Customer Service FOUND: Noodles & Company, Valparaiso Indiana

I have another blog. I know, you have GOT to start reading that too right? Nahhhh. I haven't been updating it, but you are welcome to pop over if you want snarky and constructive commentary side by side. Bad customer service has been my pet peeve forever, but especially after being a customer service and sales trainer for years and years. So the blog was a way to use my brain and exercise my right to be VOA (AKA Voice of Authority; thank you Jim Curlee.) I figure when I have sumpin' to say in the service arena I can just do it here.

Take Noodles & Company for instance.

I was pretty excited when we moved to Valpo that there was one here because it meant I could get fresh Thai food after a fashion. The only flaw is the portions are just right....leaving NO LEFTOVERS! BOO!

We have eaten there pretty often and really like it. But we were paying for it. Do you know you do not have to pay for their food?


My Mothers and More group set up a 'tasting' at our local Noodles & Company. I wasn't sure what that would look like. This is what it looked like.
My sweet daughter who has excellent manners? She didn't come with me. This is who came with me.

And this one who I swear at ten months old eats adult portions. Seriously! I couldn't get a picture of her with food still on her plate.

The rest of our group stood us up (yer loss: we ate up all yer food!), so we had dinner with my friend Nicole from Mothers and More and her daughter Lauren.
Ashley was in charge of us.

She had our reserved (!) table ready and drinks were also free. She brought full servings of eight different menu items (plus YUMMY potstickers as an appetizer while we waited for them no shows.) All of this was FREE.

WHY would a restaurant offer a free tasting AKA MEAL to just anyone? Ashley explained it was their way of giving back to the community and spreading the word about the different cuisines they offer: Thai, Mediterranean and Asian. She told us the stories behind the store, the beginning, current plans and each of the dishes she chose for us. Ashley was amazing. She was really enjoying herself or she should be a politician because I believed her 100%.

(Ashley if you ever read this, I am sorry about my bebe breaking your plate. And that Her Cuteness kept distracting you as she leaned over backwards in her chair to ogle the wondrous food bringing Goddess you are.)

I made a game out of how many dishes she brought vs. what I had already tasted. It was about 50/50. We had potstickers, Asian Chop Salad, Japanese noodles( I usually stick to the Bangkok curry), Penne Rosa with succulent and habit forming parmesan crusted chicken added...ooh! Then the whole grain(GREAT!) Tuscan Linguini which had lots of onion which I am not a fan of ever. Then we moved along to take out. Oh yeah.

When our kidlets begin the inevitable melt down of a meal exceeding 15 minutes one hour, Ashley offered to pack the rest to go. Really?!? We can leave with food too? All free. Yes Ma'am. Please? I thought we would get leetle side dish boxes of each remaining sample entree. NOPE.
We each got full size entrees of two different mac and cheeses(oh yeah! Bacon Cheeseburger Mac and Cheese, would you marry me? We do not have to tell my hubby)

NOTE: Noodles, Your only flaw is being skimpy with the mac and cheese sauce. We have ordered it several times and even in the tasting servings...too much naked noodle hanging out when they should be clad in cheesy goodness. Please. Fix. This. I won't have this sort of obscene oversight. The only obscenity I want is in the amount of cheese sauce. Please?

We got those PLUS a full sized chicken Caesar sandwich. PLUS two HUGE COOKIES and a rice krispy treat even I had to eat in two sittings. It was big enough I even felt I could afford to share it with my two year old girlie. So three desserts for moi, and Nicole got the same take home bag I did. RI-DIC-U-LOUS.

Noodles & Company, you are a fantastic institution. And Ashley is your Queen.

Oh yeah, I will see you again with my church small group for another tasting. Very. Soon. I'll even pay for my food this time. And I will eat all of it, sadly, and will not have the majestic leftovers I enjoyed today.

So go ahead, if you are lucky enough to live near the heavenly haven of Noodles & Company. Call 'em up and ask about scheduling a tasting. And tip WELL. Cuz you won't be spending any other money there that night!


liz said...

A group of my teacher friends & I did the tasting as well. It is STUNNING how much food you get. The folks at Noodles definitely know how to grow their customer base. I am a HUGE fan of their Japanese Udon noodles with sauteed beef and would NEVER have ordered the chop salad if not for the tasting. It is now one of my favorites!! Thanks noodles!!

HeatherCurleeNovak said...

Liz- I KNOW! We had such a blast. Even after two days of leftovers....I WANT MORE! Wish they delivered.

SuperMommySometimes said...

OH MY GOSH! I did not know they did this?! I love that place! I am definitely scheduling a tasting :) THANK YOU!

HeatherCurleeNovak said...

SUPER Mommy! I KNOW! And you wouldn't be setting up a tasting to indulge yourself...of would be to introduce your friends to the magnificence, mais bien sur! As for me, I'm still trying to figure out how I can do this monthly without them catching on...and without lying or spending moolah on Mission Impossible costumes and disguises. Prolly hard to eat in faux mustache.

Will B said...

This post is fantastic. You are right on about Ashley providing great customer or as noodles likes to call it,guest satisfaction. Having worked alongside Ashley, I can tell you that making the guest happy is her number one priority and she will have that smile every time you go back. Glad you enjoyed your experience. Thanks for the great review.

HeatherCurleeNovak said...

Why Will, glad you like...and glad to know Ashley is great to work with too. I apologize in advance for my friends who will be calling asking 'bout free food! LOL.

Lisa Vukmirovich said...

WHY OH WHY don't we have one of these in South Bend? We are the biggest fans! I have been trying to duplicate the Japanese Pan Noodles for no avail. I guess I will just be happy for you that YOU have one and I will continue to dream on....

HeatherCurleeNovak said...

Oh aren't they marvelous Lisa? I was THRILLED to get one. I think you are getting one in the mall, according to Queen Ashley.