Kevin Reddy Has a ‘No Tip’ Policy at Noodles & Co.

By: Erika Watts - March 20, 2014

Are you tired of going to fast food or casual dining restaurants (or other businesses that don’t have waiters who only get paid around $2 per hour) and being expected to leave something in the tip jar next to the register? We often hear of people complaining about being expected to tip in such situations, and sometimes these people say they’re treated rudely if they don’t fork over part of the change they get back. If you find seeing a tip jar next to every register annoying, you’re not alone, and at least one restaurant CEO is listening.

While some establishments such as Starbucks are trying to make it easier for you to tip by offering the option to tip digitally, Noodles & Company CEO Kevin Reddy has decided to take tipping out of the equation. Reddy expects his employees to treat customers respectfully because they came to Noodles & Co., not because they want a tip.

“Respect doesn’t cost you anything,” Reddy said. “Being nice doesn’t cost you anything, and we don’t really feel that folks should have to pay something additional for us to appreciate that they’re choosing us over another restaurant.” Reddy further says, “Either you enjoy people, and you treat them right, or you don’t.”

The workers at Noodles and Co., a chain based out of Colorado that has more than 300 locations, probably do more than your average fast food/casual dining restaurant worker. While you’re responsible for filling your own drinks and taking your food to your table at other establishments (and are expected to leave a tip after merely handing over cash at the register), the workers at Noodles and Co. do bring the food out to you. Despite this, Reddy doesn’t believe these workers should expect tips and also thinks that taking away the tip jar from the register will make customers feel like Noodles & Co. outdoes similar restaurants.

“We don’t want our guests to feel we’re trying to upsell them,” Reddy added. “We’d rather have them feel we’d rather upserve them than upsell them.”

Does this mean that the workers at Noodles & Co. will suffer since they aren’t allowed to take tips anymore? Not according to Reddy. While Reddy didn’t divulge what his employees make per hour on average, he does say they make over minimum wage and that he believes in paying them what they’re worth.

Now you’re probably wondering what will happen if you do go to a Noodles & Co. and feel like an employee has gone above and beyond with their service and want to tip. While Reddy’s interview with CNBC says employees would be allowed to keep the tip, he says the employee would have to give it back in an interview he gave to Market Watch. “We would probably talk to them, and say, “This is what we heard. Did it happen? This is why we’d like you to give it back.’”

Regardless of what would happen in a situation where you insisted that an employee take a tip, many consumers will probably be relieved that there is one less fast food/casual restaurant that doesn’t have a tip jar on the counter.

Image via Twitter

About the Author

Erika WattsErika Watts is a former teacher, now stay-at-home-mom and contributing writer for WebProNews. When she isn’t busy navigating parenthood and writing, she enjoys watching college sports and reading. Follow Erika on Twitter @erikawatts83, Pinterest or

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  • steamboat

    Bravo – Finally ! Tipping is an annoying antiquated custom ! Does
    it make sense that any business would burden their customers with added
    complication and in some cases awkwardness when having to decide how to tip for
    poor service ?!? Many customers are also tired of the entitlement mentality of some servers. I personally tip 20% (before tax) for excellent to very good service. 15% for pretty decent service. 10% or less for mediocre service. I may tip as low as zero for poor service and tell the server know why as they apparently can’t figure it out for themselves or are too lazy to care. Rude service and I pay a visit to the manager or owner.

    I tipped10% in the 60’s and 70s. Then in the 80’s it suddenly became 15%. Now many servers advocate a minimum 20% tip REGARDLESS OF THE QUALITY OF THE SERVICE, and some even advocate 25% as the norm ! These tip increases
    doesn’t make sense, as the price of the food keeps pace with inflation, and
    thus the total tip also goes up. As a customer, I just want to go into a business and purchase a product without having to concern myself about the finances of the employee bringing me that product. I will definitely visit this restaurant when I’m in town !!

    • SBG

      Just another case of unskilled people believing they deserve more than they are worth and wanting to be rewarded for DOING THEIR JOB. I’m sorry, but standing behind a friggin register does not make you worthy of extra cash. Walking 10 feet to hand me food doesn’t make you a valuable part of my experience. A tip is really supposed to be an “extra” to thank someone for above/beyond, not something an employee is entitled to. This comes from someone who has worked in the service industry. (Emphasis on the word SERVICE). Every other industry includes the labor cost in the price of the product/service. Food industry needs to catch on. I don’t pay people at the register extra dough when I check out at the grocery or clothing store. Don’t wish to at Starbucks, Chipotle, etc. either. (Sidenote: Most places with a tip jar split up the pot between employees based on hours worked. So the person you interact w/ who might have been amazing gets just as much as the rude, lazy employee who was working an hour earlier. This defeats the whole purpose, no?)

  • Ryan

    1) a tip is to be given ahead of time,- to ensure good service
    2) a gratuity is given after the meal as a thanks for good service

    That being said I dont believe that Tips motivate the right person, because most servers have some understanding that the customer doesnt want to appear cheap, and will tip out social pressure rather than as a measure of the service given.

    the whole process should be changed –
    1) food should incorporate the cost
    2) Servers should be paid a higher wage as they really are employed by restaurant not the ‘tables’
    3) restaurants should pay some commission for selling higher bottles of wine, and bringing in more money