We recently surveyed more than 100 pizza chefs, living and working in the UK and as usual (and not surprisingly) salaries are always a hot topic, but with this survey we also wanted to find out what motivates pizza chefs. Of the 136 pizzaioli that responded the majority are Head Pizza Chef (Q1) and works for an independent pizzeria or a very small chain (Q2).
The amount of hours worked seems to be average, with most pizza chefs working 40 to 50 hours a week.
When it comes to hourly rates, in order to make the comparison more meaningful we have only counted responses from head pizza chefs. 40% of them receive less than £12/h which seems very little. But this figure is bound to go up in the next months as the industry comes to terms with the fact that there are no pizza chefs left in the UK and competition is fierce.
Although hourly rates are not that high, 56% of the respondents think that their pay is adequate. 57% are happy or very happy with their job and only 30% are thinking of moving to another pizzeria within the next six months.
So what makes pizza chefs tick, apart from salary?
We think the two key words are: independence and professional growth (Q8,Q10). As someone said in one of the open questions at the end of the survey "employers need to offer more than a salary, they need to offer opportunities".
As we discussed in previous blogs as well, a lot of team members would accept a lower initial salary in exchange for the opportunity to grow within the organisation and learn through specific training or professional courses. It is also very important for individuals to feel they can put their own stamp on what is being served, what ingredients are used, and how they make their own dough. In other words, pizza chefs want some degree of independence!
Lastly, we asked an open-ended question: "In your opinion, apart from salary, what are the other incentives an employer can offer to attract professional pizza chefs?"
One of the answers is a nice working environment with equipment in a good working condition, and the right tools to do the task at hand. Some of our respondents even mention uniforms, they want to be proud to b working for you!
Another word that was mentioned several times is bonus. A lot of the larger chains will have a bonus scheme for their head pizzaiolo, but this is not yet the case in most smaller pizzerias run by independent operators. In our opinion, this is the future! Linking the salary of our top people to the performance of the business and having some skin in the game can make a huge difference on our team's engagement and performance.
Finally the words stability and family come up. Nobody likes zero-hour contracts. These are a real plague on our industry. Although, they have a use in society (think students, young parents and other people that may need flexibility) they just don't offer any level of security or protection to our staff. They are often thrown upon by lenders. People want the reassurance that they will be paid a certain amount every month, without living in fear of being dropped by their employers at a moment's notice. People want to be able to care for their families, but also spend times with them. Offering flexibility and a good work-life balance are nowadays another big competitive advantage.
To end on a positive note, although pizza chefs may not be happy with some aspects of their current jobs, they are proud of what they create and serve. 86% of them would take their family to the pizzeria they work in. In our opinion this question tells a lot about a venue and should be an indicator of how successful a restaurant is. If your own team members won't visit your pizzeria, how can you expect others to do so?
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