From Iceland — Side Hustle: Seven Years Of Pizza

Side Hustle: Seven Years Of Pizza

Published May 27, 2024

Side Hustle: Seven Years Of Pizza
Photo by
Joana Fontinha

Einar Ágúst Þorvaldsson is sailing the seas and serving the pies

Einar Ágúst Þorvaldsson juggles life as a fisherman on a ship sailing from Grindavík and working as a shift manager at Domino’s Pizza. At just 19, he’s driven by the desire to enter the local real estate market. “The fishing industry pays well, but living in Iceland is expensive,” he says. “I’m trying to use every advantage I can to be able to buy a house or apartment as soon as possible.” 

Einar Ágúst Þorvaldsson, 19, a member of deck crew at Valdimar ship

I started working at Domino’s when I was 13, combining it with school. I was studying engineering and to get my licence, I needed experience on the job, so I got a job on a ship. When I started my main job, I kept the job at Domino’s because of the extra pay, but I eventually reduced my hours. The way the fishing industry works, I often have one or two weeks off. That’s too much of a break. So, when I go home every two weeks, I can take some shifts at Domino’s to have something to do.

The boss of his own schedule 

The good thing about Domino’s is that they have a group chat and sometimes people want to get rid of shifts, so it’s really easy for me to pick them up. I just talk to my store manager and ask him to put me on shifts every time I have a vacation from the ship. It works together really well, mostly because Domino’s is a flexible employer. Sometimes if I come home early from the ship, I’ll pick up shifts at Domino’s the same evening.

I work mostly in one Domino’s location, but sometimes I travel. About 30% of my shifts are travelling and 70% are in my main shop. It’s a little bit difficult because I live in Selfoss and there’s only one Domino’s there. So if I want to travel, I need to drive all the way to Reykjavík. 

Ups and downs of the job

The best thing about this side job is that I find it fun. I really enjoy coming to Domino’s and working there. Working on New Year’s Day is always memorable, or, for example, last summer when Domino’s was celebrating its 30th anniversary in Iceland. Especially since I was not supposed to be working that day, but I got a phone call at 18:00 saying, “Hey, Einar, can you come help us?” It was all hands on deck. That’s the biggest day I’ve ever worked in the last three years. 

I don’t like closing the store and maybe working until 1:00, 2:00 or even 3:00 in the morning. I like being able to come home and go to sleep at a regular time.

After seven years, I still like pizza — I like it too much. There are times when I eat pizza three or four times a week. When I’m working, I get food at Domino’s, so I don’t need to spend money on it. As I like to say, free food is the best food.

Pizza rage

It’s very surprising how angry people can get over pizza. Because I’m a shift manager, when an angry customer comes in, I’m usually the first person to try to talk to them and deal with their problems. Usually, if a pizza is five to 10 minutes late, I offer them a free soda as an apology. That works really well and that’s like an official Domino’s guideline — just say you’re sorry and let them speak. We make three hundred orders every day at just one shop, so of course at least one customer is going to be unhappy with something.

It’s very surprising how angry people can get over pizza.”

One time, we had an extremely angry drunk man come in. He asked for a pizza. I said, “Of course,” told him the price and that it’ll be ready in 10 minutes because it needs seven minutes in the oven. He came back two minutes later, right after I put the pizza in the oven. He was very angry, shouting, “Where’s my pizza? Where’s my pizza?” He just wanted his pizza right away. He even went into the employee area in the back to look for it. So, I took this pizza out of the oven, after just one minute or so there, and gave it to him. Because he wanted this pizza right now, then he can get it right now. After a long day, I was really pissed and this was the solution — he wants his pizza, let’s just give him this pizza.

He was too drunk to notice, just took the pizza and left. We didn’t receive any complaints. 

Seeking stability

It’s crazy how fast things can change. For a whole year, I was the “new guy.” Then half a year later, I was one of the older ones. It’s really strange seeing a lot of my friends quit, moving to different stores or different jobs. But as long as you enjoy it and have fun, we all know the saying: if you find a job you love, you never work a day in your life.

I will probably stay at Domino’s for a long time. But as a main job, I would like something more stable. I couldn’t do shifts forever. It’s okay now because I’m young, my life’s chaotic, but I don’t think I could do it in the future. The same applies to my other job — eventually, I think I would like to work on land. As soon as I have a family, I wouldn’t want to continue this. Sometimes, I’m gone for a whole week, and it might even happen that I’ll be away for an entire month. My mum had a child recently, so I feel like I’m missing out on a lot of big moments with my siblings because I’m never there. I wouldn’t want to experience this with my own kids.

Want to share how you’re making ends meet? Email us at grapevine@grapevine.is with the subject line “Side Hustle.” We’ll happily keep your identity anonymous.


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