Noodles & Company

Financing

Noodles & Company makes a deal with an activist

The fast-casual chain, working its way through sales and profitability challenges, gave a board seat to an activist investor. But that’s not the only activist it has.

Financing

Layoffs and sales declines hit Noodles & Co. last quarter

But CEO Drew Madsen sees signs of a turnaround, as sales and traffic turned positive in April while the chain works on menu and operations improvements.

The fast-casual chain has run out of Steak Stroganoff after selling 110,000 bowls in the first two weeks. But don't worry, the LTO is coming back.

The former Panera Bread president has served on the board and was interim CEO since November. He has launched a return to roots, aiming to embrace an identity as a culinary comfort kitchen.

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.

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.

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