My girls love noodles. At home, we cook noodles more often than I would like to admit.
Even still, when we eat out, they often beg to go to Noodles and Company. And when they ask, we often say yes, because my husband and I like it too: the food is nutritious, tastes good, and fits our budget. The staff is friendly, and we always have fun there.
In case you have never been to Noodles and Company, here’s a little background information. Noodles and Company started in Denver, CO in 1995 and now has restaurants in over 15 States. Founder Aaron Kennedy decided to bring together noodles dishes from around the world; today’s menu features Asian, Mediterranean, and American choices.
About a week ago, our visit didn’t go as well as usual. I visited their website and left feedback, intrigued by this assertion: “We’re really serious about making not-so-good things right.”
A few nights later, the manager of our local Noodles and Company called me to talk about our experience. Not in a hurry, she listened and responded to my concerns, then she invited our family to come back to the restaurant for a tasting. She even suggested that we bring some friends along for the fun.
The tasting at Noodles and Company completely obliterated any disappointment we carried from our previous visit. For about an hour and a half, the staff at Noodles treated us like royalty. Starting with appetizers, the staff, led by shift supervisor Katie, served us several dishes from each section of their menu as we toured the world starting in Asia. At one point, my daughter said “Except for the type of food, this is like Thanksgiving.” It was — a complete feast.
Katie paired each noodle dish with a different protein, and explained how almost every menu item can be customized. She gave us her favorite tips for enjoying each item, and supplied a steady stream of take-out containers for leftovers. My girls, who usually stick with their buttered noodles and a side of parmesean, discovered some new favorites: the sauteed beef, pesto cavatappi, and fresh warm rolls. My littlest girl dipped her flatbread into some tomato basil bisque.
We left with full bellies, happy faces, a new friend (Katie, the shift supervisor, who we will go visit again), two bags full of food, and a renewed sense that Noodles and Company really is our favorite restaurant to enjoy as a family.
Organizations need leaders at all levels who are empowered and motivated to live out the company’s values. As the store manager, Debbie’s phone call to me showed a commitment to make not so-good-things right.
At the front line, Katie’s kind and friendly demeanor as well as her attention to detail in serving us the tasting, showed commitment to the company’s values at another level of leadership. What starts as a big idea at the corporate headquarters — making not-so-good things right — is brought alive on the dining room floor, in an unforgettable way that makes Noodles and Company great.
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This was originally posted at Mountain State University LeaderTalk and is re-posted with permission.