Operations

Noodles mandates mask-wearing inside its restaurants

The fast casual is encouraging customers to take advantage of the chain’s digital options for off-premise orders.
Photo courtesy of Noodles & Co

Customers wanting to order mac & cheese or Caulifloodles inside a Noodles & Co. restaurant will now have to wear a mask unless they’re seated at a table, the fast-casual chain announced Tuesday.

The mask mandate takes effect at all company-owned stores beginning Wednesday.

"Our top consideration in every decision we make is to care for our team members and guests by ensuring their safety and wellbeing. With this enhanced safety measure, we know it will bring even more peace of mind to those visiting our restaurants," CEO Dave Boennighausen said in a statement.

Broomfield, Colo.-based Noodles joins chains such as Starbucks, as well as a number of retail establishments, in requiring mask-wearing.

Enforcing mask usage has become a pain point for operators in many states as some customers have become aggressive in defiance of wearing face coverings designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

With the pandemic surging in many parts of the country, Noodles encouraged customers to use the chain’s off-premise options. Digital sales at the company have climbed 138% in Q2 over the prior quarter and now represent the “vast majority” of sales, according to the chain.

Noodles will offer free delivery through the end of the month on digital orders over $15.

Last month, Noodles said that its sales had rebounded since the start of the pandemic. Same-store sales were down 14.8% at company-owned stores and 16.8% at franchised units, up from a 50% drop in March.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.

Multimedia

Exclusive Content

Financing

Crumbl may be the next frozen yogurt, or the next Krispy Kreme

The Bottom Line: With word that the chain’s unit volumes took a nosedive last year, its future, and that of its operators, depends on what the brand does next.

Technology

4 things we learned in a wild week for restaurant tech

Tech Check: If you blinked, you may have missed three funding rounds, two acquisitions, a “never-before-seen” new product and a bold executive poaching. Let’s get caught up.

Financing

High restaurant menu prices mean high customer expectations

The Bottom Line: Diners are paying high prices to eat out at all kinds of restaurants these days. And they’re picking winners and losers.

Trending

More from our partners