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Noodles & Company

Noodles & Company is a fast-casual restaurant chain specializing in both comfort-food style noodle dishes, particularly mac & cheese, and pasta with a more global influence, such as pad Thai, spicy Korean beef noodles and pesto cavatappi. In recent years it also has introduced Zoodles — gluten-free noodles made entirely out of zucchini — and cauliflower noodles, which blend cauliflower with wheat flour in pasta for a lower-calorie option. CEO Dave Boennighausen, who was promoted from chief financial officer in 2017, has credited those more healthful items with chain’s success during his tenure. Boennighausen has also worked to make the chain’s benefits for employees among the best in the industry.

Noodles & Company was founded in 1995 by Aaron Kennedy in Broomfield, Colo. He remained CEO until he handed the post to Kevin Reddy, a former McDonald’s executive who helped the global burger chain spin off Chipotle Mexican Grill before joining the noodle chain. After some years of renewed success, and an initial public offering in 2013, the chain began to falter and Reddy stepped down and was replaced by Boennighausen.

Key data: Noodles & Company

Headquarters: Broomfield, Colo.

Segment: Fast-Casual

Restaurant Segment: LSR Other

Number of U.S. Locations: 454

2020 Sales: $495.4 million

Annual Growth:

Source: Datassential Firefly 500

CEO: Dave Boennighausen