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Hire the American Dream

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In an industry with easily over a hundred percent turnover, quick service restaurants wish for the day that they can have a seasoned team, even if for one day. But Dave Melton has figured out a way to step out of that human resource fight. Melton's employees work for an average of eight years.

When asked why he wrote this book, Melton told Blue MauMau that actually it wasn't his idea. A book publisher came to him after reading about his management style in the New York Times.

"This book came about when an article on us appeared in the New York Times, and a senior editor from book publisher John Wiley called me out of the blue," says Melton. "We had low turnover in a historically high turnover business. We had many once minimum wage employees who achieved the American dream. We had a lot of success with a chain store brand selling in Manhattan. All those things, I think, struck him as unusual."

"I think we produced something that is pretty decent," says Melton in an understated kind of way.

This book shows how he has performed such a miracle.

Hint #1: Apprenticing to be a small business owner under a great mentor goes a long way on the road to success.

Melton first learned of a few of these secrets before becoming a franchisee, when he worked for one of Domino's most successful franchise owners. He was hired and tutored by Frank Meeks, who is described by Domino's founder Tom Monaghan as "the greatest franchisee in the history of Domino's." Meeks spun off some of the chain's most successful and well-known franchisees.

For those who run a business where employees are in constant contact with customers, this is a must read.

It is filled with practical guides on how to retain employees and point them in the right direction. He tells you his secret on how he took a business with high employee turnover and turned it into no turnover. He also changed his minimum-wage employees into millionaires.

Hint #2: Fix your hiring mistakes, but fast.

There are many more such nuggets of small business operating wisdom within the four corners of this book.

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Hire the American Dream...Turns into a nightmare

Domino's Pizza workers claim that stores owned by Dave Melton forced delivery workers to work as many as 60 hours per week and paid us for only 45 hours, cheating them of 15 hours of overtime pay a week.

Dave paid them as little as $4.40 an hour, a rate for tip-receiving delivery workers, while the workers worked many hours cleaning and preparing food, for which they received no tips--this kind of work should be paid at the normal minimum wage of $7.25/hour.

When workers at Melton's Domino's franchises stood up for their rights, they allege the boss retaliated against them, firing them or cutting their work hours.

More than 50 delivery workers who worked at the four restaurants sued their employer and certain managers in 2010, alleging wage and hour labor violations. They are being represented by the Legal Aid Society.

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Dave filed for bankruptcy protection in June 2012 and blames litigation for his troubles.

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About Don Sniegowski

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Don Sniegowski is editor of Blue MauMau, the daily news journal for franchise & small business owners. Call him at +1 (270) 321-1268, tweet @bluemaumau or email