*This article is part of “the American Way” campaign, which aims to highlight the U.S. business values and principles which inspire and guide the most successful organizations worldwide.
Mama’s and papa’s pizza concepts are all over the world. Those small, family-run businesses enable the survival of lots of families. But, as many other businesses, they cope with today’s uncertainty, market movements and trends toward healthy, organic, raw, and fresh food. Their survival is also questioned due to technology impact on society and digitalization, but Slice made a revolutionary step and successfully managed to save most of them.
Slice is a digital concept that provides support and assistance to US based pizzerias that compete with big pizza chains through simple online ordering technology. The theory that “Pizza is more than food – it’s a lifestyle” is taking this entrepreneurial delivery platform for local pizza shops on the path towards the US stock exchange. Eight years later, an investor group made a $43 million investment in Slice due to the surge in demand for online shopping and delivery services because of the stay-at-home orders and shutdowns.
From small, privately owned company, Slice became a joint stock company in 2015, followed by significant growth and expansion, not only in sales, but also in locations, human resources, clients, capital, and investments. The American investors saw potential and room for the company’s development and only by implementing minor changes toward the corporate culture, they managed to trace the path to even bigger future success of Slice. “Employees should be valued and cherished. We all should invest in them! In reverse, they will do their best to contribute toward achievement of the company’s goals and vision”. This philosophy of Slice and the entrepreneurial spirit initiated the beginning of a new chapter of the locally written IT code that simplifies the delivery of pizza.
The investments in the following years were focused mainly on the improvement of the website for online ordering, marketing, payment options and the most important – human resources. Before American values and principles were put into place, the company had 100 employees and 5 years of working history on the US market. Today, the company operates in more than 19k pizza shops across 50 states in the US, and employs nearly 800 people in three cities in the Republic of North Macedonia. All the operations are coordinated from Ohrid, Skopje and Debar, while the strategical process optimization is managed according to American business values and principles.
“Maintenance of the level of satisfaction, continuous encouragement and engagement of employees is in constant attention of Slice’s strategic approach” – said Butrint Sela, CEO of Slice North Macedonia. “Due to the size market limitations, we have to invest in trainings and additional skills of our employees, aligning their values and beliefs with the company’s goals while taking good care of their personal well-being. This is not an easy task”, he says. “However, there is a proven benefit into investing in youth as they will grant you with their open-mindedness, high level of motivation and enormous enthusiasm. This typical combination of characteristics allows us to easily guide them toward the company’s goals, while at the same time they are learning the corporate culture of Slice and accepting it as their own. The reality is that we face significant recruitment challenges, as I believe it is the case in many other industries, but once they become our assets, we have to find a way to retain them. And, they personally prefer to stay, which is one of the reasons why, we as a company, have such a low turnover rate”.
Slice’s commitment to building and achieving unity and diversity is immense, which can be seen through the frequency of the team-building activities as part of the corporate culture of this company. “Group activities are the perfect way for employees to exchange know-how, experiences and get to know each other well. It is crucial to show them that personal and professional prospects can be achieved through respecting the individuality of each employee. This is the reason why our key value is – Win Together”, emphasized Butrint Sela. “By understanding the organizational culture, we learn to understand and accept the principles and ideas of others, and the easiest way to achieve this is through giving and receiving feedback” he pointed. According to Sela “Feedback is the fuel that makes the entire process smoother and accelerated. We do not wait for the next quarter or half-year to come in order to discuss and resolve challenges. We are doing it on a daily basis as we believe that we can go further only by listening to the voice of those directly involved in the process”.
Introduction of the concept of meritocracy in 2015 was an inevitable next step that was in line with the beliefs and values of Slice. “With this concept, we managed to create an environment in which employees had a chance to learn from those who were more skilled, perceiving them as their role models who succeeded in inspiring them and awakening their desire for self-improvement and self-development. By providing equal opportunities and proper criteria of the merit system, we have successfully built our corporate culture that relies on respect and support”, concludes Sela.
Slice is dedicated to staff’s self-reliance, as they strongly believe that a responsible and dedicated person creates a healthy environment and awakens the initiative and efficiency that further contributes to the company’s overall success.