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Instead of simply telling his employees he valued them, Elchert showed them by taking the entire day of sales and giving it back to the employees who worked that day.
Thanks to the community, the day was a major success, bringing in 220 orders for a total of $6,300 in sales and $1,200 in tips, according to a Facebook post shared on July 6. Divided amongst the staff and the 96 total hours they worked, each employee made $78 per hour, Elchert revealed.
“You can have the best pizza in the world,” Elchert added to CBS affiliate WTOL. “If you have no one here to make it, it doesn’t matter.”
“Our employees have been so great during COVID, during the pandemic, during this season of uncertainty,” he explained. “They’ve just been fantastic. They show up every day, they’re here in a good mood… we want to take a day and appreciate them.”
Explaining how the program would work, Elchert said, “the total in sales is going to get divided up amongst the employees. Heavenly Pizza is not taking in any of the money. It’s all going to my employees. 100% of the sales are going to my employees.”
On the day of the event, Elchert took to Facebook again to remind his followers about what he was planning to do and to ask the community for their help.
“On Mondays, we do like 90 orders. If we could push the 200-order limit, that would be pretty fantastic,” he said. “It’ll make us bust our butts and work real hard, but gosh, if we could pay our employees $40 or $50 an hour to make pizzas, that’d be pretty fantastic.”
“We’ve all seen the ‘Help wanted’ signs everywhere and we’re not exempt of that. We’ve definitely been short-staffed, but we’ve always had the employees to operate at a sustainable level,” he continued, before reiterating, “Every cent, all the tips, all the orders, anything that comes in today is going directly to the employees that work today.”
“They’ve worked very hard over the past year and their dedication and loyalty to us is greatly appreciated, so hats off to them,” Elchert finished. “I applaud my employees, I appreciate and value them and I hope it’s a good day.”
The community was quick to jump on board, with Elchert even noting that a man came in over the weekend with a $100 bill and asked to donate to the cause because he wasn’t going to be in town on Employee Appreciation Day.
“I put it out to our customers to really kind of show the love to our employees and they did, a lot,” Elchert, who has owned the business for 11 years, explained to WTOL of their profits.
Timmy Lemire, who has worked at Heavenly Pizza for five years and is now the assistant manager, said he was shocked by the outpouring of support.
“I’ve never experienced anything like this before. It’s a big gift,” Lemire told WTOL. “That kind of giving nature is why this place runs so well, works so well.”
Lemire also credited the leadership of Elchert and the close bond of his fellow employees for helping Heavenly Pizza get through the challenging days of the pandemic.
“It’s a family,” Lemire told WTOL of delivery and takeout-focused business. “Find a place where you feel purpose and you won’t feel like you’re meaningless — you’ll feel right where you’re supposed to be.”