Sunday, November 18, 2012

You are what (& where) you eat...

So of late, or of lately, or maybe later than you think.... The owners of Papa John's Pizza and a large franchisee owner of some Denny's restaurants are blowing their nose all over the place saying, "oh, oh...Obamacare is gonna put me outa business!  I will have to lay off people!  I will have to cut wages!  Hours will be cut!"  Well, the long distance past I will admit to having eaten at a Denny's and have had Papa John's Pizza.  And I now avoid both places....because...well... the food really really sucks.

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
They hit the news...NEWS almost two years ago...during protests at the State Capital when Scott Walker was doing his Draconian measures to destroy teachers unions.  It started when someone asked, at the end of the night, if there were any left=over pizzas they could take up to the capital to feed some of the folks doing an all night vigil/protest inside the capital building.  Ian's said, "sure". And then..... on twitter, FB, emails the word spread.  And phone orders started pouring in.. eventually folks from all 50 states and some 60 foreign countries using credit cards to donate pizzas to the protesters.  And... Ian's delivered.  Now...there are two Ian's pizzas in Madison, one in Milwaukee and one in Chicago.  The guy worked hard...had a business model he wanted to work with...and paid off.  And this is not a 'usual pizza the clip.

and so it went.  Ian's worked around the clock.  Employees worked double shifts.  Their dough machine broke down.  At the time there were numerous stories on the net, Youtube, in the print media.
Anywayz..... So the CEO of Papa John's....The Dude from Denny's... they are gnashing their teeth and flapping their gums...because...oh oh oh...treating people like people is SO UNFAIR and gosh....would COST ME MONEY......

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...
Dear You,
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,
Ian 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


Sherry Peyton said...

Enterprises like this one teach us what is so wrong with most. We KNOW things can be different and so we will continue to refuse to listen to the voices of Papa Johns, Walmarts and so forth who claim that such human practices are deadly to business. Bull crap I say.

Ahab said...

We must not listen when conservatives tell us that fair, humane business practices are detrimental to business. It's a lie.

And now I want pizza.

susan said...

There are way more cool people than the other kind. Now if only we could help them smell the pizza from Ian's.

Randal Graves said...

I'm not surprised that their shirts are red.

Snoring Dog Studio said...

Ian's place is the kind of place that holds a community together. Papa John's is a joke. Have you seen that guy's castle? What a jerk.

Life As I Know It Now said...

Denny's sucks as does Papa John's and Dominoes Pizza.

It's great you have better choices and that people really do reach out to help others when called upon.

Larry said...

I agree. Papa John's is an inferior product to the one he used to own - Pizza Hut.

I had forgotten about Ian's. I made a small contribution back during the heyday of the protests. Glad to see they have come out of that with bells on their toes and more.

okjimm said...

Sherry... I quit eating franchise/fast food along time ago...simply tastes like shit. Oh, there are exceptions I went to a Hardees about three years ago for a biscuit and coffee after digging the daughters car out of a snow bank. It was an emergency. My feet were cold and wet and it was nearby. I quit going to big box retailers years ago as well..or whenever possible. I discovered that some necessary items...socks, underwear, jeans...there is no longer and recourse.

Ahab...after all this pizza talk, I wanted one, too. Walked on down to Cranky Pats

Susan... State St in Madison is loaded with good eating places. I need to find someone to take a road trip with me. It's only and hour and a half away!

Randal...Everyone wears Red on Badger football days in Madison...
Go Big Red! Fuck 'em Bucky!

okjimm said...

Jean...ya, my brother sent me some pics. the guy has an underground garage...with his multiple cars on a 'turntable' for easy access. Jerk wad.

Life...all in all...Wisconsin is a nice place. Some of the best food is still found up North at little Mom&Pop cafes and taverns.

Larry...I guess they are doing great. Madison is a fun place on a saturday. Nice bars and restaurants up and down State and around the Square. If you ever have occasion to visit..try the Essen Haus...good beer and food. the old Hotel Ruby Marie is just next door. It has been awhile...but it was one of the better football weekends I have ever experienced.

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