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.

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