1. Read the Case Facts



Angelo’s Pizza Case Facts (Student Question Prompts are Located after Case Facts)

Angelo Camero was brought up in the Bronx, New York, and basically always wanted to be in the pizza store business. As a youngster, he would sometimes spend hours at the local pizza store, watching the owner knead the pizza dough, flatten it into a large circular crust, fling it up, and then spread on tomato sauce in larger and larger loops. After graduating from college as a marketing major, he made a beeline back to the Bronx, where he opened his first Angelo’s Pizza store, emphasizing its clean, bright interior; its crisp green, red, and white sign; and his all-natural, fresh ingredients. Within five years, Angelo’s store was a success, and he had opened three other stores and was considering franchising his concept.

Eager as he was to expand, his four years in business school had taught him the difference between being an entrepreneur and being a manager. As an entrepreneur/small business owner, he knew he had the distinct advantage of being able to personally run the whole operation himself. With just one store and a handful of employees, he could make every decision and watch the cash register, check in the new supplies, oversee the takeout, and personally supervise the service.

When he expanded to three stores, things started getting challenging. He hired managers for the two new stores (both of whom had worked for him at his first store for several years) and gave them only minimal “how to run a store”–type training, on the assumption that, having worked with him for several years, they already knew pretty much everything they needed to know about running a store. However, he was already experiencing human resource management problems, and he knew there was no way he could expand the number of stores he owned, or (certainly) contemplate franchising his idea, unless he had a system in place that he could clone in each new store to provide the managers (or the franchisees) with the necessary management knowledge and expertise to run their stores. Angelo had no training program in place for teaching his store managers how to run their stores. He simply (erroneously, as it turned out) assumed that by working with him they would learn how to do things on the job. Since Angelo had no system in place, the new managers were, in a way, starting off below zero when it came to how to manage a store.

There were several issues that particularly concerned Angelo. Finding and hiring good employees was number one. He’d read the new National Small Business Poll from the National Federation of Independent Business Education Foundation. It found that 71% of small business owners believed that finding qualified employees was “hard.” Furthermore, “the search for qualified employees will grow more difficult as demographic and education factors” continue to make it more difficult to find employees. Similarly, reading the Kiplinger Letter one day, he noticed that just about every type of business couldn’t find enough good employees to hire. Small firms were particularly in jeopardy; the Letter said that giant firms can outsource many (particularly entry-level) jobs abroad, and larger companies can also afford to pay better benefits and to train their employees. Small firms rarely have the resources or the economies of scale to allow outsourcing or to install the big training programs that would enable them to take untrained new employees and turn them into skilled ones.

Although finding enough employees was his biggest problem, finding enough honest ones scared him even more. Angelo recalled from one of his business school courses that companies in the United States are losing a total of well over $400 billion a year in employee theft. As a rough approximation, that works out to about $9 per employee per day and about $12,000 lost annually for a typical company. Furthermore, it was small companies like Angelo’s that were particularly in the crosshairs, because companies with fewer than 100 employees are particularly prone to employee theft. Why are small firms particularly vulnerable? Perhaps they lack experience dealing with the problem. More importantly: Small firms are more likely to have a single person doing several jobs, such as ordering supplies and paying the delivery person. This undercuts the checks and balances managers often strive for to control theft. Furthermore, the risk of stealing goes up dramatically when the business is largely based on cash. In a pizza store, many people come in and buy just one or two slices and a cola for lunch, and almost all pay with cash, not credit cards.

And, Angelo was not just worried about someone stealing cash. They can steal your whole business idea, something he learned from painful experience. He had been planning to open a store in what he thought would be a particularly good location and was thinking of having one of his current employees manage the store. Instead, it turned out that this employee was, in a manner of speaking, stealing Angelo’s brain: what Angelo knew about customers, suppliers, where to buy pizza dough, where to buy tomato sauce, how much everything should cost, how to furnish the store, where to buy ovens, store layout—everything. This employee soon quit and opened up his own pizza store, not far from where Angelo had planned to open his new store.

That he was having trouble hiring good employees, there was no doubt. The restaurant business is particularly brutal when it comes to turnover. Many restaurants turn over their employees at a rate of 200% to 300% per year—so every year, each position might have a series of two to three employees filling it. As Angelo said, “I was losing two to three employees a month,” adding, “We’re a high-volume store, and while we should have about six employees per store [to fill all the hours in a week], we were down to only three or four, so my managers and I were really under the gun.”

The problem was bad at the hourly employee level: “We were churning a lot at the hourly level,” said Angelo. “Applicants would come in, my managers or I would hire them and not spend much time training them, and the good ones would leave in frustration after a few weeks, while often it was the bad ones who’d stay behind.” But in the last two years, Angelo’s three company-owned stores also went through a total of three store managers—“They were just blowing through the door,” as Angelo put it, in part because, without good employees, their workday was brutal. As a rule, when a small business owner or manager can’t find enough employees (or an employee doesn’t show up for work), about 80% of the time the owner or manager does the job himself or herself. So, these managers often ended up working seven days a week, 10 to 12 hours a day, and many just burned out in the end. One night, working three jobs himself with customers leaving in anger, Angelo decided he’d never just hire someone because he was desperate again, but would start doing his hiring more rationally.

Angelo knew he should have a more formal screening process. As he said, “If there’s been a lesson learned, it’s much better to spend time up front screening out candidates who don’t fit than to hire them and have to put up with their ineffectiveness.” He also knew that he could identify many of the traits that his employees needed. For example, he knew that not everyone has the temperament to be a waiter (he has a small pizza/Italian restaurant in the back of his main store). As Angelo said, “I’ve seen personalities that were off the charts in assertiveness or overly introverted, traits that obviously don’t make a good fit for a waiter or waitress.”

As a local business, Angelo recruits by placing help wanted ads in two local newspapers, and he’s been “shocked” at some of the responses and experiences he’s had in response to the ads. Many of the applicants left voicemail messages (Angelo or the other workers in the store were too busy to answer), and some applicants Angelo “just axed” on the assumption that people without good telephone manners wouldn’t have very good manners in the store, either. He also quickly learned that he had to throw out a very wide net, even if hiring only one or two people. Many people, as noted, he eliminated from consideration because of the messages they left, and about half the people he scheduled to come in for interviews didn’t show up. He’d taken courses in human resource management, so (as he said) “I should know better,” but he hired people based almost exclusively on a single interview (he occasionally made a feeble attempt to check references). In total, his HR approach was obviously not working. It wasn’t producing enough good recruits, and the people he did hire were often problematic.

What was he looking for? Service-oriented courteous people, for one. For example, he’d hired one employee who used profanity several times, including once in front of a customer. On that employee’s third day, Angelo had to tell her, “I think Angelo’s isn’t the right place for you,” and he fired her. As Angelo said, “I felt bad, but also knew that everything I have is on the line for this business, so I wasn’t going to let anyone run this business down.” Angelo wants reliable people (who’ll show up on time), honest people, and people who are flexible about switching jobs and hours as required. He calls his management style “trust and track.” “I coach them and give them goals, and then carefully track results.”

Angelo’s Pizza business has only the most rudimentary human resource management system. Angelo bought several application forms at a local Office Depot, and rarely uses other forms of any sort. He uses his personal accountant for reviewing the company’s books, and Angelo himself computes each employee’s paycheck at the end of the week and writes the checks. Training is entirely on-the-job. Angelo personally trained each of his employees. For those employees who go on to be store managers, he assumes that they are training their own employees the way that Angelo trained them (for better or worse, as it turns out). Angelo pays “a bit above” prevailing wage rates (judging by other help wanted ads), but probably not enough to make a significant difference in the quality of employees whom he attracts. If you asked Angelo what his reputation is as an employer, Angelo, being a candid and forthright person, would probably tell you that he is a supportive but hard-nosed employer who treats people fairly, but whose business reputation may suffer from disorganization stemming from inadequate organization and training.Angelo has approached you and asked you to respond (in writing & in your own words) to the following four questions: * Label and answer each question separately!* Follow the directions in each question

* NO References NEEDED

Question 1: My strategy is to (hopefully) expand the number of stores and eventually franchise, while focusing on serving only high-quality fresh ingredients. What are three specific human resource management implications of my strategy (including specific policies and practices)? Question 2: Identify and briefly discuss five specific human resource management errors that I’m currently making.

Question 3: Develop a structured interview form that we can use for hiring (1) store managers, (2) wait staff, and (3) counter people/pizza makers.

Question 4: Based on what you know about Angelo’s, and what you know from having visited pizza restaurants, write a 3-4 paragraph outline showing specifically how you think Angelo’s should go about selecting employees.

(EXAMPLE PAPER) – The Angelo’s Pizza Case Facts and Questions are also available on the attached pdf file.




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