21 May 2024

From the kitchen to the office: pizza-making takes team bonding to the supreme

| Jacqueline Lyons
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people rolling dough

Staff members from Allinsure spent the day learning skills that can be taken back to the office. Photo: Allinsure

Cooking, cleaning, entertaining … not three words you would typically associate with a team-building day for a company that has nothing to do with hospitality.

However, for one work team, a day in the kitchen improved their business skills in ways they could have never expected.

‘Alex the Pizza Guy’ runs pizza-making classes in his restaurant, 3rd Space Pizza in Hackett. He loves using the classes to help attendees learn the basics of cooking and a bit about what it’s like to work in a kitchen, where teamwork is an essential ingredient.

“I love cooking and sharing my skills with people. Cooking for people is great, and I love doing it, but since our restaurant is shut on Mondays, I figured offering cooking classes would be a good way to utilise the kitchen,” Alex says.

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Earlier this year, Allinsure’s managing director Peter Chamberlain learned about the concept and the idea of using it as a team-bonding session for his staff.

“I had Peter over to the restaurant and cooked for him. I suggested he bring his team over so I could show them what it was like to work in a restaurant, and then they could put on a dinner for their clients,” Alex says.

Peter, a finalist for CEO of the year at the Insurance Business Australia Awards, says the day was the perfect way to spend the company’s 17th birthday.

He says they always look for new and innovative ways to improve service, train staff, and partner with clients.

“We were looking for something different to do. Fifteen of us spent the day learning how to make pizzas, and then we essentially took over the restaurant and cooked for around 40 of our amazing clients,” Peter says.

Peter says that the team and clients all walked away from the experience very happy.

“It was basically like a win-win-win. We built our skills, strengthened our bond as a team and had a really lovely meal with our clients.

“It was a great experience. It meant putting ourselves into a different environment, somewhat out of our comfort zone, but we learned great skills that we would take back to the office,” Peter says.

group of people holding certificates

Members from the Allinsure walked away from the day with smiles on their faces, pizza in their stomachs and an increased knowledge of preparing Italian cuisine. Photo: Allinsure.

“It was a really good way for the staff to reinforce positive behaviour in a fun environment where they can learn skills in the kitchen and then have a chat over pizza and wine.”

Alex says that the night he put on for Allinsure is a great example of why he runs the program.

“I just love teaching people about my industry, and watching Peter and his team bond during the class was great.”

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Peter says that the skills the team learnt in their time in the kitchen are just as valuable in the world of insurance. Allinsure is a finalist for the Best Customer Service Award at the upcoming Australian Business Awards.

“It was a great way to remind us all of the skills like preparing ahead of time, getting things done early, being ready for a rush, following procedures, teamwork and the importance of great communication,” Peter says.

A lady serving at the bar

Team members learned to make pizza, tend the bar, and clean up after the feast. Photo: Allinsure

Peter says that the family of his staff have also reaped the benefits of the team building day.

“I know for a fact some of our team have already gone home and showed off the skills they have learnt and made pizza nights a regular occurrence for their families,”

“It was such a great bonus on top of everything else we achieved on the day.”

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