The hidden cost of hiring a mediocre pizza chef

Posted on Tuesday, December 8, 2020 by Alan Pizzaiolo TribeNo comments

If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur!



I am sure we are all aware of this, but sometimes it is difficult to quantify what we can call “the cost of mediocrity”. It’s easy to notice the difference between £22.5k  and £25k a year when we need to attract a good pizza chef, but it’s more difficult to notice a waste or cost to the business of -on average- £6 a day caused by incompetence. So where does this waste happen? Looking at my own experience and feedback we received on Facebook groups we can divide the costs of mediocrity in 4 categories.


Hidden Costs:

These are costs that accrue due to incompetence but also carelessness or not taking ownership, in other words not treating the business like if it was his/hers.

  • Overbuying
  • Not turning stock quick enough
  • Not storing stock properly
  • Not using stock that’s near expiry date for specials

    Which all results in extra waste and an increased food cost

  • Putting too much toppings (this really is an art, making a pizza look full and well topped)
  • Using too much mozzarella, our most expensive ingredient. The quantity of mozzarella we use should be standardised, I appreciate we can’t use scales to weigh every single portion for every single pizza, but maybe we should have random checks

    This again leads to increased food cost. 


 Performance issues:

  • Burning too many pizzas or making them unsellable by deforming them when laying them in the oven
  • Forgetting toppings or making mistakes so that refunds have to be offered or new pizzas made. Or sometimes this leads to delays that have a know on effect o the rest of the evening
  • Not checking orders/ tickets properly hence making mistakes like not putting vegan cheese on a vegan pizza
  • Not being fast enough so that we lose orders at rush hour or we lose customers because we can’t turn tables quickly enough, or frustrate customers with long waits and lose their future custom. A compromise must be found so that we have a speedy, but accurate/quality service




Quality is paramount and customers will often forgive a long wait or high price if the product is very good. Unless we serve a cheap, fast market (like festivals) where there is little chance of getting returning customers, quality should always be our priority.

  • Pizzas are slightly burnt especially on the underside or crust, not cooked enough, not crispy enough, not proved enough, have bubbles etc

These are all issues that in the long run will lose us a lot of customers and a lot of money. A good pizzaiolo will be able to sort them, especially problems with the dough or cooking temperature. Possibly even finding new procedures/systems to speed service and maintain our high standards.



A mediocre pizza chef will cost us time in terms of training and making sure they get to the standard we like. A good pizza chef will take a load off our shoulder for example by making sure that compliance (HACCP) is followed, cleanliness maintained, we are informed of items that we are low on (so that we don’t have to dash and buy stuff last minute), making orders and in general by treating our place like if it was theirs


If you have any comments or think we have forgotten some important points please get in touch we would like to hear your opinion

 Photo by Masarath Alkhaili on Unsplash


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