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Noodles & Company Launches Test Ghost Kitchen In Chicago

Fast casual brand Noodles & Company has launched a test of its first ghost kitchen in Chicago’s Humboldt Park, the company announced.

The ghost kitchen, which joins 20 other Noodles & Company locations in metro Chicago, will allow fans of the eatery to order their favorite items through the chain’s app for quick pickup and delivery, or through third-party delivery services like DoorDash.

“As Noodles continues to accelerate its growth, launching a ghost kitchen creates a cost-effective option to expand the brand within an established market by introducing a location that doesn’t require the physical space of a traditional restaurant,” the company said in a news release.

Stacey Pool, chief marketing officer at Noodles & Company, said the ghost kitchen is “integral to our overall digital strategy as we work to develop faster service through our digital channels with lower overhead and labor costs, all without investing in a physical brick-and-mortar location. And because our food travels so well, guests never have to choose between quality and convenience.”

The company says its digital sales grew 110 percent in the first quarter of 2021, accounting for 62 percent of sales. The ghost kitchen, it says, supports the changing behavior of guests, even as diners go back to their pre-pandemic habits.

“We feel very encouraged by the growth of our digital business,” Noodles & Company CFO Carl Lukach told PYMNTS in an interview earlier this month.

“This did not happen overnight. We have been investing in digital for a while now, particularly building a very functional app and building a lot of frictionless ways for our guests to engage with us,” he said. So “whether they want to come in and pick up, whether they want delivery, whether they want to see us on a third-party aggregator, or whether they want to just do curbside … we’ve given our guests a true omnichannel approach.”

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