Following a year of significant downsizing, Noodles & Co. has tapped a veteran marketing consultant, Chas Hermann, for the newly created position of chief brand officer.
Hermann is a 25-year marketing strategist who’s served in merchandising and financial roles at Starbucks, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, The Walt Disney Company and Universal Orlando Resort. In his most recent role, he’s been a principal at Florida-based Chas Hermann Consulting where he’s worked with Papa Murphy's, Del Taco, and Redbox.
At Broomfield, Colo.-based Noodles & Co, his responsibilities will include developing and executing the company's marketing, menu, and culinary strategies, spokeswoman Danielle Moore said.
Hermann, who is closing his consulting business and relocating to Colorado, starts March 5. He will report directly to Dave Boennighausen, who was named permanent CEO in June 2017.
Hermann comes to Noodles at a time when the once fast-growing chain has struggled to regain its financial footing following two years of weak sales and losses tied to liabilities associated with a data breach in 2016.
The chain, known for its internationally-themed cooked-to-order pasta dishes, was founded in 1995. Though it closed 55 restaurants in early 2017, the chain also opened 15 stores during the year bringing its total unit count to 476.
In another announcement, Noodles & Co. said Friday that it is offering new and expanded benefits to eligible employees — from corporate executives to store level workers such as cashiers and cooks.
Dubbed the #LifeatNoodles initiative, the expanded benefit package includes six weeks of fully paid maternity leave and two weeks of paternity/bonding leave (limited to assistant general managers and above).
New benefits include adoption assistance of $10,000 (limited to assistant general managers and above who have worked a minimum of 12 consecutive months), student loan debt assistance of $1,000 per year to general managers, Veterans Day paid time off for veterans, breast milk shipment payment during business travel and flexible time off for corporate team members.
Noodles employs 9,700 workers, including about 80 corporate employees.
“We value and care for every one of our team members, and we aspire to make Noodles the most enjoyable and rewarding place to work in the industry,” said Boennighausen in a statement.
For the third quarter ended Oct. 3, 2017, Noodles & Co. posted a $8.3 million profit loss on revenue of $114.2 million. Third-quarter sales declined 6.9 percent primarily due to the closure of 55 restaurants. The company is scheduled to post fourth quarter and full year earnings on March 14.
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