With more room, the pizza joint can improve efficiency and build capacity.“If that’s what the employees decide to do,” Vartan clarifies. “That’s their call now.”
The physical renovations have set the stage for an existential one at A Slice of New York. Last month, Vartan, who co-founded the business in 2006 with wife Marguerite Lee, invited the workers to become equal partners in the company. Shilling pizzas is usually a starter job. But at A Slice of New York, it’s a path to becoming a business owner.
“Culturally, we’ve always been structured this way,” says Lee, 49. “So that really laid the groundwork for this next step in our evolution.”
Last month, the New York-style pizzeria became what may be the first brick-and-mortar business in Santa Clara County to turn its equity over to its employees. That’s one out of more than 163,000 companies that call the county home, per the U.S. Census Bureau.
“You don’t normally think of staying too long in the foodservice industry,” says Ren Boguiren, 28, a seven-year employee and one of 10 new owners. “But I’m very proud of it, honestly. When I get asked by people where I work, it’s not just, ‘I work at a pizza shop,’ it’s, ‘I’m a part-owner.’ That’s really empowering.”