And now, after fifteen years, the company has been sold to an East Coast investment firm, Catterton Partners. So what does that mean for the Colorado-based chain?
Well, maybe not much when it comes to changes in the restaurants.
"There won't be a lot of changes in day-to-day business," says Jill Preston, director of communications for Noodles and Company. "We'll still be based in Broomfield, our brand won't change, we'll still have the same executive team and our guests probably won't see a difference when they come into our restaurants."
So why the change?
"This is a really great opportunity for us," she says. "We thought this would be a really powerful partnership."
Catterton Partners is a private equity firm that's invested in several restaurant concepts over the years, including PF Chang's, Outback and Culinary Concepts by Jean Georges. Preston says Noodles & Company saw an opportunity to take its growth, which has been partially based on franchising across the country, to another level by capitalizing on the experience and resources of the new investors. And so the firm bought out the former investors and took over.
"We were well capitalized to continue to grow," Preston says. "This is something we strategically chose to do, and we're excited about it."