Noodles’ new brand identity comes with big employee perks

Marketing Bites: Noodles & Company embraces Uncommon Goodness, Sweetgreen lands a new athlete ambassador, and chains get creative for Cinco de Mayo and Mother’s Day.
Noodles & Company
Photo courtesy Noodles & Company
Marketing Bites

Welcome to RB’s weekly roundup of the latest developments in restaurant marketing.

Noodles & Company on Wednesday debuted a new brand identity that ties together its food, service and workplace culture.

Uncommon Goodness, the noodle chain’s new brand positioning, may sound a little non-specific.

But the launch coincides with some very concrete actions taken by Noodles, specifically around employee benefits:

  • The company is adding an immigration reimbursement, up to $500 every two years, for employees looking to renew or obtain citizenship or work authorization, or to support immigration status
  • Noodles’ general managers can take part in a new General Manager Equity Partner Program. Those who meet certain short- and long-term goals will receive $50,000 of restricted stock units after three years of entering the program.
  • Assistant general managers and above can get up to $625 each year in Balance Bucks, in the form of reimbursements for gym memberships, pet adoption, cleaning services and other things to boost mental, physical and financial well-being.
  • The chain will host quarterly mental health workshops, both virtual and in-person.
  • Noodles is adding employee resource groups for the LGBTQIA+ community and allies, as well as for BIPOC team members and allies.

In addition to the employee perks, Noodles is hiring a team of Uncommon Goodness Ambassadors who will essentially be charged with surprising and delighting customers a.k.a “doing uncommonly good things for Noodles guests in-restaurant, digitally on social media, and through in-person activations within their communities,” the brand said in a statement.

The new brand identity ties in with the launch of Noodles’ new LEANguini, a lower-carb, higher-protein pasta that took two years to develop. It’s available only for rewards members through May 18.

The 450-unit lunch-and-dinner chain said it also plans to debut an ad campaign featuring “Noodles’ Biggest Fan,” who is described as “an uncommonly delightful and quirky guest who embodies why our brand is so unique and unexpected.”

“And this is just the beginning—you will see Uncommon Goodness guide the way we behave as a company as we infuse even more Uncommon Goodness into everything we do,” CMO Stacey Pool said in a statement.

Sweetgreen gets another pro-athlete ambassador

Sweetgreen, which previously enlisted tennis star Naomi Osaka to represent the salad chain, is adding NBA player Devin Booker to the roster.

To introduce Booker, Sweetgreen debuted a new campaign to highlight its create-your-own bowls, noting that more than 65% of digital orders include at least some customization.

Both Osaka and Booker worked with Sweetgreen’s culinary team to perfect their custom to-go orders, the chain said, and the two athletes will star in a national ad campaign.

“We introduced a powerful shift in the food industry with Naomi last year and we brainstormed together about who else to bring on this journey,” Chief Brand Officer Nathaniel Ru said in a statement. “We wanted an athlete that spoke to the importance of healthy living and Devin was a natural fit.”

El Pollo Loco gets fiery for Cinco de Mayo

Fire-grilled chicken chain El Pollo Loco is once again partnering with hot sauce brand Tapatio for Cinco de Mayo.

The chain is giving away limited-edition bottles of the hot sauce with all digital orders Thursday and is also handing out prizes every five minutes for five hours on Instagram.

“To celebrate our third year of partnership with Tapatio, we created a special limited-edition hot sauce bottle to gift to our familia of fans and Tapatio’s impressive cult following of hot sauce lovers,” CMO Andy Rebhun said in a statement.

Give mom an awkward family photo

Chicken finger chain Zaxby’s wants you to give mom an awkward family photo for Mother’s Day.


Zaxby's awkward family photo / Photo courtesy of Zaxby's

The brand is asking customers to upload family pictures to Twitter, so it can randomly “Zaxify” select portraits.

Who knows? Maybe adding a Zaxby’s mascot and a giant platter of chicken fingers to your family portrait might actually improve things.


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