Building the Rolls Royce of Restaurants

Building the Rolls Royce of RestaurantsBy Kyle Noonan

I recently visited one of the largest and most recognizable big box retailers in search of a new television. I was as excited as an eight-year-old shopping for a brand new red bicycle. Yet, as I worked my way through each of the floor samples listening to the tech-savvy store clerk’s sales pitch, my excitement began to fade. Frankly, I was overwhelmed by all the technical jargon that was thrown my way and most of what he said just flew right over my head.

Building the Rolls Royce of Restaurants
Kyle Noonan, co-founder and CEO
of FreeRange Concepts.

It was downright confusing…”So what does 1080p mean again?” and “Why does it matter if it’s LED or LCD?” I think I may have momentarily blacked out at one point.

When I awoke, I finally selected the model that I deemed worthy of my hard-earned money.

Ultimately, it all came down to one simple comment made by the techie that made my decision easy. It had nothing to do with how many pixels were crammed into every inch, or the dimensions of the screen or even the price. He simply stated, “This is the Rolls Royce of televisions.”

That’s high praise. In fact, I consider it to be the finest of compliments that any brand or product could hope to receive. Once someone refers to you as the “Rolls Royce” of anything, the flag has been planted.  You are “The Best in Class.”

So it got me to thinking…

Rolls Royce has essentially become synonymous with “superiority” in our daily vernacular. What can I learn from this exceptional brand and how did its stewards mold it into a metaphor for the crème-de-la-crème of virtually any product or service? More importantly, how can my company, FreeRange Concepts, become a brand that intrinsically evokes a similar perception of excellence?

How cool would it be for some salesperson to one day proudly proclaim, “This model right here is the FreeRange of all vacuums?”

I did some research and found that Rolls Royce adheres to several important principles that guide virtually everything they do. Borrowing from their playbook, I came up with “Five Standards of Excellence” that I believe translate well to my company, and most likely to yours as well.


1.  Build excellence into your core values.

The mantra of perfection must be your calling card. An expectation of greatness should apply to every manager, employee, vendor and customer. Everyone needs to understand that your business stands for excellence and that anything less is unacceptable.

2.  Never lose focus on the customer experience.

Everything we do in our business must be focused on the customer. Every interaction and every touch point with the customer must be viewed from his or her perspective. What can each of us do to improve their experience? It’s never about what makes it easier for us.

3.  Manage the process.

Rolls Royce has instituted exacting quality controls at every step of the design, manufacturing and sales process. Nothing goes unnoticed or is left to chance. This uncompromising attention to detail ensures that no production defect or human error is allowed to slip through the cracks.

4.  Meeting expectations is never good enough.

The goal must always be to exceed the customer’s expectations. Teach and empower your staff to go the extra mile so that you “wow” your customers and create raving fans. After all, the best brand advocate is an impassioned customer.

5.  Consistently and relentlessly communicate the difference.

Rolls Royce does a superb job of communicating its key differentiators with its customers, its vendors and (possibly most importantly) its employees. Everyone who comes into contact with the brand knows it is the gold standard. Why? Because Rolls Royce told us so!

Everyone needs a big goal to aim for. My team and I will be diligently applying these principles in the aspiration that one day, FreeRange will be universally regarded as “The Rolls Royce of Restaurants.”

Kyle Noonan is an award-winning restaurateur and co-founder of FreeRange Concepts, a Dallas-based operator of unique restaurant concepts, including The Rustic, Mutts Canine Cantina and Bowl & Barrel. For more information, visit

Building the Rolls Royce of Restaurants