Venezia’s Values its Employees as Much as it Values its Customers
When a restaurant business stands the test of time, it can be attributed to those that are running the company. At Venezia’s Pizzeria, owner Domenick Montanile has brought in management and support talent that can oversee restaurant operations, food quality and customer care in the same way that his parents Frank and Clara Montanile did when they founded the Arizona-based chain. Area manager, Renny Mitchell is one of the Venezia’s employees that continue to make the restaurant shine!
Mitchell has been with Venezia’s for more than a decade and his story has its roots in the Tempe Venezia’s store. After graduating high school, Mitchell moved out on his own and into a rental house at Mill in Southern in Tempe with friends who were attending ASU. Mitchell explains, “After living there for a few months I became unemployed so I decided to look for employment close to my house. I pulled out of my neighborhood and made the first right into a strip mall. Immediately, I saw this unassuming restaurant that was marked by a neon sign brandishing in big letters ‘Pizza’ on the front. Low and behold, there was a sign in the window that said ‘Now Hiring.’ I walked into the restaurant, which at the time was very small with about 10 tables, walked up to the counter and told them I was interested in becoming a delivery driver.”
“I had no idea the name of the restaurant until I read it on the manager’s shirt ‘Venezia’s.’ I said, ‘How do you say the name?’ To which she replied, ‘VA-NET-ZIAS!’ She then looked at me, made sure I had a pulse and hired me on the spot!” says Mitchell. “When I say on the spot, I mean the – ‘Come back in the kitchen, we will get you a shirt and get you going tonight,’ on the spot,” recalls Mitchell. “Boy, have we come a long way as a company in the last 10 years! After a few years of working there as a driver, it became apparent that this little hole-in-the-wall pizza place had a great future ahead. I decided I wanted to give management a shot, as I had great respect for Dom and how he treated his employees. I guess I saw a lot of myself in Dom and his ability to look into the future with big aspirations and dreams of what was to come. I moved my way up in the company very quickly and seven years later I found myself as the area manager.”
As a seasoned area manager, Mitchell’s duties encompass just about every area of Venezia’s. He states, “My duties range from pizza cook, fry cook, delivery driver, cashier, janitor, plumber, HVAC specialist, handy man, marketing, accounting, policy making, menu management and as a sounding board for employee and manager frustrations. Essentially anything you can think of I do on a daily basis. I will usually work in the morning at the office then head to a store for a lunch rush then go back to the office in the afternoon and head back to another store at night for the dinner rush.”
“I love that when a day starts I am not sure what the day will hold,” adds Mitchell. “The restaurant industry can be the most challenging industry to work in as customers’ expectations can vary widely from store to store. There is not a day that goes by where I get home at the end of the night and think to myself, ‘Man, today was boring.’”
As with most organizations, the corporate culture set by the owners and management sets the standard. It is not different at Venezia’s and Mitchell likes the example that Domenick Montenile sets for the employees. “As I alluded to earlier, Dom is an amazing entrepreneur with huge expectations for himself and his management team,” explains Mitchell. “He is the least content individual that I have met which is the biggest reason for his success. Dom has taught me that you cannot train someone to care they either do or they don’t. The amount of thought that goes into everything Venezia’s does is astounding and it starts at the top with Dom. He has not forgotten where he came from in the least bit. Working with him over the last 10 years I have learned he takes great pride in getting his hands dirty and working side by side with his employees. This is probably the biggest reason you will hardly see him wear a nice pair of slacks! Chances are if you come into a Venezia’s you will see him back in the kitchen tossing out pies just as good as he did back in the day when working at his parents’ restaurant. He is the reason for my success today; not because he was gracious enough to promote me, but because he showed me what it truly means to be a well-rounded person.”
Venezia’s is continuing on a growth trajectory and Mitchell sees great things for the future. He says, “I am looking forward to being able to continue to grow with this company. I am excited for our upcoming re-branding, new website and our focus on more local products. We are in talks right now with a sustainable produce company that is going to change the game for produce over the next few years and we hope to be one of the first high volume restaurants to use them. We will be re-focusing our social media which will allow our customer base to see a little bit more behind the scenes, as well as, highlight some of the different personalities we have working for us.”
It’s always fulfilling when you can work at a job you truly enjoy. Mitchell finishes, “I think what I am most proud of is that I am able to go home at the end of the day on most days and say, ‘I really do love my job!’ When I see a manager that I hired making Venezia’s a better company it fills me with great pride!”
Venezia's Pizzeria is a family-owned and operated series of restaurants in the Valley that incorporates the finest flavors of Italy and the fun and nostalgia of New York style pizzerias into their business. Founders Frank and Clara have retired and son Domenick Montanile has taken over the delicious Venezia's empire with the commitment to food quality, devotion to outstanding authentic flavors and a promise to deliver the best in Montanile Italian family recipes. One of Venezia’s daily specials is a delicious way to discover Venezia’s New York Style pizzas and still leave your wallet intact!
For additional information about Venezia’s, plus a list of daily specials visit www.venezias.com.
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