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Noodles & Company Bets on Loyalty and Digital to Revive Sales

Noodles & Company Bets on Loyalty and Digital to Revive Sales

TLDR

As a fast-food restaurant chain, staying competitive requires constant innovation and adaptation. With declining sales, Noodles & Company is now betting on loyalty programs and digital capabilities to boost engagement and traffic. Fifty-five percent of the company's orders already come through digital channels, indicating this is a smart area of focus. Additionally, Noodles & Company boasts 5 million loyalty members who generate twice the revenue of non-members. By targeting new customers similar to their most loyal diners through digital advertising and personalized marketing, Noodles & Company aims to increase frequency and capture more revenue. With competitors like Chipotle growing, acting quickly to implement these digital and loyalty initiatives will be key to Noodles & Company's revival.

Noodles & Company Looks to Digital to Boost Engagement

To revive declining sales, Noodles & Company is leveraging its robust digital capabilities and loyalty program to boost customer engagement. Fifty-five percent of the company’s orders are placed through digital channels, highlighting their importance as a strong sales driver.

The company's loyalty program boasts over 5 million members who generate twice the annual revenue of non-members. The company adds approximately 50,000 new members each month. While Noodles & Company has traditionally focused on increasing purchase frequency among its most loyal customers, the company is now experimenting with targeted digital advertising to attract new customers with similar characteristics as its best members.

Digital Menu Boards and Limited Time Offers

Digital menu boards in all company-owned restaurants and some franchised locations help highlight limited-time offers to drive traffic, such as the current Chicken & Prosciutto Tortellini with Smoked Gouda. The company frequently rotates new menu items and flavors to keep the menu fresh and exciting for both new and returning customers.

A Best-in-Class Digital Strategy

Noodles & Company’s best-in-class digital strategy simplifies the ordering process to increase convenience and drive brand loyalty. The company’s mobile app and online ordering platform provide a seamless experience for customers. By focusing marketing efforts on attracting new tech-savvy customers and incentivizing existing loyal customers to order through digital channels, Noodles & Company aims to leverage its digital capabilities to reverse declining sales in a challenging market environment.

Loyalty Program Driving Sales for Noodles & Company

Noodles and Company's 5 million loyalty members account for 25% of all transactions and produce double the annual revenue of non-members. By focusing on attracting new members with similar attributes as their most loyal customers, they aim to drive frequency and increase sales.

Targeting High-Value Customers

The fast-casual chain is experimenting with online advertising on social media to reach potential customers that match the demographics and behaviors of their loyal members. This targeted marketing approach allows for more personalized communication compared to mass marketing campaigns. The goal is to attract new high-value customers who will engage frequently with the brand.

Leveraging Digital Capabilities

With 55% of orders placed through digital channels, the brand recognizes the influence of technology on sales and customer experience. The loyalty program and digital menu boards highlight limited-time offers to keep customers engaged. The menu boards in all company-owned locations and some franchised restaurants also help increase awareness of seasonal menu items.

Continuous Improvement

While updating the menu and developing a smaller restaurant prototype, Noodles and Company is focused on operational excellence and consistency. These initiatives, combined with creative marketing strategies and leveraging technology, will help reverse recent sales declines and position them for long-term success.

Menu Innovation Key to Attracting New Customers

Fresh Ingredients and Flavors

To attract new customers with adventurous palates, Noodles & Company has focused on incorporating innovative and bold flavors into their menu. By using high-quality, fresh ingredients to develop creative dishes like the Chicken & Prosciutto Tortellini with Smoked Gouda, and Zucchini Noodles with some new salad options, the chain is elevating the dining experience. Offering unique limited-time offers and specials spotlights the chain’s culinary creativity.

Targeting Health-Conscious Consumers

In addition to flavor, Noodles & Company recognizes that health-conscious choices are equally important to today’s consumers. They have added options like the Zucchini Noodles dish, which provides a gluten-free, vegetable-based alternative to traditional pasta. The chain also offers lighter portions, low-calorie dressings, and lean proteins to appeal to health-focused diners.

Streamlining the Menu

While adding innovative new menu items, Noodles & Company is simultaneously evaluating ways to simplify its menu. By streamlining options, the chain can reduce costs and optimize kitchen operations. A smaller, more targeted menu may also help avoid overwhelming customers with too many choices.

In summary, by focusing on fresh, innovative flavors, health-conscious choices and strategic menu simplification, Noodles & Company has a winning combination to draw in new customers. Their unique dishes and customized experience will resonate with diners looking to try bolder flavors in a casual, inviting environment. With the right menu and marketing strategies, Noodles & Company can revive sales by attracting new loyal customers.

Slowing Down New Restaurant Growth to Cut Costs

To improve operational efficiencies and profitability, Noodles & Company intends to slow down new restaurant openings in the coming years. The company grew its unit count by 5.9% in 2019 but aims to limit expansion to 3-4% annually going forward.

Reducing New Restaurant Costs

Opening new restaurants requires significant capital expenditures and often leads to lower profits in the initial years of operation. By slowing expansion, Noodles & Company can cut costs associated with building and staffing new locations. The company plans to use cost savings to pay down debt and reinvest in existing restaurants.

Optimizing the Restaurant Portfolio

Noodles & Company will also close underperforming restaurants to optimize its portfolio. The company closed 16 company-owned restaurants in 2019 and may close additional locations in the coming years. Closing low-volume restaurants will allow the company to focus resources on its highest-performing locations.

Developing a Smaller Restaurant Prototype

To further reduce costs for new restaurants, Noodles & Company is designing a smaller restaurant prototype. The new design will require lower capital investment while still accommodating digital ordering and delivery infrastructure. The company believes a smaller footprint will also allow for more flexible real estate options, enabling expansion into additional markets.

Slowing new restaurant growth and optimizing the existing restaurant base will generate cost savings to reinvest in enhanced customer experience, menu innovation, and off-premise business. With a leaner operational model, Noodles & Company can thrive even in a slowing economy. The company's updated strategy demonstrates a commitment to building a sustainable business for the future.

Final Thoughts

As Noodles & Company continues to focus on operational excellence and implementing strategic initiatives, the future looks promising for the fast-casual chain. By leveraging its strong digital capabilities and loyalty program, Noodles & Company is well-positioned to boost engagement and better target new customers. The menu innovations and smaller prototypes also demonstrate the company's commitment to adapting in a competitive market. With its customer-centric approach, operational improvements, and emphasis on digital, it aims to regain its momentum and strengthen its position in the crowded fast-casual segment. The initiatives reflect a strategic focus on loyalty, personalization, and operational efficiency to deliver an exceptional guest experience.

TLDR

As a fast-food restaurant chain, staying competitive requires constant innovation and adaptation. With declining sales, Noodles & Company is now betting on loyalty programs and digital capabilities to boost engagement and traffic. Fifty-five percent of the company's orders already come through digital channels, indicating this is a smart area of focus. Additionally, Noodles & Company boasts 5 million loyalty members who generate twice the revenue of non-members. By targeting new customers similar to their most loyal diners through digital advertising and personalized marketing, Noodles & Company aims to increase frequency and capture more revenue. With competitors like Chipotle growing, acting quickly to implement these digital and loyalty initiatives will be key to Noodles & Company's revival.

Noodles & Company Looks to Digital to Boost Engagement

To revive declining sales, Noodles & Company is leveraging its robust digital capabilities and loyalty program to boost customer engagement. Fifty-five percent of the company’s orders are placed through digital channels, highlighting their importance as a strong sales driver.

The company's loyalty program boasts over 5 million members who generate twice the annual revenue of non-members. The company adds approximately 50,000 new members each month. While Noodles & Company has traditionally focused on increasing purchase frequency among its most loyal customers, the company is now experimenting with targeted digital advertising to attract new customers with similar characteristics as its best members.

Digital Menu Boards and Limited Time Offers

Digital menu boards in all company-owned restaurants and some franchised locations help highlight limited-time offers to drive traffic, such as the current Chicken & Prosciutto Tortellini with Smoked Gouda. The company frequently rotates new menu items and flavors to keep the menu fresh and exciting for both new and returning customers.

A Best-in-Class Digital Strategy

Noodles & Company’s best-in-class digital strategy simplifies the ordering process to increase convenience and drive brand loyalty. The company’s mobile app and online ordering platform provide a seamless experience for customers. By focusing marketing efforts on attracting new tech-savvy customers and incentivizing existing loyal customers to order through digital channels, Noodles & Company aims to leverage its digital capabilities to reverse declining sales in a challenging market environment.

Loyalty Program Driving Sales for Noodles & Company

Noodles and Company's 5 million loyalty members account for 25% of all transactions and produce double the annual revenue of non-members. By focusing on attracting new members with similar attributes as their most loyal customers, they aim to drive frequency and increase sales.

Targeting High-Value Customers

The fast-casual chain is experimenting with online advertising on social media to reach potential customers that match the demographics and behaviors of their loyal members. This targeted marketing approach allows for more personalized communication compared to mass marketing campaigns. The goal is to attract new high-value customers who will engage frequently with the brand.

Leveraging Digital Capabilities

With 55% of orders placed through digital channels, the brand recognizes the influence of technology on sales and customer experience. The loyalty program and digital menu boards highlight limited-time offers to keep customers engaged. The menu boards in all company-owned locations and some franchised restaurants also help increase awareness of seasonal menu items.

Continuous Improvement

While updating the menu and developing a smaller restaurant prototype, Noodles and Company is focused on operational excellence and consistency. These initiatives, combined with creative marketing strategies and leveraging technology, will help reverse recent sales declines and position them for long-term success.

Menu Innovation Key to Attracting New Customers

Fresh Ingredients and Flavors

To attract new customers with adventurous palates, Noodles & Company has focused on incorporating innovative and bold flavors into their menu. By using high-quality, fresh ingredients to develop creative dishes like the Chicken & Prosciutto Tortellini with Smoked Gouda, and Zucchini Noodles with some new salad options, the chain is elevating the dining experience. Offering unique limited-time offers and specials spotlights the chain’s culinary creativity.

Targeting Health-Conscious Consumers

In addition to flavor, Noodles & Company recognizes that health-conscious choices are equally important to today’s consumers. They have added options like the Zucchini Noodles dish, which provides a gluten-free, vegetable-based alternative to traditional pasta. The chain also offers lighter portions, low-calorie dressings, and lean proteins to appeal to health-focused diners.

Streamlining the Menu

While adding innovative new menu items, Noodles & Company is simultaneously evaluating ways to simplify its menu. By streamlining options, the chain can reduce costs and optimize kitchen operations. A smaller, more targeted menu may also help avoid overwhelming customers with too many choices.

In summary, by focusing on fresh, innovative flavors, health-conscious choices and strategic menu simplification, Noodles & Company has a winning combination to draw in new customers. Their unique dishes and customized experience will resonate with diners looking to try bolder flavors in a casual, inviting environment. With the right menu and marketing strategies, Noodles & Company can revive sales by attracting new loyal customers.

Slowing Down New Restaurant Growth to Cut Costs

To improve operational efficiencies and profitability, Noodles & Company intends to slow down new restaurant openings in the coming years. The company grew its unit count by 5.9% in 2019 but aims to limit expansion to 3-4% annually going forward.

Reducing New Restaurant Costs

Opening new restaurants requires significant capital expenditures and often leads to lower profits in the initial years of operation. By slowing expansion, Noodles & Company can cut costs associated with building and staffing new locations. The company plans to use cost savings to pay down debt and reinvest in existing restaurants.

Optimizing the Restaurant Portfolio

Noodles & Company will also close underperforming restaurants to optimize its portfolio. The company closed 16 company-owned restaurants in 2019 and may close additional locations in the coming years. Closing low-volume restaurants will allow the company to focus resources on its highest-performing locations.

Developing a Smaller Restaurant Prototype

To further reduce costs for new restaurants, Noodles & Company is designing a smaller restaurant prototype. The new design will require lower capital investment while still accommodating digital ordering and delivery infrastructure. The company believes a smaller footprint will also allow for more flexible real estate options, enabling expansion into additional markets.

Slowing new restaurant growth and optimizing the existing restaurant base will generate cost savings to reinvest in enhanced customer experience, menu innovation, and off-premise business. With a leaner operational model, Noodles & Company can thrive even in a slowing economy. The company's updated strategy demonstrates a commitment to building a sustainable business for the future.

Final Thoughts

As Noodles & Company continues to focus on operational excellence and implementing strategic initiatives, the future looks promising for the fast-casual chain. By leveraging its strong digital capabilities and loyalty program, Noodles & Company is well-positioned to boost engagement and better target new customers. The menu innovations and smaller prototypes also demonstrate the company's commitment to adapting in a competitive market. With its customer-centric approach, operational improvements, and emphasis on digital, it aims to regain its momentum and strengthen its position in the crowded fast-casual segment. The initiatives reflect a strategic focus on loyalty, personalization, and operational efficiency to deliver an exceptional guest experience.

Doron Segal
Doron Segal

Hey I'm Doron, the co-founder & CTO of Per Diem — a mobile app platform for restaurants. I'm also a dad and a husband. I love to travel and meet new people.I love creating things, and see people using the stuff I built.Prior to Per Diem I worked at Saildrone, OpenTable, Apple, Beats Music, Siemens.

Tomer Molovinsky
Tomer Molovinsky

A second time founder with a passion for building products at the intersection of hospitality and technology. I've had the pleasure of launching reservation systems, mobile payment solutions, and loyalty programs at OpenTable and Resy, and witnessed how operators were losing a direct connection with their customers online. We built Per Diem to strengthen the relationships that businesses have with those customers, and to ensure that local businesses can thrive in today's economy.

Ashley Rodriguez
Ashley Rodriguez

Ashley is a freelance writer and podcast producer based in Madison, Wisconsin. She hosts a podcast called Boss Barista and writes an accompanying newsletter with full transcripts of each episode and articles about coffee and restaurant work. You can check out her work here (ashleyrodriguez.work/).

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