Noodles & Company

Leadership

Dave Boennighausen is out as Noodles & Company CEO

Drew Madsen, a board member and former president of Panera Bread, was named interim chief executive as the struggling fast-casual looks for a replacement.

Operations

What to learn from two brands dubbed 'the next Chipotle'

Cava, the newly public fast-casual chain called "the next Chipotle" by investors, and Noodles & Co., which held that title a decade ago, just reported two very different quarters that are a study in contrasts—and offer a warning for Cava.

The executive chef and VP of culinary has accelerated innovation and taken the menu where it hasn’t ventured before.

Behind the Menu: Executive chef Nick Graff developed Chicken Parmesan to offer guests a classic Italian main dish at a fast-casual price point.

But with commodity deflation expected for the rest of the year, the fast-casual chain has brought back a value promotion that is already driving traffic, the company said.

The daily perks will include discounts and free add-ons. It’s part of a trend toward more frequent giveaways from loyalty programs.

The fast-casual noodle chain said its sales momentum has continued so far this year while margins are improving thanks to normalizing commodity costs.

The move precedes an Employee Appreciation Day for the fast-casual noodle chain's own 8,000 workers scheduled for March 3.

The Impossible Foods product is also featured in two new dishes following a successful market test earlier this year.

The noodle chain’s profits missed expectations as inflation ate into margins, but company executives believe that commodity prices have peaked.

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