The Pizza Press serves up a custom training experience
By Brandon May


The Pizza Press is a restaurant enterprise headquartered in Anaheim, California that provides customers with customized pizza creations as well as old pizza classics. A unique item featured on the restaurant’s menu includes the “Publish Your Own,” which allows guests to create their own pizza from the restaurant’s full line of sauces, toppings, and crust options. Currently, there are numerous franchise opportunities available across the country. At the moment, there are 35 franchise units, five of which are currently opened and 2 of which are corporate stores.


The Pizza Press Franchise Training Process
Mark Miller, the corporate trainer and field supporter who’s been with The Pizza Press for five years, discusses how the company moves forward with the training of employees at new franchises. According to Miller, the first thing that needs to happen is the training schedule. About six weeks before the grand opening, the franchisee, manager, and up to one other employee is brought in for in-store training and in-class training that lasts 7 days, 10 hours a day. In regards to the 70-hour workweek, Miller explains, “The reason we do that is to prep them for what grand opening week will be like. You know, all the things that go into the grand opening and how stressful that will be. We really want to prime them when they go back.”

Following this initial training, franchisees are then asked to check their construction punch list to help them determine when they’ll be ready to make the actual on-site training schedule. When this has been accomplished, Miller and another trainer go out to the actual store location 10 days prior to grand opening. The purpose of this is to carry the franchise through both soft opening and grand opening. Generally, Miller and another trainer spend 12 days on-site with the franchisee, guiding them on the best principles, tactics, and techniques for managing a successful store.

Miller further expands on the initial training program: “What we do for the initial training is we will do two days in-class and five days in-store, and then after that it’s all in-store, and we’ll do some PowerPoint presentations—pretty much all live training.” He also describes how The Pizza Press tries to get involved in the local community for the purpose of getting its name out there: “We want them to get familiarized with the area. We have them go out and market to the locals during that training to really get the area primed for that opening.”

There are four separate training modules for new franchisees: pizza building, catching, register, and prep. The Pizza Press wants all employees to be able to work each and every position as this helps provide increased flexibility in the scheduling of employees. If the pizza builder calls in sick, then another employee can take his/her place without compromising the quality of the job.

In relation to having the franchisee training the employees, The Pizza Press would rather the head of corporate training be in charge of the process. Business owners may have their own preconceived ideas of how to manage a store, but this often conflicts with the company’s overall brand concept. Miller said, “The reason we don’t want the franchisee to train employees is because I’m going to carry the brand much more than they would, and they’re going to come in with their own ideas—which is fine—but they bought into our brand, so they need to say the things I want to say, they need to hit the markers that I need them to hit, and we need them to carry the level of customer service that I need them to carry, not the level of customer service their owner may carry, because they may be two very different things.”

Challenges and Continual Training
For multi-unit franchisees, The Pizza Press sets up a program that prevents franchisees from opening their stores at the same time. Multi-unit franchisors will receive training at their current store with their new staff and their current staff. On another challenge with the training process, Miller comments that franchisees may have a hard time making sure the landlords’ hard grand open date doesn’t conflict with the construction schedule or the training date. “Sometimes things can go wrong, like the city didn’t get the gas connected, so this can interfere with training,” Miller says.

One aspect of a successful company is the implementation of continual training, particularly if the franchisee fails to absorb the knowledge received during initial training. So, it should come as no surprise that The Pizza Press does offer continual training for franchisees whenever necessary.Following the grand opening of a new location, Miller travels to the store every single month to determine if the franchisee requires more training. This continued training does come at a cost, however, but The Pizza Press tries to extend training whenever possible before charging. According to Miller, “It’s beneficial for them to be successful, so we try to do everything we can.”

About The Pizza Press
The Pizza Press experience delivers delicious new creations, old classics and the rare chance to create a pizza. At The Pizza Press, every patron is a publisher and every pizza is a brand new edition. It’s this custom approach to “pizza storytelling” that makes the concept truly newsworthy. When hungry guests step into line at The Pizza Press, they are greeted by “newsboys” and a menu of pizzas named for regional newspapers. But our guests find it even more fun to publish their own pizzas, creating original editions from our generous list of sauces, meats, and veggies. Every pizza is assembled in front of the customer with thin-crust, no matter how many add-ons, are always “hot off the press” in under four minutes!

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