Maintaining and communicating his corporate culture is very import to Aaron Kennedy, the founder and co-executive of Noodles & Company, a Boulder, Colo.-based restaurant chain that specializes in noodle dishes. But how do you make some 2,000 employees in over 60 locations feel like one big happy family?
"Communicate frequently," says Kennedy. "I pen the weekly Noodle News, an e-mail that I distribute to every restaurant and central support person." In it, he includes information on sales and the growth of the company, as well as highlights on those managers, staff, and stores that are breaking records. "We have a top 10 sales for the week, and we have a top 10 growth stores, as compared to growth in the prior year," he says.
Kennedy reinforces the corporate culture with store visits. "I attend every grand opening of every new restaurant," Kennedy says. During his visit he's sure to talk with new staff, interact with the customers, and pitch in when necessary." If I'm there during a revenue period, I'm working," he says. "Everyone in this company carries dirty dishes, picks up mac and cheese off the floor," he adds. "I'm not afraid to do that stuff, and that sends a great cultural message."