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09/22/2021

Noodles & Company Expands Test to Second Ghost Kitchen

With locations in Chicago and now San Jose, Calif., the fast casual brand has the flexibility to expand access to the brand in new and emerging markets through its digital channels.
Anna Wolfe
Senior Editor - Restaurants
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. The ghost kitchen also offers increased off-premise capabilities that help reach a wider consumer base, allowing more guests to enjoy noodle-centric dishes.

Noodles & Company opened its second ghost kitchen test in San Jose, Calif., following the first ghost kitchen test in Chicago’s Humboldt Park in May.

Industry-wide, the ghost kitchen forecast is steaming HOT! Market surveys indicate that half of enterprise brands will launch some form of ghost, host or cloud kitchen concept in 2021, and that the global cloud kitchen market size, estimated at $43.1B in 2019, is forecasted to reach $71.4B by 2027

Testing a second ghost kitchen model provides Noodles & Company with the flexibility to expand access to the brand in new and emerging markets through its digital channels. The ghost kitchen also offers increased off-premise capabilities that help reach a wider consumer base, allowing more guests to enjoy noodle-centric dishes.

How it Works

Fans in San Jose can order menu items through the Noodles Rewards App or through third-party delivery providers. Orders can be picked up or delivered. 

[Read: When it comes to food delivery, 75% of guests prefer to order directly from a restaurant, according to HT's tenth annual Customer Engagement Technology Study, Powering Hospitality's Recovery. ]

“San Jose is an emerging market for us, and with this ghost kitchen test, we’ll be able to gain valuable insights on market trends and guest dynamics in the region," said Stacey Pool, chief marketing officer at Noodles & Company. "We’ll also be able to leverage these learnings for franchise opportunities in new markets, along with the expansion of our ghost kitchen concept. With various restaurant formats, we’re excited to capitalize on the rapidly growing delivery market and add new ways to serve our guests.”

Ghost kitchens are an attractive concept for operators now and in the future. QSR Wendy's is  developing 700 kitchens in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom by 2025.  Nathan's Famous, Dickey'sFazoli's, Wingstop, and Coolgreens are just a few of the operators partnering with ghost kitchens. Last year, Red Lobster is opened its first ghost kitchen, located in South Loop Chicago. Universities too are testing ghost kitchens. 

Noodles' Digital-Forward Growth

As a consistent innovator in the restaurant industry, Noodles & Company has continued to bring its guests new ways to enjoy the noodles they love, even during the recent pandemic. In Q2 2021, Noodles reported a digital sales growth of 15%, accounting for 56% of total sales. The launch of this ghost kitchen further supports guests’ changing behaviors. As guests continue to look for the seamless integration of restaurant offerings, along with a frictionless experience, this test presents an opportunity to gain insights and improve the guest ordering experience with greater access to a broader audience.

 

Images courtesy of Noodles & Company.

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