Minnesota's Punch Pizza to be featured in State of the Union | Pizza | Employment

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Punch Pizza to be featured in State of the Union
Company’s investment in employees is recognized by President Barack Obama; Founder John Soranno and employee Nick Chute are guests of First Lady Michele Obama Minneapolis – Minnesota’s own Punch Pizza will be recognized Tuesday evening by President Barack Obama, as guests of First Lady Michelle Obama for their investment in their employees by establishing a starting wage of $10/hour for their eight Twin Cities locations. In November, Punch announced that it would increase wages to a minimum of $10 for entry-level employees, and pay other positions higher wages to ensure the company attracts and retains the best employees in the food sector. “We are honored to be recognized by the President and First Lady,” Punch Pizza founder and coowner John Soranno said. “As we continue to grow Punch we recognize that only the most dedicated employees will position us to compete and maintain the highest quality food and the best service in the market.” Here are the details of the Punch Pizza investment in employees and quality: • • • • All pizza cooks paid $12-15/hour with the most skilled cooks at a level equivalent of more than $30,000/year New manager salary/bonus more than $50,000 a year and experienced general manager pay of $100,000 a year Launching of Punch University which includes an Italian demonstration and practice oven, video studio for training films and a multi media manager training facility Development of “Pizza Cam”, an innovative quality control system that records every single pizza cooked at all locations for training and quality analysis

“Our decision had nothing to do with politics, that’s what makes the recognition by the President and First Lady such an honor. Punch made the decision to give raises purely based on what is best for our business and our employees,” co-owner John Puckett said. “We believe our investment in our people, and training will give us the an advantage in quality food and superb service in fast casual food.” Punch opened its eighth store in Woodbury last year, and will open a store in Maple Grove this May. Punch is known for it’s award-winning authentic Neapolitan Pizza cooked at 800 degrees utilizing the same centuries old techniques that Neapolitan masters use to create a truly authentic pizza. The world’s finest Southern Italian tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and top-secret dough are the foundation of the pizza, but the true craft is in mastering the wood-fired oven.

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“For a small company that started with one store in Highland Park, and has been recognized for our food for many years, it proves that if you do the right thing, people notice,” said Soranno. “The sweat and hard-work that our employees give to make our pizza and service excellent is emblematic of the American Dream.” The investment will cost Punch almost $3 million over the next 10 years. The owners of Punch strongly feel, given the success of Punch to date and its future growth prospects, the increase in employees’ pay is the type of investment that will continue to make Punch a great company. Punch’s award winning marketing has successfully grown the business and Punch’s customer base through word-of-mouth and social media with creative and spontaneously timed offers. About Punch Pizza Punch was founded in the Highland neighborhood of St. Paul and currently has 8 locations and nearly 300 employees. The authentic Neapolitan Pizza restaurants have grown strategically since 1996 in the Minneapolis-St. Paul market. In December 2013, Punch announced that it would establish a starting wage of $10 / hour in all of its locations and pay market-leading wages in all positions. Our pizza has been featured on Food Network’s “Man vs. Food”, on the Travel Channel’s “Perfect Pizza”, been named one of the Top 10 Pizza Restaurants in America by USA Today as well as other notable local, regional and national recognition. In 2006, Meryl Streep stated that Punch was the “best pizza” she ever ate in the world, while she was in town filming A Prairie Home Companion.

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