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Interview with the Pizza Delivery Guy

An interview around gratitude and appreciation within the food service industry.

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For this part of the research, I decided to interview my partner, who works in the food service industry. More specifically, he works for a big-chain pizza company doing deliveries on the weekends while he works towards becoming an entrepreneur/business owner. When we sat down to have this interview, he already had an idea what it would be about. I began generally just gauging how he felt in the workplace. "Three out of five" he responded when asked about his satisfaction level. His reasoning was very logical. The way his company works is on a star system. The first three stars are earned during orientation, so everyone starts off on an even playing field. Taking on more responsibility, like learning to make pizza instead of solely delivering it, raised you up. He was currently at the three star rated and expressed that he wanted to work higher. This lead me to ask if he feels appreciated at work by his company; as an individual and as a three-star employee (as compared to a five-star employee). Adding the caveat that it was his co-workers, not the company, that made him feel appreciated, he agreed that yes he felt appreciated and that the coworkers showed him gratitude. When asked to elaborate, he came to the conclusion that it was the little things that his co-workers did that made him feel appreciated. They greet him when he comes back from runs, they say thank you often and ask how he feels. Generally, he stated, "they treat me like a person, not a robot that delivers pizza. I think they're fully aware that it's a choice for me to be there." But how could the company show their appreciation? Certainly not company-sponsored events. I asked him about the different between consideration and appreciation by the company and this was the example that came to mind. Company-sponsored events are to promote the company and strictly benefits the company, rather than being used to show its appreciation for its workers. However, when asked how to address this problem, the solution came quickly. Give each location their own budget for celebrations, and encourage a once a month party for the event of their choosing. Celebrating a wedding, national cactus day, a birthday, or anything that says "thanks for working for us, have some time, on us, to relax and celebrate something". This was a great point. Feeling appreciated shouldn't come from something that feels mandated and impersonal, or seems as if it benefits the company rather than the employees. Gratitude comes from a very personal place, and feeling comfortable enough with the people around you to share your gratitude is a big step in increasing it in the workplace.

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I agree with the pizza delivery guy; employees communicate more, and therefore tend to show more gratitude toward each other than the leadership does. Although there is not a specific process laid out for management to show appreciation for employee's, this specific workplace maintains gratitude on its own.

I think workplace parties or other company sponsored thank you events could help a company show gratitude; however, it seems to appeal more to extrinsic motivation rather than intrinsic. What are your thoughts on intrinsic motivation and gratitude? I found this article about intrinsic motivation to be helpful: https://www.forbes.com/sites/paycom/2017/03/09/are-employee-engagement-and-employee-motivation-the-same-thing/#6eb75d5b2933