Fazoli’s announced the winner of its 2009 National Pasta Bowl Championship, recently held in Charleston, South Carolina. The team from Lima, Ohio, came out on top.

More than 200 three-person teams representing each Fazoli’s location nationwide competed over the past several months in a game-show style challenge testing their knowledge of standard operating procedures, such as entrée ingredients, food holding times, cooking temperatures, and guest service. Fazoli’s Training Department drafted the random questions for local, semi-divisional, and divisional matchups.

“The Pasta Bowl reinforces operational standards in a fun format that builds associate’s knowledge, creates friendly competition between locations, and ultimately provides better guest experiences,” says Dennis Benson, vice president of operations for Fazoli’s. The Lima team members were rewarded with three-day, all-expense-paid vacations, sightseeing trips, and a gift pack including Fazoli’s gear and a $500 American Express gift card. The team also won the trophy, a red Fazoli’s colander.

At the end of regulation play, Lima was tied with teams from Lubbock, Texas and Northglenn, Colorado. Lima contestants Amanda Art, Andy Hunt, and Shelley Young answered each overtime question correctly, walking away with the win.

“I am very grateful to work for a company that is willing to spend time and money to enrich our knowledge and to make learning fun and very rewarding,” Hunt says.

“This was the 4th annual Pasta Bowl for associates,” says Bess Deering, program coordinator and manager of guest services for Fazoli’s. “Fazoli’s finds the competition to be a highly effective training tool for our associates, as well as a good-natured way to build camaraderie throughout the system.”

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