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Team Member Spotlight: Rich Ruuti


Border Foods team member spotlight

Last October, if you were out and about on Halloween night in Area 23, you may have stumbled into a peculiar sight: Border Foods Area Coach Rich Ruuti dressed in a professor costume, checking in on his restaurants.

Today, Rich is known as “Professor ICOS,” a tag line that was born from his creative costume that evening. But he’s also embodying the nick name to its fullest. Fast-forward to today, and he’s moving from restaurant to restaurant, conducting full-blown ICOS workshops, teaching his team members how to be more efficient operators.

ICOS is a metric that represents the Ideal Cost of Sales. The statistic can quantify waste in a store (both food and product waste), and it’s a number that can reveal inefficiencies in ordering, preparing food, taking inventory and more.

In an industry where monitoring metrics plays a major role in restaurant success, sharing best practices about this metric has been both fun and meaningful for Rich. On top of his job as Area Coach, he makes his way around the company giving ICOS workshops.

“I really enjoy sharing this knowledge,” Rich says about the workshops he provides. “In many cases, the team members who I’ve worked with have seen immediate improvement in restaurant waste.”

Aside from his workshops, Rich’s story sheds light on one of the missions of Border Foods: to provide opportunity. Rich has been with the Taco Bell brand for more than six years. In 2017, Border acquired the area Rich was working in and he officially became part of the Border family.

Since joining Border, he’s quickly climbed the career ladder. Rich has moved from Shift Manager to Restaurant Manager to Area Coach.

“My ultimate goal is to become a Region Coach, unless Border opens a Professor ICOS position,” Rich says, laughing. “I’m really happy with where I am in life right now. I can see myself doing this for another 20 years.”

Another fun fact about Rich? His wife, Leah Ruuti, is a Border Foods Region Coach. “We collaborate and help each other,” Rich says. “And there are definitely times where we say, ‘we don’t need to talk about work for the rest of the night.’ It works.”