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Men’s Warehouse Deals With Store Isolation With Pizza

May 18th, 2011

When these types of morale-boosting events happen, a typical employee reaction can be—and often not without justification—”Instead of you doing all this work to set this up and me having to make all of this effort to enjoy it, why not just give us the money you were going to spend on us? That’s the best way to boost my morale.”

In this instance, though, the chain wanted to appreciate each and every store employee, but only as long as it cost $5 or less per person. At that level, the chain was quite correct. Giving an employee a bonus of $5—pre-tax, mind you—is probably going to be more insulting than encouraging. For $5, the three unexpected free slices of hot pizza (which is how much was allotted for each worker) was probably the better choice.

The total cost of the event, Panaccione said, was $70,000. That comes to about $13.21 per pizza. That’s just about the regular price for that pizza from Domino’s. Doesn’t a 5,300-unit order merit a volume discount? Panaccione clarified that the $70K price included tips and delivery charges, plus the chain received an unspecified number of discounts and coupons for future events.

Why not simply authorize each store manager to have done this directly and save all of that coordination effort from corporate? Panaccione said that Men’s Warehouse wanted to honor its store managers, too. “Each store does have a small budget, for things like getting donuts for the crew, but it’s still asking someone else to do the work,” she said.

Some stores were so busy with customers on that Saturday they couldn’t even sample the pies until long after they were delivered. One store, she said, had the pizzas delivered at noon and they couldn’t eat them until 8:00 PM. She speculated that the pies were likely refrigerated during that time—this is a clothing store, not a dorm room—and then heated in the store microwave. “Or they might have put it on the steam press,” Panaccione said, quickly adding “that was a joke.”

This type of tactic is unlikely to solve most of the isolation feelings coming from store employees. But it certainly is a pleasant start. By the by, wouldn’t making your employees eat Domino’s be typically reserved for disciplinary action?


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