Noodles & Company today announced a partnership with Warner Foods, which operates over 150 Jack in the Box, Black Bear Diner, and Panera Bread restaurants, as its new exclusive franchise partner for the state of California. With a 12-year growth plan commitment, Warner Foods, which will operate as NorCal Noodles, LLC (NorCal Noodles) under this agreement, will develop 40 new Noodles & Company locations throughout the state. Additionally, as part of the agreement, all 15 current company-owned Noodles & Company locations in California will be re-franchised to NorCal Noodles. The transaction is expected to close on Wednesday, January 12, 2022.
Dave Boennighausen, CEO of Noodles & Company says, "We are thrilled to announce our partnership with Warner Foods to expand our brand further into the California market. Importantly, this also marks the second announced new franchise agreement in the last few months, reflecting momentum towards our goal to significantly increase our franchise locations as part of our overall growth plan. Warner Foods has a proven track record of superior operations, coupled with a people and guest-centric culture, making them the perfect fit to bring the Noodles & Company brand to more communities throughout California. With our economic model, on trend culinary innovation, and ability to meet the needs of today's consumer through our off premise and digital strengths, position the brand well as an attractive growth vehicle for franchise investment."
Eddie Nieves, partner and operator at Warner Foods, comments, "We are excited to add Noodles to our portfolio of brands. Noodles is one of the strongest brands in the fast-casual space, and over the past couple of years we've seen Noodles emerge as a leader in its ability to innovate its menu, its culture, and its brand. We're excited about the opportunity to partner with them and further grow Noodles in California, where we already do well with our other brands."
Noodles & Company has entered a stage of rapid growth, expecting seven to nine new openings during the first quarter of 2022 and anticipating 8%-unit growth in 2022 and 10% annual growth thereafter.