Noodlebox Greater Victoria general manager Bruce Stanford on the wok line with Antha Haggar, centre, the Shelbourne location general manager, and Andrea Lee, head chef of the Shelbourne location. Travis Paterson/News Staff

Worth the lineup, $5 meals at Noodlebox Friday

Noodlebox manager ready for big lineups

With lineups out the door, along the sidewalk and around the building, it’s safe to say Noodlebox restaurant’s annual $5 day is a hit.

This year’s event is Friday, Oct. 6, from 11 a.m. (the standard opening time) until – as per usual – the restaurant runs out of food. It’s at all 12 Noodlebox locations, including all four Greater Victoria locations, Uptown, Shelbourne, Langford and Douglas Street (downtown).

This year the management has changed their strategy in an attempt to alleviate the wait times, which have been busy from the moment the restaurant opens its doors until it runs out of food, usually around 6 p.m.

“We’ve restructured the event so we aren’t sure exactly how it will go,” said Bruce Stanford, the general manager for the four local Noodlebox locations. “We made some changes to try and mitigate the [process].”

The Charity Day idea was initiated five years ago by managing owner Jim Hayden, who lost his brother to suicide in 2010.

Originally, all proceeds from the $5 Charity Day event were donated to the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Since it started, its been the busiest day of the year, so this year, Noodlebox split the event into two separate days.

On Sept. 20, Noodlebox held its annual Charity Day, selling all items at the regular price, then donating 50 per cent of its profits (from all but one of its locations) to CMHA. It raised a total of $8,887.03 at the local stores, broken down as Shelbourne $1,834.25, Uptown $3,197.88, Langford $2,312.75 and Douglas $1,542.15.

And while Charity Day was a success, Stanford confirmed, they’re now ready to hold the $5 day on Oct. 6, which coincides with National Noodle Day.

“We wanted to keep the $5 deal as a thank you to our amazing customers,” Stanford said.

However, it’s not without change. With long waits all day (the Shelbourne store lineup went past three stores to the Tim Hortons location), Noodlebox has limited the menu to its signature, but ‘customizable,’ spicy peanut box. It starts at $5, half its standard price.

“It’s done very well for us, really, the [spicy peanut] is probably what got [Noodlebox] off the ground,” Stanford said. “With the entire menu, it was crazy, it was hard for both us [the employees] and the customers.”

While the spicy peanut starts at half price, the proteins are an add-on, as per usual. Chicken and pulled pork are $3, beef is $4, tofu $2 and prawns $5. The protein prices are a direct reflection of the food cost, Stanford said.

Each store opens at 11 a.m. and stays open until it runs out of food.

“Our fridge only holds so much,” Stanford said.

Tips for $5 day at Noodlebox, Oct. 6:

– Lineups tend to start much earlier than the 11 a.m. opening.

– There are no phone-in orders on this day.

– Be patient.