Noodles & Company records record average unit volumes

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Noodles & Company reports record average unit volumes for April, as well as record digital sales, even as restaurant traffic continues to increase, the chain reported Thursday.

The fast casual said its April AUV at company-owned sites exceeded $ 1.35 million, a 13% increase from the same period in 2019.

“While we recognize that there is still uncertainty around COVID and that the industry is likely benefiting from recent government stimulus measures, we continue to be very confident about our trajectory and remain confident that we are an even bigger business. stronger at the end of the pandemic than we were. a year ago, ”Dave Boennighausen, CEO of Noodles, told analysts.

The Broomfield, Colo.-Based chain reported total revenue of $ 109.6 million for the quarter ended March 30, up from $ 100.3 million for the same period a year ago.

Noodles said it had record digital sales in March and April, even as restaurant sales returned to 60% of pre-pandemic levels in April.

The chain previously noted that it is embarking on a franchise push, after a long hiatus, with the long-term goal of having half of all new locations managed by franchisees. Noodles has announced plans to open two to four franchise units this year, although most of the 10 to 15 new restaurant openings in 2021 are corporate stores.

Like almost all operators, Boennighausen said Noodles “has been seeing one of the most competitive work environments” for almost two decades.

Noodles, however, enjoys strong retention metrics, he says.

“Our turnover is down significantly from what we were a year ago,” he said. “Management revenue is almost half of what it was a few years ago … That said, as we continue to add new units through the pipeline, as we continue to increase our average unit volumes, we certainly strive we continue to have a significant application flow to support these restaurants. “

Noodles previously announced that it is adding steamers to every kitchen, which can cut the cooking time of most of the chain’s dishes by about a minute. Currently, they have been installed in 23% of the chain’s units and plan to deploy them system-wide by the end of the year.

“The first results are in line with our test, which translates into improved cooking times, reduced working hours and better taste in food scores,” CFO Carl Lukach told analysts.

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