Positive Culture, even now? Especially now!

To our amazing customers, December 29, 2008

The positive culture of Flying Pie Pizzaria has been widely admired for the past 25 years. We have always celebrated our “Above zero” results, and set up many systems that help develop the best part of our crews. In the summer of 2007, we took a step toward further protecting that culture, via a holistic document about “Our amazing positive culture” and the kinds of things we do to protect it.

2008 brought challenges unlike any of the past years of experience here. We started by discussing what was happening in the “real world” (or the “other real world” as we often refer to it), and chose the thematic framework we wanted to follow. The decision was made to focus on steps we could take to further protect our Positive Culture from the increasingly negative influences from the outside world.

The primary reason we decided to focus on our positive culture was to protect our team and the place we love. That it turns out to also have been good for business is a delightful ancillary benefit! It is clear that our focus on Positive Culture is THE secret framework behind our success in 2008.

In June we held a meeting with all the staff, about maintaining a protective “bubble” around our positive culture. As one of the steps, at Fairview we blocked all of the cable news stations from our TV! We shared an updated version of the positive culture document with the crews. By now, the positive culture document was 8 pages long, and had a home in both our orientation of new employees, and also in our “Official Playbook”.

Our reader boards have consistently returned to the theme “Okay Flying Pie, cheer me up!” We have seen some huge surges of business and appreciation as a result of those. We have also redoubled our dedication to deeply listening to the messages that the community connects with. Many of our customer comments since June have reflected the story we were acting out.

Amidst a chorus of bad news and negativity, we have held fast to our positive culture, time and time again. Our positive culture has been the lantern that we steadily followed, and following it has led us to delights that are evocative of rare flowers that only blossom after a fire. We feel truly blessed to have welcomed this chance to show how much integrity we have in our remarkable organization.

While most restaurants are down 20-30% compared to 2007, Flying Pie Pizzaria has actually grown. This is due in large part to our fierce protection of our positive culture. As 2008 draws to a close, we find ourselves in rare company, and it is worth savoring. We feel truly blessed to have welcomed this chance to show how much integrity we have in our remarkable organization.
Thank you to our customers who appreciate the great food, great beer and great people we enjoy bringing together. 2009 will likely bring new challenges to all of us. One thing is certain: here at Flying Pie we will continue to focus on sharing our Positive Culture with everyone who walks through our doors.

Howard Olivier
Flying Pie Pizzaria