It has been a tough year for many businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic but Edmonton-based Oodle Noodle has experienced some success in expanding its brand and raising money and food for charity during these turbulent times.
Ziad Kaddoura, general manager of the company, said it will open a Calgary branch to focus on its southern Alberta business with the potential of opening 10 stores within the coming 10 years.
It is also opening its first food court location in Edmonton, which will be a great place to test its operation in a food court setting.
In addition, the chain is looking at adding three more locations within the Greater Edmonton Area.
And its charity initiative, which is at the forefront of its branding activities, has raised $100,000 and 20,000 meals in the past year for organizations and people in need.
The authentic Asian restaurant, which first opened about 12 years ago by Founder, Sonny Pham, with one location on Whyte Avenue, today has 14 locations, which are all in the Greater Edmonton Area.
“We’re looking at opening a minimum of five locations this year,” said Kaddoura. “We’re looking at expanding in the Greater Edmonton Area. We’re looking at opening in St. Albert, as well as Fort Saskatchewan. We’re looking at doing our first food court location here in Edmonton and that’s going to be a first for us because we don’t have any food court locations. Depending on the learnings, we’re going to create a concept design that basically has a food court footprint. That’s going to be this year as well.
“In Calgary, we set up a subsidiary that is going to be managing the expansion in southern Alberta. That will include Airdrie all the way down to southern Alberta. We’ve already set this entity up and we already have two franchisees that have committed and we’re looking at opening two locations I would say in the next eight months.
“Hopefully by year end we’re looking at having 18 to 19 locations.”
Kaddoura said many of the company’s franchise owners are becoming multi-location owners because they’re happy with the results and they’re happy with the relationship with the franchisor.
He said the company’s focus on charity remains a strong core value of its operations.
“Our contributions have all been to smaller charities that aren’t usually covered. They aren’t given attention because they are smaller charities,” added Kaddoura. “We’ve done things around animals. We’ve done things around dogs and cats. Youth. Homeless. We’ve done things around Indigenous artists. We’ve supported artists.
“We’re very much a community focus. We’re going after charities in our communities where we operate. We would like you to help us. They’re very happily using our platform to reach a higher number of people. We like bringing awareness of these charities to our customers as well as to the community we operate in.”
Kaddoura believes that in business, if you are true to your beliefs, COVID or no COVID, you are going to grow the business and grow the brand if you are genuinely thinking of your community and you’re giving back in a genuine way.
“Not everything we do has a commercial reason. I think that is important,” he said. “Our success is not set by how many stores we have and how much we are doing per store. Our success is set by how are we becoming an added value to the community where we’re operating whether that means providing jobs which is very important or providing an opportunity for people to own their first business.”