirs.
The tangible employee benefits we believe in include the practice of paying good wages, providing generous vacation time (long-time employees receive one month paid vacation each year), and matching employee’s 401K contributions. We also offer 100% employer-paid health insurance to full-time employees. Health insurance is an issue which resonates very strongly with me. My dad was involved in various entrepreneurial activities while I was growing up and for most of my adolescence we only had catastrophic medical insurance. The lack of adequate health insurance was a concern my parents passed on to me. In April of 2002 we began offering 100% company paid health insurance for our staff and have done so ever since.
We are an open book management company. Staff are required to know and report on company financials during staff meetings. Bonuses, based on the company’s profitability, were first paid at our original store on a trimester basis in 2005. Our other stores have paid bonuses on an annual basis, when possible. Although many small businesses might be leery of disclosing their finances, we’ve found that operating in a system of total financial transparency results in better productivity and financial performance.
Lastly, we believe in providing a path to ownership for qualified staff. Initially, I was very cautious and even skeptical about growing the company beyond one store. Ultimately I reached the conclusion that expanding Ian’s would create opportunities for staff to remain working with us and still grow professionally. Today, our Chicago location is owned by a UW history major who worked with us through school, while our stores in Milwaukee and State St. are owned by several long-time employees.
For the sake of brevity I have not described our philosophies on food or customer service. (Please know that we have strong opinions on both subjects!) For now, let me conclude by stating what will come across as obvious to everyone, but during these heated times, might be forgotten by some: Ian’s Pizza is not a political party.
We stand in solidarity with anyone who shares our company’s values, but we don’t believe it’s our job to endorse a specific political entity. Despite the highly polarized political climate we live in, we feel food (especially pizza!) is something that brings us together regardless of political orientation. When you choose to order a pizza with us you are also supporting the practices I outline above.
This years marks our 10 year anniversary and I’d like to thank not only all of those who supported us these past several weeks but also over the past decade.
With love and appreciation,
ok....so Wisconsin is not just a Bat shit crazy Governor,,,,, a moron VP candidate.....and Madison is NOT a typical city.....a former Governor, A decent Republican, once described Madison as, "a few square miles of insanity surrounded by the rest of the State" which is about right.
Anywayz...maybe the point is that life is just stuff.... but we still choose, whether you are a customer or an owner....what you put on your pizza