May 9, 2024

Noodles losses doubled as menu overhaul looms

BROOMFIELD — Noodles & Co. (Nasdaq: NDLS) saw its year-over-year sales dip and losses nearly double in the first quarter as the fast-casual restaurant chain prepares to implement a menu overhaul in an effort to right the ship. 

Sales were $121.4 million in the most recent period, down from $126.1 million in the first quarter of 2023.

Noodles posted a net loss of $6.1 million in the first quarter of this year, compared to net loss of $3.1 million in the same period of 2023.

“I am pleased with our results in the first quarter. Sales and traffic trends improved throughout the quarter and met our expectations despite difficult weather and lapping our toughest year-ago comparisons. Combined with strong cost management, we delivered solid restaurant contribution margins in a seasonally slower quarter,” Noodles CEO Drew Madsen said in a prepared statement. “In addition, April was a strong start to the second quarter with both positive comparable sales and traffic growth. Finally, we are encouraged by the progress made on our strategic priorities, especially significant improvement in key operations measures and encouraging menu innovation results on a path to a late June test market.”

Madsen, a former president at Panera Bread who was hired late last year to replace Noodle’s long-time CEO Dave Boennighausen, will oversee a menu refresh that’s expected to launch in earnest during the second quarter. 

Noodles is planning a “multiphase menu transformation, guided by our new ‘contemporary comfort kitchen’ culinary identity,” Madsen said in March during a call with analysts and investors. “While Noodles has consistently introduced new limited time offering menus in recent years, it has been a long time since we updated our core menu. As a result, our menu looks dated compared to newer fast casual competitors.”

Noodles hired The Culinary Edge, a restaurant industry consulting firm, in early 2024 to help shape its “contemporary comfort kitchen” identity.

Noodles & Co. saw its sales dip and losses nearly double in the first quarter as the restaurant chain prepares to implement a menu overhaul. 

Lucas High
A Maryland native, Lucas has worked at news agencies from Wyoming to South Carolina before putting roots down in Colorado.
Sign up for BizWest Daily Alerts