Pizza Shuttle announces transition to employee ownership

NOW: Pizza Shuttle announces transition to employee ownership

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Pizza Shuttle, a locally-owned Milwaukee staple, has announced plans to transition to employee ownership as founders set forth with retirement plans.

The owners sold the pizzeria to a parent company that gives 80 percent of the business back to the employees. 

“We've always had employees here a long time. I think the average person has been here about seven years,” said one of the founders, Mark Gold. 

The company has about 80 employees at all times. 

“We wanted to make sure all of the employees received something,” said Gold.

All Pizza Shuttle employees will keep their jobs through the transition and will be granted stock beginning Feb. 1. 

"Employees will collectively receive 10 percent stock in the company, which will be earned through four years of ongoing service," Gold said. 

The goal is for the restaurant to be 50 percent employee-owned in 10 years and 80 percent employee-owned in 15-20 years.

The model aims to reward employees who put in years of work with the company. 

“Let’s say a college student starts here freshman year, they leave after four years to do their career, they could have about 18 to 20-thousand dollars saved up all because they’re working part-time at a restaurant,” said Gold.

Pizza Shuttle was a dream for Mark Gold and Louis Siecinski. Now, they want their legacy to be a slice of the pie for other hard working people. 

“I dreamed of opening a pizzeria when I was a teenager. This restaurant has been my life, which makes stepping away from the business a very difficult decision,” said Gold. “Many of our employees have been with us for years – even decades. When I discovered the employee ownership model, I knew this was how I wanted to transition into retirement – empowering my employees to take ownership and benefit from business growth and success.”

Pizza Shuttle opened its first location in 1985. 

As part of the transition Pizza Shuttle says they will hire a new president, and Gold's daughter will serve as the general manager.

The company says they are looking to grow their team, with roles from managers to delivery drivers. 

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