Preliminary third-quarter results released Thursday by Noodles & Company show that the brand is on the road to recovery after seeing sales plunge during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Systemwide same-store sales for the quarter ended Sept. 29 decreased 3.8%; however, comps increased 1.1% at company-operated stores during the last five weeks of the quarter.
A majority of the company’s more than 450 restaurants are company owned. Systemwide same-store sales increased 0.4% during the five-week period ended Sept. 29.
Much of the brand’s recovery has been driven by its robust digital business, which increased 146% year-over-year during the fiscal September period.
Dave Boennighausen, chief executive of the Broomfield, Colo.-based fast-casual chain, said the “return to positive comparable sales” underscores the brand’s strong positioning to meet the needs of consumers.
“I am particularly proud of our sales performance in this environment given that only in the past few days have many of our restaurants re-opened for in-restaurant dining to complement our off-premise and patio dining efforts,” he said in a statement.
The chain held off on reopening dining rooms even when restrictions were lifted in various counties and states. As of Sept. 30, more than 90% of restaurants have now repened their dining rooms.
At the onset of the pandemic, Noodles made operational and menu adjustments that helped drive off-premise sales.
The company introduced family meals, expanded third-party delivery options and began offering curbside pick up. The early move into contactless pickup gave the brand an early advantage as curbside pick eventually became a key pandemic safety trend.
To celebrate the brand’s financial results and its 25th anniversary next week, Noodles is rolling back prices for one day next week.
Rewards members will receive 25% off orders made on Oct. 6. Additionally, loyalty members will receive 25 days of free delivery from Oct. 7-31.
Contact Nancy Luna at [email protected]
Follow her on Twitter: @fastfoodmaven