How he got his start: Noyes describes himself as having "grown up" in the catering business, spending 14 years at Hyatt Hotels before joining Proof of the Pudding in 2012. "I have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to build and surround myself with an amazing team of talented individuals who have helped our organization’s growth of the food service management business," he says. "In the past five years, Proof of the Pudding has grown by over 100% and has restructured to better support the account base across the U.S."
In his free time, Noyes also spends time giving back to the industry. He's a founding board member of Elite Catering Event Professionals (ECEP), as well as on the boards of Giving Kitchen, Atlanta Community Food Bank, and the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau.
What sets his company apart: Noyes cites three important qualities—the first of which is its people. "In the hospitality business, we are truly in the 'people' business. You, of course, have to have amazing food and excellent service, but none of that happens without the right team," he says.
Proof of the Pudding is also focused on building true partnerships and strong relationships with its clients. "It is imperative that we always are great listeners and put our customers' best interest first, even before our own," he adds. "We are a great size where we have the bandwidth to do anything needed but still can make sure our partners have a direct line and real relationships with top leadership and ownership. They are not just another number on a spreadsheet of accounts."
Finally, Noyes cites the company's approach to innovation. "We never stop evolving, innovating, changing, and investing in our people, clients, and equipment. When you stop changing and evolving in this industry, it will pass you by."
What innovation means to him: Noyes believes that type of innovation needs to be a top priority for any F&B organization. "The inspiration for this must come through a passion for our craft, sharing awesome new ideas amongst our team members, being engaged with what is happening in both the local and global market trends, and, most importantly, taking risks in trying new things to be an actual trendsetter or new concept innovator ourselves," he explains. "Our inspiration comes from each other, and our commitment to always striving to be the best."
Memorable moments: One of Noyes' favorite yearly events? Each year, Proof of the Pudding caters “An Evening to Remember,” an intimate event to support the continued growth of Camp Southern Ground, the nonprofit project of multiplatinum Grammy-winning artist Zac Brown.
"Our founding chef, Vagn Nielsen, is very passionate about the project," he explains. "He has created an innovative menu and dining experience for more than three years, working alongside celebrity chefs Guy Fieri and Emeril Lagasse and Zac’s talented culinary team. Each year he offers his talented culinary skills in the live auction to host a private dinner—raising $33,000 this year."
His all-time favorite food: "While I certainly enjoy fine dining and some of the world's top restaurants and almost every type of cuisine, I believe great pizza is the perfect food," Noyes says. "When done right, it’s the perfect balance of bread, proteins, vegetables, and cheeses. The acidity and savory combination pair perfectly with a nice glass of red wine."
His biggest hope for the F&B industry: For Noyes, it's all about investing in and supporting its employees—and that includes front-line staff. "So many of the hardworking and professional employees in our industry, unfortunately, live paycheck to paycheck, and there is virtually no safety net when they have a personal or family crisis, illness, death in the family, injury, material loss, and other uncontrollable events," he points out. "For years, so many businesses like ours have passed the hat, or ownership has helped valued employees on an individual basis when these inevitable situations occur."
That hope has led to his involvement in Giving Kitchen, a nonprofit that helps food service workers in crisis. "They are on the front lines of helping our amazing human beings at the worst times of their lives."