Muddy’s Journal

muddy's guiding principles: responsible stewardship of god's gifts

This post was written by the wonderful wizard of awesome Emily W., manager of our East Memphis shop.

When you apply for a job at Muddy’s, you quickly learn that it’s no ordinary place. I suppose I knew Muddy’s was something special the first time I ever ate here as a customer (that Cookies N Cream cupcake CHANGED MY WORLD), but I didn’t realize HOW special until I applied for my first position here almost three years ago.

Early on in the hiring process, you learn that Muddy’s is about a heck of a lot more than cake. Before you even interview, you get to read about our mission and our guiding principles.

Here’s our mission, if you aren’t already familiar with it:

“We strive to make Memphis a happier place by creating outstanding experiences and delicious food, being kind to everyone we meet, and doing the right thing.”

It’s a pretty ambitious mission, but I think my fellow gnomies do a great job of spreading the joy and making Memphians happy on a daily basis.

And what is REALLY cool (as if you needed anything cooler than an epic mission of city-wide happiness) is the set of principles we’ve established in order to make that lofty goal possible. We call them our Guiding Principles, and we reference them regularly to help us stay on track towards our mission.

Here they are:

  • responsible stewardship of God's gifts
  • outstanding service to others
  • gratitude
  • real, delicious food
  • healthy finance
  • integrity at every level
  • constant learning & improvement
  • meaningful, fulfilling work

I was blown away the first time I read that these were the principles that a business was built on — not just things that were valued or that were nice to think about but were ignored as soon as things got tough. Muddy’s was (and continues to be) built on these ideals. We’re going to be digging into each of these principles in a series of posts over the next few months, but I have been tasked with discussing the first principle: responsible stewardship.

As impressed as I was the first time I read the Guiding Principles, I remember thinking that listing Responsible Stewardship and Healthy Finance was kind of redundant. Aren’t those the same thing? SPOILER ALERT: not necessarily.

Of course the two go hand in hand, but I’ve learned that responsible stewardship is about far more than finance. At Muddy’s we strive to be responsible stewards of all the wonderful gifts we’ve been given.

I can think of a lot of examples of my fellow gnomies being responsible stewards: a server taking care with a tray of cupcakes, so as not to damage or waste them; a baker with a sharp eye identifying an issue with equipment and fixing it before the damage worsens; a manager investing in a staff member by sending them to workshops or seminars; a barista going the extra mile to cheer a guest who’s having a bad day. Any time we choose to take care of someone or something rather than take that person on thing for granted, we are being responsible stewards.

But in my mind, what sets Muddy’s apart in terms of responsible stewardship is how we steward the gift of people — employees and customers alike. We have a culture of gratitude (also a Guiding Principle!), and we invest in each other inside and outside the workplace. For instance, we recently brought the gurus of Zingerman's Coffee Company in Ann Arbor to our coffee bar at our Midtown location so many of our gnomies (including yours truly) could deepen our knowledge of the art of espresso.

We also aim to go above and beyond for our customers — always with the goal of serving each guest with genuine kindness, and never taking them for granted. We do it because it’s the right thing, and because it’s the responsible thing, and because it helps us make Memphis a happier place.