SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
|☒||ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
For the fiscal year ended January 3, 2023
|☐||TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
For the transition period from to
Commission File Number: 001-35987
NOODLES & COMPANY
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
|(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)||(IRS Employer Identification No.)|
|520 Zang Street, Suite D|| |
|(Address of principal executive offices)||(Zip Code)|
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (720) 214-1900
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
|Title of each class||Trading Symbol||Name of each exchange on which registered|
|Class A common stock, par value $0.01 per share||NDLS||Nasdaq Global Select Market|
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ¨ No x
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes ¨ No x
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days Yes x No ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes x No ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
|Large accelerated filer||☐||Accelerated filer||☒|
|Non-accelerated filer||☐||Smaller reporting company||☒|
|Emerging growth company||☐|
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. ☒
If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the registrant’s executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to §240.10D-1(b). ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes ☐ No ☒
The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common stock held by non-affiliates as of June 28, 2022, the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, was $230.3 million. This amount was calculated based on the closing price of the common stock on June 28,
2022 on the Nasdaq Global Select Market. All executive officers and directors of the registrant have been deemed, solely for the purpose of the foregoing calculation, to be “affiliates” of the registrant.
As of March 3, 2023, there were 46,040,427 shares of the registrant’s Class A common stock, par value of $0.01 per share outstanding.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the registrant’s proxy statement relating to its 2023 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, to be held on or about May 15, 2023, are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, where so indicated. Such proxy statement will be filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days after the end of the fiscal year to which this report relates.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ITEM 1. Business
Noodles & Company is a restaurant concept offering lunch and dinner within the fast-casual segment of the restaurant industry. Our core offerings include noodle and pasta dishes, staples of many different cuisines, with the goal of delivering fresh ingredients and flavors from around the world under one roof. Today, our globally-inspired menu includes a wide variety of high quality, cooked-to-order dishes, including noodles and pasta, salads, soups and appetizers. We believe that we offer our customers value, with per person spend of $12.50. As of January 3, 2023, we operated 461 restaurants in 31 states, which included 368 company locations and 93 franchise locations.
We offer approximately 20 globally-inspired and highly customizable dishes together on a single menu that can be enjoyed inside our restaurants, taken to-go, or delivered to our customers. We believe we will continue to benefit from recent trends in consumer preferences such as the increasing desire for convenience and to engage with brands digitally, as well as the broader demand for international cuisines. At many restaurants, customers are limited to a particular ethnic cuisine or type of dish, such as a sandwich, burrito or burger. At Noodles & Company, we aim to eliminate the “veto vote” by satisfying the preferences of a wide range of customers, whether a family or parent with kids, a group of coworkers, an individual or a large party.
Our menu is well suited for off-premise dining occasions in which customers order at our restaurant or online but then eat their meal from the comfort of their home or office. Our menu items travel particularly well, with a high variety of options to meet a broad range of lifestyle needs. In addition, our digital capabilities position the brand well for consumer trends focused on convenience. We also believe that our globally-inspired menu, focused on noodle and pasta dishes, differentiates us from other restaurants. We believe our attributes—global flavors, variety, dishes prepared-to-order and fast service—allow us to compete against multiple segments throughout the restaurant industry and provide us a larger addressable market for lunch and dinner than competitors who focus on a single cuisine. We strive to provide a pleasant dining, pick-up or delivery experience by quickly preparing fresh food with friendly service at a price point we believe is attractive to our customers.
Noodles & Company is a Delaware corporation that was organized in 2002. Noodles & Company and its subsidiaries are sometimes referred to as “we,” “us,” “our,” and the “Company” in this report. We refer to our Class A Common Stock, par value $0.01 per share, as our “common stock.”
Our Concept and Business Strengths
Convenience. Our customers experience the Noodles brand through our company-owned and franchise operated locations, through our website www.noodles.com and through our mobile app. In 2022, approximately 54% of our sales were derived from digital ordering, where guests have the opportunity to select in restaurant quick pick-up or delivery to their home or office. In select restaurants, particularly new locations, we offer the added convenience of order-ahead drive through windows. We believe that the breadth of ways that consumers can access our brand, the variety inherent in our menu, and how well our food travels is a business strength in relation to consumer trends towards convenience.
Variety. We have purposefully chosen a range of healthy to indulgent dishes to satisfy multiple dietary and lifestyle preferences. Our menu encourages customers to customize their meals to meet their tastes and nutritional preferences with our selection of a variety of fresh vegetables and seven proteins. Additionally, customers are able to customize the noodle that their dish is prepared with, including healthy options such as our zucchini noodle (“Zoodles”), gluten free pipette noodle or the recently launched LEANguini noodle (“LEANguini”), which features significantly fewer carbs and more protein than a traditional wheat noodle.
All of our dishes are cooked-to-order with fresh, high quality ingredients sourced from our carefully selected suppliers. Our commitment to the freshness of our ingredients is further demonstrated by our use of fresh produce and healthy add-in options such as seasoned tofu. Our culinary team strives to develop new dishes and limited time offerings to further reinforce our brand positioning and regularly provide our customers with additional options. Choice and customization have always been a great strength of the brand, and we continue to innovate in ways that allow guests to enjoy the world flavors they know and love, as well as discover new ones with all of the benefits of healthier options. This focus on culinary innovation allows us to prepare and serve high quality food, meet changing consumer trends and acquire new customers. As we add healthy alternatives, we additionally from time to time introduce more classic noodle and pasta dishes, such as our Tortelloni.
Value. The quality of our food and the welcoming ambiance of our restaurants creates an overall customer experience that we believe is unique and differentiated. Our per person spend is competitive not only within the fast-casual segment, but also within the quick-service segment. Our digital menu available on our mobile app and website, features an Everyday Value landing page where guests can select an entry-level item for around $7 per dish. During 2022, we featured our Everyday Value menu through a brand marketing message called 7 for $7. In addition, we also offer kids meals which, at a fixed low price, provide the opportunity for parents to feed their children a balanced meal with sides such as broccoli, applesauce and a smaller portion of our house made rice crispy treat.
Our Brand Experience. Our locations are designed individually, which we believe creates an inviting restaurant environment. We believe the ambiance is warm and welcoming, with muted lighting and colors, comfortable seating and our own custom music mix, which is intended to make our customers feel relaxed and at home. We believe we deliver an exceptional overall dining experience. Our customers expect not only great food from our restaurants, but also warm hospitality and attentive service.
Consistent with our culture of enhanced customer service, we seek to hire, develop and retain individuals who will deliver prompt, attentive service by engaging customers the moment they enter our restaurants. Our training philosophy empowers both our restaurant managers and team members, also referred to as employees, to add a personal touch when engaging with our customers. Our restaurant managers are critical to our success, as we believe that their entrepreneurial spirit and outreach efforts build our brand in our communities.
Our guests also experience the Noodles brand through our digital platforms, including orders placed on our website or our mobile app, contactless and in-restaurant pick-ups and delivery through our own channels or a third-party aggregator. Our multi-channel approach allows us to adapt to potential changes in customer behavior, and has been strengthened by our investments in our off-premise channel, such as our elevated technology capabilities and our quick-pick up counters. Additionally, in some of our locations, we provide curbside pick-up available to our guests directly through our mobile app and website. Finally, the majority of our new locations have incorporated order ahead drive-thru windows to increase our level of convenience.
Our Operational Strategy
We believe our brand and globally-inspired menu resonates with consumers, and we believe our restaurants, team members and online engagement provide customers a unique and high-quality experience. We are focused on offering customers flavorful, cooked-to-order dishes in a warm and welcoming environment at an attractive value.
Restaurant initiatives. Our plan to improve our performance includes the following four key strategies:
•Enhancing convenience for our customers. We have meaningfully improved convenience for customers during the past few years. In 2022, we revamped our website and digital app layout which enhanced customization of orders and quick add options. In addition, we added convenience with group ordering, Apple pay and order status. Our Noodles Rewards program, relaunched in 2019 incorporates points and tier-based rewards to further drive customer engagement. We believe there still remains a significant opportunity to enhance our Noodles Rewards program and digital experience for our guests. Additionally, we have reduced friction for off-premise channels through the use of our quick pick-up counter within our locations and through our third-party delivery program.
•Focusing on our global flavors and menu offerings. We believe that our globally-inspired menu, focused on noodle and pasta dishes, differentiates us from other restaurants. We also believe this global variety, which includes a range of healthy to indulgent dishes that are cooked to order with fresh, high-quality ingredients, remains a competitive strength. Our menu innovation has significant potential to broaden awareness and drive new guests with our healthy noodle alternatives, including zucchini and LEANguini dishes, and continued innovation in our classic noodle dishes.
•Improving efficiencies and unit-level margins. The increased demand for off-premise and digital sales has accelerated our ability to optimize our staffing model and vendor efficiencies. We are actively enhancing our supply chain and food preparation procedures to reduce inbound ingredient costs and improve labor efficiency through our ongoing Kitchen of the Future Initiative. Since 2018, the Kitchen of the Future Initiative has identified several areas of in-restaurant labor reductions, including upgrading to a sales-based labor model, reducing hours for front of house cashiers, optimizing pre-prepared ingredients and investing in steamer equipment. This ongoing initiative is anticipated to further optimize our restaurant efficiencies by identifying new processes, equipment and technology which we believe will help offset increases in food and wage inflation.
•Improving manager selection, training and development of our teams. Team member retention is a critical component to our success. We have increased our focus on the selection, training and development of our restaurant teams by implementing certain changes to our restaurant compensation program and an expanded benefits program. Our previous investments in extensive training tools and learning management systems have improved overall training execution, improved employee turnover and encouraged career development within our teams.
Restaurant Portfolio and Franchising
Restaurant Portfolio. As of January 3, 2023, we had 368 company-owned restaurants and 93 franchise restaurants in 31 states. Our restaurants are typically between 2,000 and 2,600 square feet and are located in end-cap, in-line or free-standing locations across a variety of suburban, collegiate and urban markets. We are currently executing a smaller square footage design which largely includes order ahead drive-thru windows as we embed an off-premise focused operating model into new restaurants. We anticipate that this design will better facilitate future expansion and better meet the needs of the changing consumer experience.
Restaurant Development. In 2022, we opened sixteen new company-owned restaurants and three franchised locations. We anticipate approximately 7.5% new unit growth in 2023, and between 7% to 10% during 2024 and beyond, based on our disciplined identification of sites and growing pipeline. We anticipate this unit growth to include a combination of both company and franchise development.
Certain Restaurant Closures. We closed five company-owned restaurants in 2022, most of which were at or approaching the expiration of their leases or in trade areas that are not as well positioned for current consumer trends. We currently do not anticipate a significant number of restaurant closures for the foreseeable future; however, we may from time to time close or relocate certain restaurants, that are at, or near, the expiration of their leases or in trade areas that are not as well positioned for current consumer trends.
Franchising. As of January 3, 2023, we had 93 franchise units in 18 states operated by 11 franchisees. In 2022, our franchisees opened three restaurants and closed one restaurant. We have a total of eight area developers who have signed development agreements providing for the opening of 97 additional restaurants in their respective territories. In January of 2022, we completed the sale of 15 restaurants in California to a new franchise partner (the “Warner Sale”). We expect franchising to be a part of our growth strategy in future years. We look for experienced, well-capitalized franchise partners who are able to leverage their existing infrastructure and local knowledge in a manner that benefits both our franchisees and us. We expect to continue to offer development rights in markets where we do not intend to build company-owned restaurants. We may offer such rights to larger developers who commit to open 10 or more units, or to smaller developers who may commit to open fewer restaurants. We do not currently intend to offer single-unit franchises. We believe the strength and attractiveness of our brand will attract experienced and well-capitalized area developers.
Site Development and Expansion
We consider our site selection and development process critical to our long-term success. We have used a combination of our own internal team and outside real estate consultants to locate, evaluate and negotiate new sites using various criteria. In making site selection decisions, we use several analytical tools designed to uncover the key site, demographic, business, retail, competitive and traffic characteristics that drive successful locations. Once a location has been approved by our executive-level selection committee, we begin a design process to match the characteristics and feel of the location to the trade area.
Restaurant Management and Operations
Friendly Team Members. We believe our genuine, friendly team members separate us from our competitors. We value the individuality of our team members, which we believe results in a management, operations and training philosophy distinct from that of our competitors. We strive to hire team members who share our values, a passion for food, have a competitive spirit and will operate our restaurants in a way that is consistent with our high standards. We seek to hire individuals who will deliver prompt, attentive service by engaging customers at all points during the Noodles brand experience. We empower our team members to enrich the experience of our customers and directly address any concerns that may arise in a manner that contributes to the success of our business.
Restaurant Management and Employees. Each restaurant typically has a general manager, an assistant general manager, multiple shift managers and team members. We cross-train our employees in an effort to create a depth of competency in our critical restaurant functions. To lead our restaurant management teams, we have area managers (each of whom is responsible for between five and 10 restaurants), as well as regional directors (each of whom is responsible for between approximately 50 and 60 restaurants).
Training and Career Development. We believe that our training efforts create a culture of continuous learning and professional growth that allows our team members to continue their career development with us. Within each restaurant, two to four team members are designated to lead the training efforts and ensure a consistent approach to team member development. We produce training materials that encourage individual contributions and participation from our team members while also requiring adherence to certain guidelines and procedures.
Food Preparation and Quality. Our teams use classic professional cooking methods, including sautéing many of our vegetables, in full kitchens resembling those of full-service restaurants. All team members, including our restaurant managers, spend their first several days working solely with food and learning these techniques, and we spend a significant amount of time ensuring that each team member learns how to prepare and cook our food properly.
The majority of our restaurants have exhibition-style kitchens. This design demonstrates our commitment to cooking fresh food in an accessible manner. We provide each customer with individual attention and make every effort to respond to customer suggestions and concerns in a personal and hospitable way.
We require all of our dishes to be cooked to order at food safe temperatures or, in the case of salads, subject to our produce washing protocols, which helps to ensure that the food we serve to our customers is safe. We have designed our food safety and quality assurance programs to maintain high standards for our food and food preparation procedures. Our director of quality assurance oversees comprehensive restaurant and supplier audits based upon the potential food safety risk of each food. We also consider food safety and quality assurance when selecting our distributors and suppliers. Our suppliers are inspected by federal, state and local regulators or other reputable, qualified inspection services, which helps ensure their compliance with all federal food safety and quality guidelines. We regularly inspect our suppliers to ensure that the ingredients we buy conform to our quality standards and that the prices we pay are competitive. We also rely on our own recipes, specifications and protocols to ensure that our food is consistently the best quality that is possible when it is served, including a physical examination of ingredients when they arrive at our restaurants. We train our employees to pay detailed attention to food quality at every stage of the food preparation cycle, and we have developed a daily checklist that our employees use to assess the freshness and quality of food supplies. Finally, we encourage our customers to provide feedback regarding our food quality so that we can identify and resolve problems or concerns as quickly as possible.
Our strategic marketing efforts seek to drive sales and increase brand loyalty by highlighting our competitive strengths through a variety of channels including digital marketing, social media, public relations, guest engagement and local marketing. We focus on attributes that set us apart including the breadth and customization of our menu and our best-in-class convenience offerings, and ultimately use a data-driven approach to guide our strategy.
•Our Menu Offering. At the heart of our marketing is our ongoing mission to always nourish and inspire every team member, guest and community we serve. We focus some of our marketing efforts on new menu offerings to broaden our appeal to our customers. For example, during 2022, our new menu offering efforts centered around the launch of
LEANguini, our proprietary low-carb, high-protein noodle dish. Most of these marketing efforts are focused on prompt consumer action to directly drive traffic and trial.
•Brand Platform. During 2022, we launched a new brand platform called Uncommon Goodness, under the tagline “we infuse Uncommon Goodness in everything we do.” The focus of the platform is to strengthen our brand awareness, introduce the Noodles brand to new guests and remind existing guests what makes Noodles unique.
•Loyalty Program. Our Noodles Rewards program grew 12.5% during 2022 to more than 4.5 million members and allows us to connect directly with each guest. The program allows guests to accumulate reward points associated with each purchase that can be redeemed for offers such as free bowls, shareables and delivery. Rewards members are typically the first to learn about new offerings, and in some cases are provided exclusive access to certain menu items. The data acquired from rewards members is used to target and personalize offers and communications.
•Seamless Digital Experiences. Digital properties inclusive of our website and our app offer guests a differentiated and seamless ordering experience. Our digital experience has been carefully designed to showcase our food. From exploring, selecting and ordering new dishes, to finding the perfect shareable or redeeming rewards points, the digital experience is a critical part of the guest journey.
•Digital Marketing. We use targeted digital advertising across all markets spanning email, search, display, social, video and other related channels. This helps to increase top of mind awareness with potential guests and drives frequency, trial and guest spend. We leverage zero-party and first-party data to drive effective and efficient advertising spend, ensuring we are improving the return on our investment. In addition, digital advertising provides us with the opportunity to promote specific product categories, highlight convenient off-premise channel offerings, communicate rewards and encourage consumer action, resulting in immediate increases in our customer traffic and long-term customer loyalty. In 2022, we began the rollout of digital menu boards across our locations, which we expect to complete in 2023. Digital menu boards allow us to showcase key menu features, target guest communication, enhance our pricing capabilities and increase flexibility for culinary testing.
Human Capital Management
We believe the strength of our workforce is one of the significant contributors to our success as a brand. This is largely attributed to our team members who strive every day to create an environment for our guests where they feel welcomed and cared for. Therefore, one of our strategic priorities is to develop people as a differentiator, including investing in the following areas of focus:
Oversight and Management. We recognize the diversity of our team members, guests and communities, and believe in creating an inclusive and equitable environment that represents a broad spectrum of backgrounds and cultures. Working under these principles, our Human Resources department is tasked with managing employment-related matters, including recruiting and hiring, onboarding and training, compensation and benefit planning, performance management and talent development. Our management and cross-functional teams also work closely to evaluate human capital management issues such as team member retention, workplace safety, harassment and bullying, as well as to implement measures to mitigate these risks.
Our Board of Directors and Board committees provide oversight on certain human capital matters as part of their overall engagement in our Environmental, Social and Governance practices. Our Compensation Committee, with input from members of our management and a third-party compensation consultant who provides benchmarked data, has responsibility for administering and approving annually certain elements of compensation, including our incentive compensation plans and equity-based plans. Management provides input into the design of our incentive compensation programs to ensure that these programs support the Company’s business objectives and strategic priorities. The annual business plan initially established by our management, but approved by our Board, is an important element of our Compensation Committee’s decision-making process for performance measures and goals.
Total Rewards. We have demonstrated a history of investing in our workforce by offering competitive salaries and wages. To foster a stronger sense of ownership and align the interests of our team members with shareholders, restricted stock units are provided to eligible team members under our stock incentive programs. Additionally, we provide incentive compensation through annual bonus plans for all eligible team members. Furthermore, we offer comprehensive, targeted and innovative benefits to all eligible team members. This includes comprehensive health, dental and vision insurance coverage, a 401(k) program and paid time off.
In 2022, we announced the expansion of our already comprehensive team member benefits program called LifeAtNoodles. The new benefits include financial planning services, immigration reimbursement program, GM equity partner program, introduction of Noodles Resource Groups and expansion of our balance bucks program.
•GM Equity Partner Program. Continuity of our General Managers (“GM”) is directly correlated to the positive financial performance of our restaurants. Our new GM Equity Partner Program is designed to reward and motivate our top performers. Twice a year top performing GMs (identified by performance against key financial and operational metrics) are invited into the program and are granted RSUs with a three year cliff vest. We firmly believe that investing in this key talent will drive retention of our leaders.
•Immigration Reimbursement Program. Many of our team members come from different parts of the world. Remaining eligible to work in the United States can be timely and costly. We provide financial reimbursement to support our team members as they navigate their immigration process.
•Noodles Balance Bucks Program. We offer numerous mental, financial and physical health benefits to our team. In 2022, we expanded on our existing Balance Bucks Program, which allows eligible team members to be reimbursed for fitness and physical health related purchases and expenses. In 2022, this program expanded to support a broader range of eligible expenses and now includes purchases and expenses related to team members mental and financial well-being, along with physical fitness and health. We also expanded eligibility of this program in 2022 so that now all Assistant General Managers and above are eligible for the program.
•Inclusion & Diversity. At Noodles, we live our core values every day by working towards creating an inclusive and welcoming environment for all. In 2022, we believe we have made much traction in this area. One of the most impactful programs we put in place in 2022 in this space are Noodles’ versions of Employee Resource Groups, called NRGs (“Noodles Resource Groups”). We introduced two different NRGs in 2022 that are led by executive sponsors. One group, THRIVE, supports the BIPOC community and their allies. Our second group is PROUD which supports the LGBTQIA+ community and their allies. These groups are designed to help elevate the voice of these underrepresented populations and increase recruiting and retention efforts. These groups also support Noodles by bringing forward key ideas that can help advance the business and identify additional ways for Noodles to improve its community presence by getting involved in various community organizations and events.
We are continually focused on how we can offer the best workplace in our industry and we are proud of these benefits that honor our commitment to inclusion and diversity. We were named one of America's Favorite Restaurants by Newsweek, and one of the Top 500 Franchises by Franchise Times. Noodles has been recognized by Forbes as one of America's Best Employers for Diversity in 2021 and 2022 and one of America's Best Employers for Women in 2021. Additionally, QSR recently named Noodles one of 2022's Best Brands to Work For, and the Denver Business Journal has called Noodles one of the Best Places to Work for its unique culture focused on Uncommon Goodness and built on the value of "Loving Life," which begins by nourishing and inspiring its communities and every team member and guest who walks through the door. We have also earned the Women in the Lead Certification for our investment in women-empowering initiatives for its female team members and have proudly partnered with the Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance to build cultural intelligence within our teams. Finally, we released our first Nourish & Inspire impact report in October of 2021 detailing the progress we have made across four important areas of our business: food, people, planet, and community.
As of January 3, 2023, we had approximately 8,100 employees, including approximately 600 salaried employees and approximately 7,500 hourly employees. None of our employees are unionized or covered by a collective bargaining agreement, and we consider our current employee relations to be good.
Maintaining a high degree of quality in our restaurants depends in part on our ability to acquire fresh ingredients and other necessary supplies that meet our specifications from reliable suppliers. We carefully select suppliers based on quality and their understanding of our brand, and we seek to develop mutually beneficial long-term relationships with them. We work closely with our suppliers and use a mix of forward, fixed and formula pricing protocols. In some cases, we have made efforts to increase the number of suppliers for our ingredients, which we believe can help mitigate pricing volatility. We monitor industry news, trade issues, weather, crises and other world events that may affect supply prices.
Seasonality/Quarterly Financial Information
Seasonal factors and the timing of holidays cause our revenue to fluctuate from quarter to quarter. Our revenue per restaurant is typically lower in the first and fourth quarters, due to reduced winter and holiday traffic, and higher in the second and third quarters. Other factors also have a seasonal effect on our results. For example, restaurants located near colleges and universities generally do more business during the academic year. Seasonal factors, however, might be moderated or outweighed by other factors that may influence our quarterly results, such as worldwide health pandemics, fluctuations in food or packaging costs, or the timing of menu price increases or promotional activities and other marketing initiatives.
Our quarterly results are also affected by other factors such as the amount and timing of non-cash stock-based compensation expense and related tax rate impacts, impairment charges and non-operating costs, timing of marketing or promotional expenses, the number and timing of new restaurants opened in a quarter, and closure of restaurants. New restaurants typically have higher operating costs following opening because of the expenses associated with their opening and operating inefficiencies in the months immediately following opening. Accordingly, results for a particular quarter are not necessarily indicative of results to be expected for any other quarter or for any year.
We face competition from the casual dining, quick-service and fast-casual segments of the restaurant industry. These segments are highly competitive with respect to taste, price, food quality and presentation, service, location and the ambiance and condition of each restaurant, among other things. Our competition includes a variety of locally owned restaurants and national and regional chains who offer dine-in, carry-out and delivery services. Many of our competitors have existed longer and have a more established market presence with substantially greater financial, marketing, personnel and other resources than we have. Among our competitors are a number of multi-unit, multi-market fast-casual restaurant concepts, some of which are expanding nationally. As we expand, we will face competition from these concepts and new competitors that strive to compete with our market segments.
We also face competition from firms outside the restaurant industry, such as grocery stores and home meal replacement services, who sell prepared meals for takeout and in some cases, offer delivery service.
Intellectual Property and Trademarks
We own a number of trademarks and service marks registered or pending with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. We also have certain trademarks registered in certain foreign countries. In addition, we own the internet domain name www.noodles.com. The information on, or that can be accessed through, our website is not part of this report. We believe that our trademarks, service marks and other intellectual property rights have significant value and are important to the marketing of our brand, and it is our policy to protect and defend vigorously our rights to such intellectual property.
Governmental Regulation and Environmental Matters
We are subject to extensive and varied federal, state and local government regulation, including regulations relating to public and occupational health and safety, sanitation and fire prevention. We operate each of our restaurants in accordance with standards and procedures designed to comply with applicable codes and regulations. However, an inability to obtain or retain health department or other licenses could adversely affect our operations. Although we have not experienced, and do not anticipate, any significant difficulties, delays or failures in obtaining required licenses, permits or approvals, any such problem could delay or prevent the opening of, or adversely impact the viability of, a particular restaurant or group of restaurants.
In addition, in order to develop and construct restaurants, we need to comply with applicable zoning, land use and environmental regulations. Federal and state environmental regulations have not had a material effect on our operations to date, but more stringent and varied requirements of local governmental bodies with respect to zoning, land use and environmental factors could delay or even prevent construction and increase development costs for new restaurants. We are also required to comply with the accessibility standards mandated by the U.S. Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), which generally prohibits discrimination in accommodation or employment based on disability. We may in the future have to modify restaurants, for example by adding access ramps or redesigning certain architectural fixtures, to provide service to or make reasonable accommodations for disabled persons. While these expenses could be material, our current expectation is that any such actions will not require us to expend substantial funds.
In addition, we are subject to the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act, the U.S. Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, the Occupational Safety and Health Act and various other federal and state laws governing similar matters including minimum wages, overtime, workplace safety and other working conditions. Our failure to fully comply with these laws could subject us to potential litigation and liability. We are also subject to various laws and regulations relating to our current and any future franchise operations.
We are also subject to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (the “PPACA”), which requires health care coverage for many previously uninsured individuals and expands coverage for those already insured. We began offering such benefits in 2015.
We are subject to federal, state and local environmental laws and regulations concerning waste disposal, pollution, protection of the environment and the presence, discharge, storage, handling, release and disposal of, or exposure to, hazardous or toxic substances (“environmental laws”). These environmental laws can provide for significant fines and penalties for non-compliance and liabilities for remediation, sometimes without regard to whether the owner or operator of the property knew of, or was responsible for, the release or presence of the hazardous or toxic substances. Third parties may also make claims against owners or operators of properties for personal injuries and property damage associated with releases of, or actual or alleged exposure to, such substances. We are not aware of any environmental laws that will materially affect our earnings or competitive position, or result in material capital expenditures relating to our restaurants. However, we cannot predict what environmental laws will be enacted in the future, how existing or future environmental laws will be administered, interpreted or enforced, or the amount of future expenditures that we may need to make to comply with, or to satisfy claims relating to, environmental laws. It is possible that we will become subject to environmental liabilities at our properties, and any such liabilities could materially affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Management Information Systems
We use a variety of applications and systems to securely manage the flow of information within each restaurant, and within our central support office infrastructure. All of our restaurants use computerized management information systems, which we believe are scalable to support any future growth plans. We use point-of-sale (“POS”) computers designed specifically for the restaurant industry. Our POS system provides a touch screen interface, a graphical order confirmation display and integrated, high-speed credit card and gift card processing. Our online ordering system allows customers to place orders online or through our mobile app. Orders taken remotely are routed to the point-of-sale system based on the time of customer order pickup. The POS system is used to collect daily transaction data, which generates information about daily sales, product mix and average check that we actively analyze. All products sold and prices at our company-owned restaurants are programmed into the system from our central support office. We also continue to modernize and make investments in our information technology networks and infrastructure, specifically in our physical and technological security measures, to anticipate cyber-attacks and defend against breaches and to provide improved control, security and scalability. Enhancing the security of our financial data, customer information and other personal information is a high priority for us.
Our in-restaurant back office computer system is designed to assist in the management of our restaurants and provide labor and food cost management tools. These tools provide restaurant operations management and our central support office quick access to detailed business data and reduces restaurant managers’ administrative time. The system provides our restaurant managers the ability to submit orders electronically with our distribution network. The system also supplies sales, bank deposit and variance data to our finance department on a daily basis. We use this data to generate daily sales information and weekly consolidated reports regarding sales and other key measures.
Franchisees use similar point of sale systems and are required to report sales on a daily basis through an online reporting network and submit their restaurant-level financial statements on a quarterly and annual basis. We also offer certain restaurant technology support services to our franchisees.
Financial Information About Segments
We operate as a single accounting segment. Financial information related to our business is included in Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
We maintain a website at www.noodles.com, including an investor relations section at investor.noodles.com, on which we routinely post important information, such as webcasts of quarterly earnings calls, and any related materials. You may access our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, amendments to those reports and other reports relating to us that are filed with or furnished to the SEC, free of charge in the investor relations section of our website as soon as reasonably practicable after such material is electronically filed with or furnished to the SEC.
The contents of the websites mentioned herein are not incorporated into and should not be considered a part of this report. The references to the URLs for these websites are intended to be inactive textual references only.
ITEM 1A. Risk Factors
Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This report contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that involve risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to the risks and uncertainties discussed under this Item 1A. “Risk Factors,” Item 7. “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and Item 1. “Business.” In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by terms such as “may,” “might,” “will,” “objective,” “intend,” “should,” “could,” “can,” “would,” “expect,” “believe,” “design,” “estimate,” “predict,” “potential,” “plan” or the negative of these terms and similar expressions intended to identify forward-looking statements. These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performances or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. We discuss these risks, uncertainties and other factors in greater detail below. These statements reflect our current views with respect to future events and are based on currently available operating, financial and competitive information. Unless required by United States federal securities laws, we do not intend to update any of these forward-looking statements to reflect circumstances or events that occur after the statement is made.
Risks Related to Our Business and Industry
We may not achieve our operational, strategic or financial goals.
We continue to pursue a number of financial, operational and strategic goals and we may be unsuccessful in achieving some or all of them. Our strategies are designed to, among other objectives, improve restaurant operations and increase our restaurant revenue, comparable restaurant sales, net income and adjusted EBITDA, as defined in management’s discussion and analysis. However, these strategies may not be successful in achieving our goals in part or at all. Further, we may encounter difficulty in executing these strategies. Failing to execute our operational strategies could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.
Our strategies include innovating our menu offerings, such as through the introduction of LEANguini; pursuing off-premise opportunities, for example through our dedicated pick-up shelving, order-ahead drive-thru windows and third-party delivery; improving efficiencies and unit level margins by simplifying operations and introducing new technology and equipment, such as steamers; enhancing our menu structure and layout, including the implementation of digital menu boards; and improving manager selection, training and development of our teams. However, customers may not favor new menu offerings or may not find initiatives aimed at off-premise dining appealing, and our efforts to increase our sales growth and improve our offerings may be unsuccessful. Additionally, our operational initiatives may be ineffective at reducing costs or may reduce the quality of the customer experience. Any failure of our new initiatives could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.
Further, we have had, and expect to continue to have, initiatives in various stages of testing, evaluation and implementation, upon which we expect to rely to improve our results of operations and financial condition. Failure to achieve successful implementation of our initiatives could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.
We believe our culture, from the restaurant level up through management, is an important contributor to our success. As time passes, however, we may have difficulty maintaining our culture or adapting it sufficiently to meet the needs of our business. Among other important factors, our culture depends on our ability to attract, retain and motivate employees who share our enthusiasm and dedication to our concept. Our comparable restaurant sales, and more broadly, our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows, could be materially adversely affected if we do not maintain our infrastructure and culture.
Our strategic and operational goals are designed to improve our results of operations, including restaurant revenue and profitability. The level of comparable restaurant sales, which represent the change in year-over-year sales for restaurants open for at least 18 full periods, affects our restaurant revenue growth and will continue to be a critical factor affecting profitability. Our ability to increase comparable restaurant sales depends in part on our ability to successfully implement our initiatives. It is possible that such initiatives will not be successful, that we will not achieve our target comparable restaurant sales growth or that the change in comparable restaurant sales could be negative, which may cause a decrease in restaurant revenue and profitability that could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.
Changes in economic conditions, including higher inflationary pressures and increased interest rates, may reduce customer demand and increase our costs.
Our business, and the restaurant industry in general, depends on consumer discretionary spending. Changes in market conditions, including negative economic conditions resulting from inflation, increased interest rates, recessionary economic cycles, stock market volatility, war, terrorist activities, global economic occurrences or trends or other geo-political events, may result in decreased consumer confidence, increased cost of consumer credit and ultimately reduced consumer disposable income. In turn, consumers may make changes to their discretionary spending behavior in a way that negatively affects our business, including dining out less frequently, reducing the amount they spend while dining out, or choosing to eat at other lower priced restaurants. Additionally, these changes in market conditions may impact our development pipeline, including the availability of new sites, increased construction costs and availability of contract labor.
Changes in economic conditions, particularly with respect to inflationary pressures, may result in increased interest rates, labor shortages, and supply chain disruptions. These inflationary pressures may also increase our costs including our labor and raw material costs, utilities, and our cost of borrowing, and we may not be able to fully offset such higher costs through price increases. For example, in 2022, the cost of several of our food ingredients increased as a result of inflation in many commodities, particularly our cost of chicken. To mitigate this increase, we implemented a temporary chicken-price surcharge of $1.00 for several months while chicken was at its peak of the commodity cycle.
If customer demand were to decrease or our costs were to increase without a corresponding increase in our prices, our profitability would decline. Moreover, as a result of such economic conditions, we may record additional asset impairment charges, implement additional restaurant closures, or slow our planned growth. Any of these economic factors may materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.
Competition from other restaurant companies could adversely affect us.
We face competition from the casual dining, fast-casual and quick-service segments of the restaurant industry. These segments are highly competitive with respect to taste, price, food quality and presentation, service, location and the ambiance and condition of each restaurant, among other things. Our competition includes a variety of locally owned restaurants and national and regional chains who offer dine-in, carry-out and delivery services. Many of our competitors have existed longer and have a more established market presence with substantially greater financial, marketing, personnel and other resources than we have. Among our competitors are a number of multi-unit, multi-market fast-casual restaurant concepts, some of which are expanding nationally. We continually face competition from these concepts and new competitors that strive to compete with our market segments. For example, additional competitive pressures come from the deli sections and in-store cafés of grocery store chains, as well as from convenience stores and online meal preparation sites. These competitors may have, among other things, lower operating costs, food offerings more responsive to consumer preferences, better locations and facilities, more experienced management, more effective marketing and more efficient operations.
Several of our competitors compete by offering menu items that are specifically identified as low in carbohydrates, gluten-free, or rich in protein. In addition, many of our competitors emphasize lower-cost value options or meal packages, or strategies we do not currently pursue. Any of these competitive factors may materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.
Our marketing programs may not be successful.
We incur costs and expend other resources in our marketing efforts to attract and retain customers. These initiatives may not be successful, resulting in expenses incurred without the benefit of higher revenues. Additionally, many of our competitors have more marketing resources and we may not be able to successfully compete. If our competitors increase spending on marketing, or if our marketing funds decrease for any reason, or if our advertising and promotions are less effective than those of our competitors, our financial performance could be materially affected.
Many of our competitors are devoting increased resources to their social media marketing programs. Social media can be challenging because it reaches a broad audience with an ability to respond or react, in near real time. In addition, social media can facilitate the improper disclosure of proprietary information, personally identifiable information, or inaccurate information. As a result, if we do not appropriately manage our social media strategies, our marketing efforts in this area may not be successful and could damage our reputation, negatively impacting our restaurant sales and financial performance.
Negative publicity relating to one or more of our restaurants, including our franchised restaurants, could reduce sales at some or all of our other restaurants.
Our success is dependent in part upon our ability to maintain and enhance the value of our brand, consumers’ connection to our brand and positive relationships with our franchisees. We may be faced with negative publicity relating to food quality, restaurant facilities, customer complaints or litigation alleging illness or injury, health inspection scores, integrity of our or our suppliers’ food processing, employee relationships or other matters, regardless of whether the allegations are valid or whether we are held to be responsible. The negative impact of adverse publicity relating to one restaurant may extend far beyond the restaurant or franchise involved to affect some or all of our other restaurants. The risk of negative publicity is particularly great with respect to our franchised restaurants because we are limited in the manner in which we can regulate them, especially on a real-time basis. Negative publicity generated by such incidents may be amplified by the use of social media. A similar risk exists with respect to unrelated food service businesses, if consumers associate those businesses with our own operations or are concerned with the food safety of the broader restaurant industry.
Additionally, employee claims against us based on, among other things, wage and hour violations, discrimination, harassment or wrongful termination may also create negative publicity that could materially adversely affect us and divert our financial and management resources that would otherwise be used to benefit the future performance of our operations. A significant increase in the number of these claims or an increase in the number or scope of successful claims could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows. Consumer demand for our products and our brand’s value could diminish significantly if any such incidents or other matters create negative publicity or otherwise erode consumer confidence in us or our products, or in the restaurant industry as a whole, which would likely result in lower sales and could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.
Food safety and foodborne illness concerns could have an adverse effect on our business.
We cannot guarantee that our internal controls and training will be fully effective in preventing all food safety issues at our restaurants, including any occurrences of foodborne illnesses such as E. coli, Hepatitis A, listeria, norovirus and salmonella. The risk of illnesses associated with our food might also increase in connection with the expansion of our catering and delivery businesses or other situations in which our food is served or delivered in conditions that we cannot control. Furthermore, we and our franchisees rely on third-party vendors throughout our supply chain, making it difficult to monitor food safety compliance and increasing the risk that foodborne illness would affect multiple locations rather than a single restaurant. Some foodborne illness incidents could be caused by third-party vendors and transporters outside of our control. New illnesses resistant to our current precautions may develop in the future, or diseases with long incubation periods could arise, that could give rise to claims or allegations on a retroactive basis. One or more instances of foodborne illness in any of our restaurants or markets or related to food products we sell could negatively affect our restaurant sales nationwide if highly publicized on national media outlets or through social media. This risk exists even if it were later determined that the illness was wrongly attributed to us or one of our restaurants.
A number of other restaurant chains have experienced incidents related to foodborne illnesses that have had a material adverse effect on their operations, including E. coli, listeria and norovirus outbreaks at other fast-casual concepts. These incidents at other restaurants could cause some customers to have a negative perception of fast-casual concepts generally, which can negatively affect our restaurants. The occurrence of a similar incident at one or more of our restaurants, or negative publicity or public speculation about an incident, could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.
Adverse weather conditions could affect our sales.
Adverse weather conditions, such as regional winter storms, floods and hurricanes, and any changes associated with global climate change could affect our sales at restaurants in locations that experience these weather conditions, which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows. It is possible that weather conditions may impact our business more than other businesses in our industry because of the significant concentration of our restaurants in the Upper Midwest, Rocky Mountain and Mid-Atlantic states.
We are subject to risks associated with long-term non-cancellable leases and the costs of exiting leases at restaurants we have closed or may close in the future may be greater than we estimate or could be greater than the funds we raise to address closure costs.
We do not own any real property. Payments under our operating leases account for a significant portion of our operating expenses and we expect the new restaurants we open in the future will similarly be leased. Our leases generally have an initial term of ten years and generally can be extended only in five-year increments (at increased rates). All of our leases require a fixed annual rent, although some require the payment of additional rent if restaurant sales exceed a negotiated amount. Generally, our leases are “net” leases, which require us to pay all of the cost of insurance, taxes, maintenance and utilities. We generally cannot cancel these leases. Additional sites that we lease are likely to be subject to similar long-term non-cancelable leases. In connection with closing restaurants, we may nonetheless be committed to perform our obligations under the applicable lease including, among other things, paying the base rent for the balance of the lease term. In addition, as each of our leases expires, we may fail to negotiate renewals, either on commercially acceptable terms or at all, which could cause us to pay increased occupancy costs or to close restaurants in desirable locations.
Opening and operating new restaurants entails numerous risks and uncertainties.
One element of our operational strategy is the opening of new restaurants and operating those restaurants on a profitable basis. In 2022, we opened sixteen company-owned restaurants and closed five company-owned restaurants. Our franchisees opened three restaurants and closed one restaurant. We plan to develop a pipeline to support an annual unit growth rate of approximately 7% in 2023, with 7 to 10% unit growth thereafter.
Opening new restaurants presents numerous risks and uncertainties. We may not be able to open new restaurants as quickly as planned. In the past, we have experienced delays in opening some restaurants. For example, in the second half of 2022, several new restaurants were delayed as a result of material adverse weather and permitting delays. Delays or failures in opening new restaurants could occur in the future and could materially adversely affect our business strategy and our expected results.
Our ability to open new restaurants also depends on other factors, including: site selection; negotiating leases with acceptable terms; identifying, hiring and training qualified employees; the state of the labor market in each local market; timely delivery of leased premises to use; managing construction and development costs; avoiding the impact of inclement weather, natural disasters and other calamities; obtaining construction materials and labor at acceptable costs; securing required governmental approvals, permits and licenses; and accessing sufficient capital.
We anticipate our new restaurants may be smaller in terms of square footage and seating than our current restaurants, in accordance with our increased focus on off-premise dining opportunities. We expect that most of our new restaurants will ultimately incorporate order-ahead, drive-thru windows. Customers may react negatively to these features and our re-designed, smaller stores, which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.
Our long-term success is partially dependent on our ability to effectively identify appropriate target markets and secure appropriate sites for new restaurants.
In order to build new restaurants, we must first identify target markets where we can expand our footprint, taking into account numerous factors, including the location of our current restaurants, local economic trends, population density, area demographics and geography. The selection of target markets for expansion is challenging. We also must locate and secure appropriate sites for new restaurants, which is one of our biggest challenges. There are numerous factors involved in identifying and securing an appropriate site, including, among others: identification and availability of locations; competition; financial conditions affecting developers and potential landlords; developers and potential landlords obtaining licenses or permits for development projects on a timely basis; proximity of potential development sites to an existing location; anticipated development near our new restaurants; and availability of acceptable lease arrangements. If we are unable to fully implement our development plan, our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows could be materially adversely affected.
New restaurants, once opened, may not be profitable.
New restaurants may not be profitable, their sales performance may not follow historical patterns. or our average restaurant sales and comparable restaurant sales may underperform our expectations. In addition, the construction costs supporting the new restaurant opening may be higher than historical averages, placing a higher profitability threshold to generate an attractive cash-on-cash return. Our ability to operate new restaurants profitably, maintain an attractive cash-on-cash return, and increase average restaurant sales and comparable restaurant sales will depend on many factors, some of which are beyond our control, including: consumer awareness, understanding and support of our brand; general economic conditions, construction cost inflation, local labor costs and availability and prices we pay for the food products and other supplies we use; changes in consumer preferences; competition; temporary and permanent site characteristics of new restaurants; and changes in government regulation.
If our new restaurants do not perform as planned, our business and future prospects could be harmed. In addition, if we are unable to achieve our expected average restaurant sales, our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows could be materially adversely affected.
Opening new restaurants in existing markets may negatively affect sales at our existing restaurants.
The consumer target area of our restaurants varies by location, depending on a number of factors, including population density, other local retail and business attractions, area demographics and geography. As a result, opening a new restaurant in or near markets in which we already have restaurants could materially adversely affect the sales of these existing restaurants. Existing restaurants could also make it more difficult to build our consumer base for a new restaurant in the same market. Our core business strategy does not entail opening new restaurants that we believe will materially affect sales at our existing restaurants, but we may selectively open new restaurants in and around areas of existing restaurants that are operating at or near capacity to effectively serve our customers. Sales cannibalization between our restaurants may become significant in the future as we continue to expand our operations and could affect our sales growth, which could, in turn, materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.
Risks Related to Our Employees, Executives and Franchisees
Our business could be adversely affected by difficulties in hiring and retaining top-performing employees.
Our success depends on the efforts of our employees and our ability to hire, motivate and retain qualified employees. Conditions during the novel coronavirus pandemic (the “COVID-19 Pandemic”) have exacerbated the difficulty of successfully hiring and retaining quality employees. In addition, during 2022, we experienced a higher level of turnover driven by a more competitive labor market and wage inflation, which had an impact on our ability to hire qualified employees. We have taken strategic steps to improve the retention of our labor force, which has improved sequentially since peak levels in mid-2022. There may be a small supply of qualified individuals in some of the communities in which we operate, and competition in these communities for qualified individuals could require us to pay higher wages and provide greater benefits. We devote significant resources to training our employees and strive to reduce turnover in order to keep top performing employees and better realize our investment in training new employees. However, turnover among our restaurant employees may increase. Failure to hire and retain top-performing employees could impact our financial performance by increasing our training and labor costs and reducing the quality of our customers’ experiences.
A failure to recruit, develop and retain effective leaders or the loss or shortage of personnel with key capacities and skills could impact our strategic growth plans and jeopardize our ability to meet our business performance expectations and growth targets.
Our ability to continue to grow our business depends substantially on the contributions and abilities of our executive leadership team and other key management personnel. Changes in senior management could expose us to significant changes in strategic direction and initiatives. A failure to maintain appropriate organizational capacity and capability to support our strategic initiatives or to build adequate bench strength with key skill sets required for seamless succession of leadership, could jeopardize our ability to meet our business performance expectations and growth targets. If we are unable to attract, develop, retain and incentivize sufficiently experienced and capable management personnel, our business and financial results may suffer.
If we or our franchisees face labor shortages or increased labor costs, our operating results could be adversely affected.
Labor is a primary component in the cost of operating our restaurants and our success depends in part upon our and our franchisees’ ability to control labor costs and attract, motivate and retain a sufficient number of well-qualified restaurant operators and management personnel, as well as a sufficient number of other qualified employees. Qualified individuals needed to fill these positions has been and may continue to be in short supply in some geographic areas. In addition, restaurants have traditionally experienced relatively high employee turnover rates relative to other industries. If we encounter labor shortages, we have and may continue to be forced to temporarily close restaurants or reduce store hours, which could result in reduced revenue. In addition, failure to recruit and retain qualified individuals has and may continue to delay the planned openings of new restaurants. If we increased labor costs, whether because of increased competition for employees, higher employee turnover rates, increases in the federal, state or local minimum wage or other employee benefits costs (including costs associated with workers’ compensation and health insurance coverage), our operating expenses could increase. In addition, the implementation of our GM equity program to improve retention levels is expected to increase our stock-based compensation expense during 2023 and beyond.
We may be unable to increase our menu prices in order to pass these increased labor costs on to consumers, in which case our margins would be negatively affected, which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows. We have taken strategic steps to attempt to make our restaurant operations more labor-efficient, including reconfigured restaurant operations, increased off-premise offerings, and new technology and equipment, but in certain instances these may require initial investment costs and there can be no assurances that these strategies will succeed.
We may not be successful in executing our franchise strategy.
To the extent we are able to identify franchisees for the franchising of existing restaurants or the development of new restaurants, our success is dependent on the performance of our franchisees in successfully operating the restaurants. Our franchisees may not achieve financial and operational objectives, and they may close existing restaurants due to underperformance or they may ultimately be unsuccessful in developing new restaurants. We may also not be able to manage our franchise system effectively. Failure to provide our franchisees with adequate support and resources could materially adversely affect these franchisees, as well as cause disputes between us and them and potentially lead to material liabilities.
Franchisees’ new unit growth is dependent in part upon borrowing incremental capital to develop new units. Given the present inflationary environment, particularly higher interest rates and cost of borrowings, in addition to construction cost inflation, prospective franchises may face high financing costs and move more deliberately than our expectations, as was the case in 2022.
We rely in part on our franchisees, and if our franchisees cannot develop or finance new restaurants, build them on suitable sites or open them on schedule, our success may be affected.
We rely in part on our franchisees and the manner in which they operate their locations to develop and promote our business. Although we have developed criteria to evaluate and screen prospective franchisees, we cannot be certain that our franchisees will have the business acumen or financial resources necessary to operate successful franchises in their franchise areas and state franchise laws may limit our ability to terminate or modify these franchise arrangements. Moreover, despite our training, support and monitoring, franchisees may not successfully operate restaurants in a manner consistent with our standards and requirements or may not hire and train qualified managers and other restaurant personnel. The failure of our franchisees to operate their franchises successfully could have a material adverse effect on us, our reputation, our brand and our ability to attract prospective franchisees and could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.
Franchisees may not have access to the financial or management resources that they need to open the restaurants contemplated by their agreements with us or be able to find suitable sites on which to develop them, or they may elect to cease development for other reasons. Franchisees may not be able to negotiate an acceptable lease or purchase terms for the sites, obtain the necessary permits and government approvals or meet construction schedules. Given the present inflationary environment, prospective franchises may face high financing costs to develop new restaurants and may move more deliberately than our expectations, as was the case in 2022. Any of these problems could reduce our franchise revenues.
Risks Related to Our Supply Chain and Technology
We rely heavily on information technology, and any material failure, weakness, interruption or breach of security could prevent us from effectively operating our business.
We rely heavily on information systems, including point-of-sale processing in our restaurants, for management of our supply chain, payment of obligations, collection of cash, credit and debit card transactions and other processes and procedures. We also rely on third-party vendors to provide information technology systems and to securely process and store related information, especially as it relates to credit and debit card transactions and online ordering. Our franchisees also rely on information systems and third-party vendors. Our ability to efficiently and effectively manage our business depends significantly on the reliability and capacity of these systems. Our operations depend upon our and our franchisees’, and our vendors’, ability to protect computer equipment and systems against damage from physical theft, fire, power loss, telecommunications failure or other catastrophic events, as well as from internal and external security breaches, viruses and other disruptive problems. Avoiding such incidents in the future will require us and our franchisees and vendors to continue to enhance information systems, procedures and controls and to hire, train and retain employees. The failure of these systems to operate effectively, maintenance problems, upgrading or transitioning to new platforms, or a breach in security of these systems could result in delays in customer service and reduce efficiency in our operations. Remediation of such problems could result in significant, unplanned capital investments and harm our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.
We may be harmed by breaches of security of information technology systems or our confidential consumer, employee, financial, or other proprietary data.
We use many information technology systems throughout our operations, including systems that record and process customer sales, manage human resources and generate accounting and financial reports. For example, our restaurants use computerized management information systems, including point-of-sale computers that process customer credit card, debit card and gift card payments, and in-restaurant back office computer systems designed to assist in the management of our restaurants and provide labor and food cost management tools. Our franchisees use similar point of sale systems and are required to report business and operational data through an online reporting network. Through these systems, we have access to and store a variety of consumer, employee, financial and other types of information related to our business. We also rely on third-party vendors to provide information technology systems and to securely process and store related information. Our franchisees also use information technology systems and rely on third-party vendors. If our technology systems, or those of third-party vendors we or our franchisees rely upon, are compromised as a result of a cyber-attack (including from circumvention of security systems, denial-of-service attacks, hacking, “phishing” attacks, computer viruses, ransomware, malware, or social engineering) or other external or internal methods, it could materially adversely affect our reputation, business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.
The cyber risks we face range from cyber-attacks common to most industries to attacks that target us due to the confidential consumer information we obtain through our electronic processing of credit and debit card transactions. Like others in our industry, we have experienced many attempts to compromise our information technology and data, including a successful attempt in 2016 that we have discussed in previous filings, and we may experience more attempts in the future. In addition to property and casualty insurance, which may cover restoration of data, certain physical damage or third-party injuries, we have cybersecurity insurance related to a breach event. However, damage and claims arising from such incidents may not be covered or may exceed the amount of any available insurance.
Because cyber-attacks take many forms, change frequently, are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and may be difficult to detect for significant periods of time, we may not be able to respond adequately or timely to future cyber-attacks. If we or our franchisees, or third-party vendors, were to experience a material breach resulting in the unauthorized access, use, or destruction of our information technology systems or confidential consumer, employee, financial, or other proprietary data, it could negatively impact our reputation, reduce our ability to attract and retain customers and employees and disrupt the implementation and execution of our strategic goals. Moreover, such breaches could result in a violation of various privacy-related laws, including the California Consumer Privacy Act, and subject us to investigations or private litigation, which, in turn, could expose us to civil or criminal liability, fines and penalties imposed by state and federal regulators, claims for purportedly fraudulent transactions arising out of the actual or alleged theft of credit or debit card information, compromised security and information systems, failure of our employees to comply with applicable laws, the unauthorized acquisition or use of such information by third parties, or other similar claims, and various costs associated with such matters.
We rely heavily on certain vendors, suppliers and distributors, which could adversely affect our business.
Our ability to maintain consistent price, quality and safety throughout our restaurants depends in part upon our ability to acquire specified food products and supplies in sufficient quantities from third-party vendors, suppliers and distributors at a reasonable cost. We do not control the businesses of our vendors, suppliers and distributors and our efforts to specify and monitor the standards under which they perform may not be successful. Furthermore, certain food items are perishable, and we have limited control over whether these items will be delivered to us in appropriate condition for use in our restaurants. If any of our distributors or suppliers perform inadequately, or our distribution or supply relationships are disrupted for any reason, our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows could be materially adversely affected. If we cannot replace or engage distributors or suppliers who meet our specifications in a short period of time, including any suppliers who are a sole source of supply of a particular ingredient, that could increase our expenses and cause shortages of food and other items at our restaurants, which could cause a restaurant to remove items from its menu. If that were to happen, affected restaurants could experience significant reductions in sales during the shortage or thereafter, especially if customers change their dining habits as a result. Our focus on a limited menu would make the consequences of a shortage of a key ingredient more severe. In addition, because we provide moderately priced food, we may choose not to, or may be unable to, pass along commodity price increases to consumers. These potential changes in food and supply costs could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.
During 2022, certain vendors experienced staffing pressures and raw material availability that impacted their ability to supply and distribute our food ingredients in a timely and cost-effective manner. Despite the disruption within our vendor base, we did not experience a significant impact in our ability to supply the necessary food ingredients to our restaurants. However, several food ingredients, including chicken, experienced significant inflation predominantly in the second and third quarters of 2022, resulting in higher cost of food. During the fourth quarter of 2022, we saw material market improvement in chicken and other food ingredients, which allowed us to realize improvement in our cost of goods sold and enter into fixed-based pricing agreements fiscal 2023.
In addition, we use various third-party vendors to provide, support and maintain most of our management information systems. We also outsource certain accounting, payroll and human resource functions to business process service providers. The failure of such vendors to fulfill their obligations could disrupt our operations. Additionally, any changes we may make to the services we obtain from our vendors, or new vendors we employ, may disrupt our operations. These disruptions could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.
We also partner with various third-party vendors to deliver our food. If any of our delivery vendors perform inadequately, or our delivery relationships are disrupted for any reason, our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows could be materially adversely affected.
Our ability to continue to expand our digital business, delivery orders and catering is uncertain, and these business lines are subject to risks.
Our revenue from digital orders increased significantly during 2020, especially in response to changing customer habits resulting from the COVID-19 Pandemic. Digital orders as a percentage of total revenue have remained fairly consistent at over 50% through 2022. In response to this trend, we have promoted our digital business through our rewards program, partnered with third-party delivery companies and are developing new-store concepts with reduced indoor-seating, pick-up shelves, and order-ahead drive-thru windows. However, this growth rate may not be sustainable, or our digital business may decline, especially as safety concerns regarding the COVID-19 Pandemic have lessened and consumer preferences may eventually shift back to in-person dining. If our digital business does not continue to expand it may be difficult for us to achieve our planned sales growth and utilize our digital-order focused assets.
We rely on third-party providers to fulfill delivery orders, and the ordering and payment platforms used by these third parties, or our mobile app or online ordering system, could be damaged or interrupted by technological failures, user errors, cyber-attacks or other factors, which may materially adversely impact our sales through these channels and could negatively impact our brand. Additionally, our delivery partners are responsible for order fulfillment and may make errors or fail to make timely deliveries, leading to customer disappointment that may negatively impact our brand. We also incur additional costs associated with using third-party service providers to fulfill these digital orders and the costs of delivery may have a material adverse impact on restaurant level margins. Moreover, the third-party restaurant delivery business is intensely competitive, with a number of players competing for market share, online traffic, capital, and delivery drivers and other people resources. The third-party delivery
services with which we work may struggle to compete effectively, and if they were to cease or curtail operations, or fail to provide timely delivery services in a cost-effective manner, or if they give greater priority on their platforms to our competitors, our delivery business may be negatively impacted. We have also introduced catering offerings on both a pick-up and delivery basis, and customers may choose our competitors’ catering offerings over ours, be disappointed with their experience with our catering, or experience food safety problems if they do not serve our food in a safe manner, which may negatively impact us. Such delivery and catering offerings also increase the risk of illnesses associated with our food because the food is transported and/or served by third parties in conditions we cannot control.
Changes in food and supply costs could adversely affect our results of operations.
Our profitability depends in part on our ability to anticipate and react to changes in food and supply costs. Shortages or interruptions in the availability of certain supplies caused by seasonal fluctuations, unanticipated demand, problems in production or distribution, food contamination, product recalls, government regulations, inclement weather or other conditions could materially adversely affect the availability, quality and cost of our ingredients, which could harm our operations. Weather related issues, such as freezes, heavy rains or drought, may also lead to temporary spikes in the prices of some ingredients such as produce or meats. Increasing weather volatility or other long-term changes in global weather patterns, including any changes associated with global climate change, could have a significant impact on the price, availability and timing of delivery of some of our ingredients. In addition, at certain times of the year a substantial volume of our produce items is imported from Mexico and other countries. Any new or increased import duties, tariffs or taxes, or other changes in U.S. trade or tax policy, could result in higher food and supply costs. Any increase in the prices of the food products most critical to our menu, such as pasta, beef, chicken, wheat flour, cheese and other dairy products, tofu and vegetables, could materially adversely affect our operating results.
In 2022, the cost of several of our food ingredients increased as a result of inflation in many commodities, particularly chicken. As a result, specifically for our chicken purchases, we entered into temporary formula pricing contracts with our vendors and were susceptible to fluctuations in the commodities markets. If food inflation in the chicken market or any other food ingredient persists, our financial condition and business operations could be more severely impacted.
Our inability or failure to recognize, respond to and effectively manage the accelerated impact of social media could have an adverse effect on our business.
There has been a widespread and dramatic increase in the use of social media platforms that allow users to access a broad audience of consumers and other interested persons. The availability of information on social media can be virtually immediate, as can its impact, and users of many social media platforms can post information without filters or checks on the accuracy of the content posted. Adverse information concerning our restaurants or brand, including user reviews, whether accurate or inaccurate, may be posted on such platforms at any time and can quickly reach a wide audience. The resulting harm to our reputation may be immediate, without affording us an opportunity to correct or otherwise respond to the information, and it is challenging to monitor and anticipate developments on social media in order to respond in an effective and timely manner.
In addition, although search engine marketing, social media and other new technological platforms offer great opportunities to increase awareness of and engagement with our restaurants and brand, our failure to use social media effectively in our marketing efforts may further expose us to the risks associated with the accelerated impact of social media. Many of our competitors are expanding their use of social media and the social media landscape is rapidly evolving, potentially making more traditional social media platforms obsolete. As a result, we need to continuously innovate and develop our social media strategies in order to maintain broad appeal with guests and brand relevance, and we may not do so effectively. A variety of additional risks associated with our use of social media include the possibility of improper disclosure of proprietary information, exposure of personally identifiable information of our employees or guests, fraud, or the publication of out-of-date information, any of which may result in material liabilities or reputational damage. Furthermore, any inappropriate use of social media platforms by our employees could also result in negative publicity that could materially damage our reputation or lead to litigation that materially increases our costs.
New technologies or changes in consumer behavior facilitated by these technologies could negatively affect our business.
Advances in technologies or certain changes in consumer behavior driven by such technologies could impact the manner in which meals are marketed, prepared, ordered and delivered. We may pursue certain of those technologies, but consumers may not accept them, or we may fail to successfully integrate them into our operations, thereby harming our financial performance. In addition, our competitors, some of whom have more resources than us, may be more effective at responding to such advances in technologies and erode our competitive position.
Legal, Accounting, and Regulatory Risks
Changes to estimates related to our property, fixtures and equipment or operating results that are lower than our current estimates at certain restaurant locations may cause us to incur impairment charges on certain long-lived assets, which may materially adversely affect our results of operations.
In accordance with accounting guidance as it relates to the impairment of long-lived assets, we make certain estimates and projections with regard to individual restaurant operations, as well as our overall performance, in connection with our impairment analyses for long-lived assets. When impairment triggers are deemed to exist for any location, the estimated undiscounted future cash flows are compared to its carrying value. If the carrying value exceeds the undiscounted cash flows, an impairment charge equal to the difference between the carrying value and the fair value is recorded. The projections of future cash flows used in these analyses require the use of judgment and a number of estimates and projections of future operating results. If actual results differ from our estimates, additional charges for asset impairments may be required in the future. Over the past several years we have recognized significant impairment charges and if future impairment charges continue to be significant, this could have a material adverse effect on our business or results of operations.
Failure of our internal control over financial reporting could adversely affect our business and financial results.
Our management is responsible for establishing and maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting under Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Internal control over financial reporting is a process to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting for external purposes in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“GAAP”). Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting is not intended to provide absolute assurance that we would prevent or detect a material misstatement of our financial statements or fraud. Any failure to maintain an effective system of internal control over financial reporting could limit our ability to report our financial results accurately and timely or to detect and prevent fraud. The identification of a material weakness could indicate a lack of controls adequate to generate accurate financial statements that, in turn, could cause a loss of investor confidence and decline in the market price of our common stock. We may not be able to timely remediate any material weaknesses that may be identified in future periods or maintain all of the controls necessary for continued compliance. Likewise, we cannot assure you that we will be able to retain sufficient skilled finance and accounting personnel, especially in light of the increased demand for such personnel among publicly traded companies.
Governmental regulation may adversely affect our ability to open new restaurants or otherwise adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.
We are subject to various federal, state and local regulations, including those relating to building and zoning requirements and those relating to the preparation and sale of food. Our restaurants are also subject to state and local licensing and regulation by health, sanitation, food and occupational safety and other agencies. We may experience material difficulties or failures in obtaining the necessary licenses, approvals or permits for our restaurants, which could delay planned restaurant openings or affect the operations at our existing restaurants. In addition, stringent and varied requirements of local regulators with respect to zoning, land use and environmental factors could delay or prevent development of new restaurants in particular locations. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, there could be additional governmental regulations that arise that could impact our business.
We are subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act and similar state laws that give civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities in the context of employment, public accommodations and other areas, including our restaurants. We may in the future have to modify restaurants, for example, by adding access ramps or redesigning certain architectural fixtures, to provide service to or make reasonable accommodations for disabled persons. The expenses associated with these modifications could be material.
Our operations are also subject to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Act, which governs worker health and safety, the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act, which governs such matters as minimum wages and overtime and a variety of similar federal, state and local laws that govern these and other employment law matters. In addition, federal, state and local proposals have been made related to paid sick leave and similar matters. Changes in these laws or implementation of new proposals could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.
Changes in employment laws may adversely affect our business.
Various federal and state labor laws govern the relationship with our employees and affect operating costs. These laws include employee classification as exempt/non-exempt for overtime and other purposes, minimum wage requirements, unemployment tax rates, workers’ compensation rates, mandatory health benefits, immigration status and other wage and benefit requirements. Some jurisdictions, including some of those in which we operate, have recently increased their minimum wage by a significant amount, and other jurisdictions are considering similar actions, which may increase our labor costs. Significant additional government-imposed increases in the following areas could materially affect our business, financial condition, operating results or cash flow: overtime rules; mandatory health benefits; vacation accruals; paid leaves of absence, including paid sick leave; and tax reporting.
Immigration laws have recently been an area of considerable focus by the Department of Homeland Security, with enforcement operations taking place across the country, resulting in arrests, detentions and deportation of unauthorized workers. Some of these changes and enforcement programs may increase our obligations for compliance and oversight, which could subject us to additional costs and make our hiring process more cumbersome or reduce the availability of potential employees. Although we require all workers to provide us with government-specified documentation evidencing their employment eligibility, some of our employees may, without our knowledge, be unauthorized workers. Unauthorized workers are subject to deportation and may subject us to fines or penalties, and if any of our workers are found to be unauthorized we could experience adverse publicity that negatively impacts our brand and may make it more difficult to hire and keep qualified employees. Termination of a significant number of employees who were unauthorized employees may disrupt our operations, cause temporary increases in our labor costs as we train new employees and result in additional adverse publicity. We could also become subject to fines, penalties and other costs related to claims that we did not fully comply with all recordkeeping obligations of federal and state immigration compliance laws. These factors could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.
New information or attitudes regarding diet and health could result in changes in regulations and consumer consumption habits that could adversely affect our results of operations.
Regulations and consumer eating habits may change as a result of new information or attitudes regarding diet, health and safety. Such changes may include federal, state and local regulations and recommendations from medical and diet professionals pertaining to the ingredients and nutritional content of the food and beverages we offer. The success of our restaurant operations is dependent, in part, upon our ability to effectively respond to changes in any consumer health regulations and our ability to adapt our menu offerings to trends in food consumption. If consumer health regulations or consumer eating habits change significantly, we may choose or be required to modify or remove certain menu items, which may cause us to incur costs to implement those changes and may materially adversely affect the appeal of our menu to new or returning customers. To the extent we are unwilling or unable to respond with appropriate changes to our menu offerings, it could materially affect consumer demand and could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.
Government regulation and consumer eating habits may impact our business as a result of changes in attitudes regarding diet and health or new information regarding the adverse health effects of consuming certain menu offerings. As discussed in Part I, “Business-Governmental Regulation and Environmental Matters” of this 10-K, these changes have resulted in, and may continue to result in, laws and regulations requiring us to disclose the nutritional content of our food offerings, and they have resulted, and may continue to result in, laws and regulations affecting permissible ingredients and menu offerings. Inconsistencies among state laws with respect to presentation of nutritional content could be challenging for us to comply with in an efficient manner. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act also requires covered restaurants to provide to consumers, upon request, a written summary of detailed nutritional information for each standard menu item, and to provide a statement on menus and menu boards about the availability of this information upon request. An unfavorable report on, or reaction to, our menu ingredients, the size of our portions or the nutritional content of our menu items could negatively influence the demand for our offerings.
Compliance with current and future laws and regulations regarding the ingredients and nutritional content of our menu items may be costly and time-consuming. The risks and costs associated with nutritional disclosures on our menus could also impact our operations, particularly given differences among applicable legal requirements and practices within the restaurant industry with respect to testing and disclosure, ordinary variations in food preparation among our own restaurants and the need to rely on the accuracy and completeness of nutritional information obtained from third-party suppliers.
We may not be able to effectively respond to changes in consumer health and safety perceptions or to successfully implement the nutrient content disclosure requirements and adapt our menu offerings to trends in eating habits. The imposition of additional menu labeling laws could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows, as well as our position within the restaurant industry in general.
We may not be able to adequately protect our intellectual property, which could harm the value of our brand and could adversely affect our business.
Our intellectual property is material to the conduct of our business and our marketing efforts. Our ability to implement our business plan successfully depends in part on our ability to further build brand recognition using our trademarks, service marks, trade dress and other proprietary intellectual property, including our name and logos and the unique ambiance of our restaurants. While it is our policy to protect and defend vigorously our rights to our intellectual property, we cannot predict whether steps taken by us to protect our intellectual property rights will be adequate to prevent misappropriation of these rights or the use by others of restaurant features based upon, or otherwise similar to, our concept. It may be difficult for us to prevent others from copying elements of our concept and any litigation to enforce our rights will likely be costly and may not be successful. Although we believe that we have sufficient rights to all of our trademarks and service marks, we may face claims of infringement that could interfere with our ability to market our restaurants and promote our brand. Any such litigation may be costly and divert resources from our business. Moreover, if we are unable to successfully defend against such claims, we may be prevented from using our trademarks or service marks in the future, may be liable for damages and may have to change our marketing efforts, which in turn could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.
We could be party to litigation that could adversely affect us by distracting management, increasing our expenses or subjecting us to material money damages and other remedies.
Our customers occasionally file complaints or lawsuits against us alleging we caused an illness or injury they suffered at or after a visit to our restaurants, or that we have problems with food quality or operations. These kinds of complaints or lawsuits may be more common in a period in which the public is focused on health safety issues, or may attract more attention due to publication on various social media outlets. We are also subject to a variety of other claims arising in the ordinary course of our business, including personal injury claims, contract claims and claims alleging violations of federal and state law regarding workplace and employment matters, equal opportunity, discrimination and similar matters and we could become subject to class action or other lawsuits related to these or different matters in the future. In addition, the restaurant industry has from time to time been subject to claims based on the nutritional content of food products sold and disclosure and advertising practices. We may also become subject to various employee and workplace litigation, including claims related to discrimination, harassment, workplace safety, medical and family leave, and wage-and-hour issues.
Regardless of whether any claims against us are valid, or whether we are ultimately held liable, claims may be expensive to defend and may divert time and money away from our operations and hurt our performance. A judgment in excess of our insurance coverage for any claims could materially adversely affect our financial condition or results of operations. Any adverse publicity resulting from these allegations, even if proven to be false, may also materially adversely affect our reputation or prospects, which in turn could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.
Risks Related to Our Common Stock and Debt Financing
Our quarterly operating results may fluctuate significantly and could fall below the expectations of securities analysts and investors due to seasonality and other factors, some of which are beyond our control, resulting in a decline in our stock price.
Our quarterly operating results may fluctuate significantly because of several factors, including but not limited to: increases and decreases in average unit volumes and comparable restaurant sales; profitability of our restaurants; labor availability and costs for hourly and management personnel; changes in interest rates; macroeconomic conditions, both nationally and locally; negative publicity relating to the consumption of products we serve; changes in consumer preferences and competitive conditions; impairment of long-lived assets and any loss on and exit costs associated with restaurant closures; expansion to new markets; the timing of new restaurant openings and related expense; restaurant operating costs for our newly-opened restaurants; increases in infrastructure costs; and fluctuations in commodity prices.
Seasonal factors, particularly weather disruptions, and the timing of holidays also cause our revenue to fluctuate from quarter to quarter. Our revenue per restaurant is typically lower in the first and fourth quarters due to reduced winter and holiday traffic and higher in the second and third quarters. As a result of these factors, our quarterly and annual operating results and comparable restaurant sales may fluctuate significantly. Accordingly, results for any one quarter are not necessarily indicative of results to be expected for any other quarter or for any year and comparable restaurant sales for any particular future period may decrease. In the future, operating results may fall below the expectations of securities analysts and investors. In that event, the price of our common stock would likely decrease.
Future sales of our common stock, or the perception that such sales may occur, could depress our common stock price.
Sales of a substantial number of shares of our common stock in the public market, or the perception that such sales may occur, could depress the market price of our common stock. Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation authorizes us to issue up to 180,000,000 shares of Class A common stock and Class B common stock. As of January 3, 2023, we have 46,040,427 outstanding shares of Class A common stock and no outstanding shares of Class B common stock. In addition, as of such date, approximately 3,016,279 shares of Class A common stock are issuable upon the exercise of outstanding stock options and the vesting of restricted stock units. Moreover, as of that date, approximately 2.0 million shares of our common stock are available for future grants under our stock incentive plan and for future purchase under our employee stock purchase plan.
Provisions in our organizational documents and Delaware law may delay or prevent our acquisition by a third party.
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, our second amended and restated bylaws and Delaware law each contain several provisions that may make it more difficult for a third party to acquire control of us without the approval of our Board of Directors. For example, we have a classified Board of Directors with three-year staggered terms, which could delay the ability of stockholders to change the membership of a majority of our Board of Directors. These provisions may make it more difficult or expensive for a third party to acquire a majority of our outstanding equity interests. These provisions also may delay, prevent or deter a merger, acquisition, tender offer, proxy contest or other transaction that might otherwise result in our stockholders receiving a premium over the market price for their common stock.
Our credit facility has a variable interest rate and increases in interest rates could increase the cost of servicing such debt.
Our Third Amended Credit Facility has a variable interest rate equal to the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”) plus a margin of 1.50% to 2.50% per annum, based upon the consolidated total lease-adjusted leverage ratio. Interest rates increased during 2022 and may continue to rise in the future due to inflation or other causes. As a result, the costs of servicing our variable interest rate debt have and could continue to increase even if the amount borrowed under such credit facility remains the same. Increased servicing costs could adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.
We may be unable to negotiate favorable borrowing terms, and any additional capital we may require could be senior to existing equity holders, dilute existing equity holders or include unfavorable restrictions.
As a general matter, operating and developing our business requires significant capital. Our credit agreement ends in 2027 and securing access to credit on reasonable terms thereafter will require us to extend or refinance such agreement. In addition, in order to pursue our business and operational strategies, we may need additional sources of liquidity in the future and it may be difficult or impossible at such time to increase our liquidity. Our lenders may not agree to amend our credit agreement at such time to increase our borrowing capacity. Further, our requirements for additional liquidity may coincide with periods during which we are not in compliance with covenants under our credit agreement and our lenders may not agree to further amend our credit agreement to accommodate such non-compliance. Even if we are able to access additional liquidity, agreements governing any borrowing arrangement could contain covenants restricting our operations. If we raise additional funds through future issuances of equity or convertible debt securities, our existing stockholders could suffer significant dilution, and any new equity securities we issue could have rights, preferences and privileges superior to those of holders of our common stock. Any debt financing we secure in the future could involve higher interest rates, especially given the current inflationary environment, and restrictive covenants relating to our capital-raising activities and other financial and operational matters, which might make it more difficult for us to obtain additional capital and to pursue business opportunities. Moreover, if we issue new debt securities, the debt holders would have rights senior to common stockholders to make claims on our assets. In addition, variable-rate borrowings under our Amended and Restated Credit Agreement, dated as of July 27, 2022, use the SOFR to determine the cost of borrowing, instead of the recently discontinued LIBOR. At this time, it is not possible to predict the effect the discontinuance of LIBOR, or the establishment of alternative reference rates such as SOFR, will have on us or our borrowing costs. SOFR is a relatively new reference rate and its composition and characteristics are not the same as LIBOR. Given SOFR’s very limited history and potential volatility as compared to other benchmark or market rates, the future performance of SOFR cannot be predicted based on historical performance. The consequences of using SOFR could include an increase in the cost of our variable rate indebtedness. The potential effect of any such event on our cost of capital cannot yet be determined, but we do not expect it to have a material impact on our consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.
Risks Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 Pandemic has adversely affected and could continue to adversely affect our financial results, operations and outlook for an extended period of time.
The COVID-19 Pandemic, and restrictions imposed by federal, state and local governments in response to the outbreak, have materially disrupted our business. Beginning in 2020, government-imposed restrictions required individuals located in many areas where we operate our restaurants to practice social distancing, wear face covering in our restaurants, self-quarantine for a specific duration if exposed to a confirmed positive individual, limit gathering in groups and/or “stay home” except for “essential” purposes. In response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, government restrictions and CDC guidance, we have in certain situations been required to temporarily close some of our restaurants, restrict the use of many of our dining rooms while still offering takeout and delivery, and/or implement modified work hours. The mobility restrictions, the impact on staffing levels at our restaurants and in some cases the availability and increase in cost for our vendors to supply food to our restaurants caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic have adversely affected and are expected to continue to adversely affect our financial condition or operating results. Even as the COVID-19 Pandemic has subsided, guests may still be reluctant to return to in-restaurant dining, our team members may leave the job market or restaurant industry and our suppliers may continue to face staffing or cost pressures.
ITEM 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
ITEM 2. Properties
As of January 3, 2023, we and our franchisees operated 461 restaurants in 31 states. Our restaurants are typically between 2,000 and 2,600 square feet and are located in a variety of suburban, collegiate and urban markets. We lease the property for our central support office and all of the properties on which we operate restaurants. The chart below shows the locations of our company-owned and franchised restaurants as of January 3, 2023.
|Arizona||6 ||— ||6 |
|California||— ||14 ||14 |
|Colorado||58 ||— ||58 |
|Connecticut||— ||5 ||5 |
|Florida||— ||6 ||6 |
|Idaho||6 ||— ||6 |
|Illinois||51 ||5 ||56 |
|Indiana||22 ||1 ||23 |
|Iowa||9 ||1 ||10 |
|Kansas||9 ||— ||9 |
|Kentucky||1 ||4 ||5 |
|Maryland||22 ||— ||22 |
|Michigan||— ||23 ||23 |
|Minnesota||45 ||1 ||46 |
|Missouri||3 ||7 ||10 |
|Montana||— ||2 ||2 |
|Nebraska||— ||5 ||5 |
|Nevada||1 ||— ||1 |
|New York||2 ||— ||2 |
|North Carolina||8 ||4 ||12 |
|North Dakota||— ||5 ||5 |
|Ohio||18 ||— ||18 |
|Oregon||6 ||— ||6 |
|Pennsylvania||9 ||— ||9 |
|South Carolina||— ||1 ||1 |
|South Dakota||— ||2 ||2 |
|Tennessee||— ||4 ||4 |
|Utah||16 ||— ||16 |
|Virginia||25 ||— ||25 |
|Washington||2 ||— ||2 |
|Wisconsin||49 ||3 ||52 |
|368 ||93 ||461 |
We are obligated under non-cancelable leases for our restaurants and our central support office. Our restaurant leases generally have initial terms of 10 years with two or more five-year renewal options. Our restaurant leases may require us to pay a proportionate share of real estate taxes, insurance, common area maintenance charges and other operating costs.
ITEM 3. Legal Proceedings
In the normal course of business, the Company is subject to other proceedings, lawsuits and claims. Such matters are subject to many uncertainties, and outcomes are not predictable with assurance. Consequently, the Company is unable to ascertain the ultimate aggregate amount of monetary liability or financial impact with respect to these matters as of January 3, 2023. These matters could affect the operating results of any one financial reporting period when resolved in future periods. The Company believes that an unfavorable outcome with respect to these matters is remote or a potential range of loss is not material to its consolidated financial statements. Significant increases in the number of these claims, or one or more successful claims that result in greater liabilities than the Company currently anticipates, could materially and adversely affect its business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.
ITEM 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
ITEM 5. Market for the Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Our Class A common stock trades on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol NDLS. As of March 3, 2023, there were approximately 31 holders of record of our common stock. The number of holders of record is based upon the actual numbers of holders registered at such date and does not include holders of shares in “street name” or persons, partnerships, associates, corporations or other entities in security position listings maintained by depositories.
Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer
We had no share repurchases during the fourth quarter of 2022.
Sales of Unregistered Securities by the Issuer
We sold no unregistered securities that have not been previously included in a Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q or in a Current Report on Form 8-K.
No dividends have been declared or paid on our shares of common stock. We do not anticipate paying any cash dividends on any of our shares of common stock in the foreseeable future. We currently intend to retain any earnings to finance the development and expansion of our business. Any future determination to pay dividends will be at the discretion of our Board of Directors and will be dependent upon then-existing conditions, including our earnings, capital requirements, results of operations, financial condition, business prospects and other factors that our Board of Directors considers relevant. Further, our credit facility and warrants each contain provisions that limit our ability to pay dividends on our common stock. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and “Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence” for additional information regarding our financial condition.
ITEM 6. [Reserved]
ITEM 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
The following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and related notes included in Item 8. “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.” This section of the Form 10-K generally discusses 2022 and 2021 items and year-to-year comparisons of 2022 to 2021. Discussions of 2020 items and year-to-year comparisons of 2021 and 2020 that are not included in this Form 10-K can be found in “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in Part II, Item 7 on our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 28, 2021. In addition to historical information, this discussion and analysis contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Our actual results may differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of certain factors including, but not limited to, those discussed in Item 1A. “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this report.
We operate on a 52- or 53-week fiscal year ending on the Tuesday closest to December 31. Fiscal year 2022, which ended on January 3, 2023 contained 53 weeks. Fiscal 2021, which ended on December 28, 2021 contained 52 weeks. We refer to our fiscal years as 2022 and 2021. Our fiscal quarters each contained 13 operating weeks, with the exception of the fourth fiscal quarter of 2022 which contained 14 operating weeks.
Noodles & Company is a restaurant concept offering lunch and dinner within the fast-casual segment of the restaurant industry. We opened our first location in 1995, offering noodle and pasta dishes, staples of many different cuisines, with the goal of delivering fresh ingredients and flavors from around the world under one roof. Today, our globally-inspired menu includes a wide variety of high quality, cooked-to-order dishes, including noodles and pasta, soups, salads and appetizers. We believe we offer our customers value with per person spend of approximately $12.50 in 2022.
Recent Trends, Risks and Uncertainties
The COVID-19 Pandemic has adversely affected our historical operations and financial results. However, throughout 2022, the impacts to our operations, financial performance and cash flows have diminished materially. In addition, we remain in regular contact with our major suppliers and to date we have not experienced significant disruptions in our supply chain. If the COVID-19 Pandemic were to become more widespread or another pandemic were to occur, our business could be similarly impacted in the future, including business disruption, employee absences and changes in the availability or cost of labor.
Comparable Restaurant Sales. In fiscal 2022, system-wide comparable restaurant sales increased 5.6%, comprised of a 6.0% increase for company-owned restaurants and a 3.4% increase for franchise restaurants. These increases reflect continued strength across both digital and in-person channels, in addition to price increases in our core menu. During 2022, we implemented greater menu price increases relative to historical years as a result of meaningful inflation in our cost of food, wages and general restaurant expenses. In addition, we applied a pricing premium for third party delivery. If we continue to see inflationary pressures on our cost of operations, we may continue to further increase menu prices in the future. In addition, our revenue is highly dependent on our customers’ future willingness to order from restaurants given consumer inflationary pressures and potential recessionary market dynamics. Revenue has also been favorably impacted by recent restaurant openings not in the Company’s comparable restaurant base, many of which offer order ahead drive-thru pickup windows. Our new restaurants from the class of 2019 and 2020 which have reached maturity continue to perform as a group at the highest sales level of any class of new restaurants in the Company’s history.
Cost of Sales. We have incurred incremental costs of sales driven by historical and ongoing volatility in the commodity and food ingredients markets, particularly with our chicken products, in addition to an increase in packaging costs and distribution. We have seen a shortage in labor at some of our food suppliers, which in some cases has resulted in increased costs of food or transportation. However, throughout the third and fourth quarter of 2022, the commodity markets underlying our cost of food began to improve materially, particularly in regards to the price of chicken, the benefits of which we expect to realize in 2023 through fixed pricing contracts. Throughout these periods of volatility, we have continued to work with our suppliers for ongoing supply chain efficiencies, including managing food waste and adding additional suppliers as necessary. To date, there has been minimal disruption in maintaining adequate food supply, packaging and other ingredients to our restaurants, though it is possible that more significant disruptions could occur if volatility in the labor and commodity markets continue.
Labor Costs. Similar to much of the restaurant industry, our base labor costs have risen in recent years. In 2022, we experienced continued wage inflation as well as a reduction in labor availability in some of the markets where we operate in the earlier part of
2022, which in some cases resulted in temporary closures of our restaurants. We saw sustained improvement in the availability of labor in many of the markets where we operate in the second half of 2022. However, we continued to see wage inflation within the industry driven in part by high competition for restaurant workers. We were able to partially mitigate the impact of these market factors through a continued focus on our hiring process and retaining existing employees, in addition to maximizing efficiencies of labor hour usage per restaurant.
Other Restaurant Operating Costs. We have and expect to continue to incur additional third-party delivery fees resulting from a significant expansion of our use of third-party delivery services. In addition, during 2022 we experienced an increase in utility costs driven by volatility in the energy markets.
Restaurant Development. During 2022, we experienced select new restaurant development delays, including utility installations, permitting and inspection, and construction and labor challenges. While we anticipate these challenges will persist into 2023, we expect to incorporate increased unit development into our strategic growth plan for 2023 and beyond. We plan to develop a pipeline to support an annual unit system-wide growth rate of approximately 7.5% in 2023, with 7 to 10% unit growth thereafter.
In 2022, we opened sixteen company-owned restaurants and our franchisees opened three restaurants. As of January 3, 2023, we had 368 company-owned restaurants and 93 franchise restaurants in 31 states.
Certain Restaurant Closures. We closed five and twelve company-owned restaurants in 2022 and 2021, respectively, most of which were at or approaching the expiration of their leases. We currently do not anticipate significant restaurant closures for the foreseeable future; however, we may from time to time close certain restaurants, including closures at, or near, the expiration of their leases.
Impairment of Long-lived Assets. We impaired four restaurants in 2022 and six restaurants in 2021. In 2021, we recognized $0.5 million related to the write down of certain assets related to the Warner Sale that occurred in January of 2022.
Impairment is based on our current assessment of the expected future cash flows of various restaurants based on recent results and other specific market factors. Many of the impaired restaurants were opened in the last three to four years in newer markets where brand awareness of our restaurants was not as strong and where it had been more difficult to adequately staff our restaurants.
Key Measures We Use to Evaluate Our Performance
To evaluate the performance of our business, we utilize a variety of financial and performance measures. These key measures include revenue, comparable restaurant sales, average unit volumes (“AUVs”), EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA. EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA are non-GAAP financial measures.
Revenue includes both restaurant revenue and franchise royalties and fees. Restaurant revenue represents sales of food and beverages in company-owned restaurants. Several factors affect our restaurant revenue in any period, including the number of restaurants in operation and per-restaurant sales.
Franchise royalties and fees represent royalty income and initial franchise fees. While we expect that the majority of our revenue and net income growth will be driven by company-owned restaurants, our franchise restaurants remain an important factor impacting our revenue and financial performance.
Seasonal factors cause our revenue to fluctuate from quarter to quarter. Our revenue per restaurant is typically lower in the first and fourth quarters due to reduced winter and holiday traffic and is typically higher in the second and third quarters. As a result of these factors, as well as the periodic effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic, our quarterly and annual operating results and comparable restaurant sales may fluctuate.
Comparable Restaurant Sales
Comparable restaurant sales refer to year-over-year sales comparisons for the comparable restaurant base. We define the comparable restaurant base to include restaurants open for at least 18 full periods. As of the end of 2022, 2021 and 2020, there were 347, 359 and 368 restaurants, respectively, in our comparable restaurant base for company-owned locations. This measure
highlights performance of existing restaurants, as the impact of new restaurant openings is excluded. Restaurants that were temporarily closed or operating at reduced hours and dining capacity due to the COVID-19 Pandemic remained in comparable restaurant sales. Changes in comparable restaurant sales are generated by changes in traffic, which we calculate as the number of entrées sold, and changes in per-person spend, calculated as sales divided by traffic. Per-person spend can be influenced by changes in menu prices and the mix and number of items sold per person.
Measuring our comparable restaurant sales allows us to evaluate the performance of our existing restaurant base. Various factors impact comparable restaurant sales, including, but not limited to:
•consumer recognition of our brand and our ability to respond to changing consumer preferences;
•overall economic trends, particularly those related to consumer spending;
•our ability to operate restaurants effectively and efficiently to meet consumer expectations;
•the number of restaurant transactions, per-person spend and average check amount;
•marketing and promotional efforts;
•abnormal weather patterns;
•food safety and foodborne illness concerns;
•the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic;
•trade area dynamics;
•introduction of new and seasonal menu items and limited time offerings; and
•opening new restaurants in the vicinity of existing locations.
Consistent with common industry practice, we present comparable restaurant sales on a calendar-adjusted basis that aligns current year sales weeks with comparable periods in the prior year, regardless of whether they belong to the same fiscal period or not. Since opening new company-owned and franchise restaurants is a part of our long-term growth strategy and we anticipate new restaurants will be a component of our long-term revenue growth, comparable restaurant sales is only one measure of how we evaluate our performance.
Average Unit Volumes
AUVs consist of the average annualized sales of all company-owned restaurants for a given time period. AUVs are calculated by dividing restaurant revenue by the number of operating days within each time period and multiplying by the number of operating days we have in a typical year. Based on this calculation, temporarily closed restaurants are excluded from the definition of AUV, however restaurants with temporarily reduced operating hours are included. This measurement allows management to assess changes in consumer traffic and per person spending patterns at our restaurants. In addition to the factors that impact comparable restaurant sales, AUVs can be further impacted by effective real estate site selection and maturity and trends within new markets.
EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA
We define EBITDA as net income (loss) before net interest expense, provision (benefit) for income taxes and depreciation and amortization. We define adjusted EBITDA as net income (loss) before net interest expense, provision (benefit) for income taxes, depreciation and amortization, restaurant impairments, closure costs and asset disposals, fees and costs related to transactions and other acquisition/disposition costs and stock-based compensation.
We believe that EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA provide clear pictures of our operating results by eliminating certain non-recurring and non-cash expenses that may vary widely from period to period and are not reflective of the underlying business performance.
The presentation of EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA is not intended to be considered in isolation or as a substitute for, or to be superior to, the financial information prepared and presented in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“GAAP”). We use these non-GAAP financial measures for financial and operational decision making and as a means to evaluate period-to-period comparisons. We believe that they provide useful information to management and investors about operating results, enhance the overall understanding of past financial performance and future prospects and allow for greater transparency with respect to key metrics used by management in its financial and operational decision making.
The following table presents a reconciliation of net (loss) income to EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA:
| ||Fiscal Year|
| ||(in thousands)|
|Net (loss) income||$||(3,314)||$||3,665 |
|Depreciation and amortization||23,268 ||22,333 |
|Interest expense, net||2,445 ||2,082 |
|Provision for income taxes||37 ||70 |
|EBITDA||$||22,436 ||$||28,150 |
Restaurant impairments, closure costs and asset disposals (1)
|6,164 ||5,727 |
|Fees and costs related to transactions and other acquisition/disposition costs||70 ||— |
|Stock-based compensation expense||4,395 ||4,271 |
|Adjusted EBITDA||$||33,065 ||$||38,148 |
(1)Restaurant impairments and closure costs in all periods presented above include amounts related to restaurants previously impaired or closed. Additionally, 2022 and 2021 include closure costs of five and twelve restaurants, respectively. Fiscal years 2022 and 2021 had $1.4 million and $3.4 million, respectively of impairment charges. See Note 6, Restaurant Impairments, Closure Costs and Asset Disposals.
Key Financial Definitions
Cost of Sales
Cost of sales includes the direct costs associated with the food, beverage and packaging of our menu items. Cost of sales also includes any costs related to discounted menu items. Cost of sales is a substantial expense and can be expected to change proportionally as our restaurant revenue changes. Fluctuations in cost of sales are caused primarily by volatility in the cost of commodity food items and related contracts for such items. Other important factors causing fluctuations in cost of sales include seasonality, discounting activity, distribution costs and restaurant level management of food waste.
Labor costs include wages, payroll taxes, workers’ compensation expense, benefits and incentives paid to our restaurant teams. Similar to certain other expense items, we expect labor costs to change proportionally as our restaurant revenue changes. Factors that influence fluctuations in our labor costs include minimum wage and payroll tax legislation, wage inflation, the frequency and severity of workers’ compensation claims, health care costs and the performance of our restaurants.
Occupancy costs include rent, common area maintenance charges and real estate tax expense related to our restaurants and are expected to grow proportionally as we open new restaurants.
Other Restaurant Operating Costs
Other restaurant operating costs include the costs of repairs and maintenance, utilities, restaurant-level marketing, credit card processing fees, third-party delivery fees, restaurant supplies and other restaurant operating costs. Similar to certain other costs, they are expected to grow proportionally as restaurant revenue grows.
General and Administrative Expense
General and administrative expense is composed of payroll, other compensation, travel, marketing, accounting and legal fees, insurance and other expenses related to the infrastructure required to support our restaurants. General and administrative expense also includes the non-cash stock compensation expense related to our stock incentive plan.
Depreciation and Amortization
Our principal depreciation and amortization charges relate to depreciation of long-lived assets, such as property, equipment and leasehold improvements, from restaurant construction and ongoing maintenance.
Pre-opening costs relate to the costs incurred prior to the opening of a restaurant. These include management labor costs, staff labor costs during training, food and supplies utilized during training, marketing costs and other pre-opening related costs. Pre-opening costs also include rent recorded between the date of possession and the opening date for our restaurants.
Restaurant Impairments, Closure Costs and Asset Disposals
Restaurant impairments, closure costs and asset disposals include the net gain or loss on disposal of long-lived assets related to retirements and replacement of equipment or leasehold improvements, restaurant closures, divestitures and impairment charges. Each quarter we evaluate possible impairment of property and equipment at the restaurant level and record an impairment loss whenever we determine that the fair value of these assets is less than their carrying value. There can be no assurance that such evaluations will not result in additional impairment costs in future periods.
Interest expense consists primarily of interest on our outstanding indebtedness and amortization of debt issuance costs over the life of the related debt reduced by capitalized interest.
Provision for Income Taxes
Provision for income taxes consists of federal, state and local taxes on our income.
Restaurant Openings, Closures and Relocations
The following table shows restaurants opened or closed in the years indicated:
| ||Fiscal Year|
|Company-Owned Restaurants|| || |
|Beginning of period||372 ||378 |
|16 ||6 |
|Closures and relocations||(5)||(12)|
|End of period||368 ||372 |
|Franchise Restaurants|| |
|Beginning of period||76 ||76 |
|Openings||3 ||1 |
|15 ||— |
|End of period||93 ||76 |
|Total restaurants||461 ||448 |
(1)We account for relocated restaurants under both restaurant openings and closures and relocations. During 2021, we relocated one restaurant.
(2)During 2022, we sold fifteen company-owned restaurants to a franchisee.
Results of Operations
The following table summarizes key components of our results of operations for the periods indicated as a percentage of our total revenue, except for the components of restaurant operating costs, which are expressed as a percentage of restaurant revenue. Fiscal year 2022 contained 53 operating weeks and fiscal year 2021 contained 52 operating weeks.
| ||Fiscal Year|
|Revenue:|| || |
|Restaurant revenue||97.8 ||%||98.4 ||%|
|Franchising royalties and fees, and other||2.2 ||%||1.6 ||%|
|Total revenue||100.0 ||%||100.0 ||%|
|Costs and expenses:|| |
Restaurant operating costs (exclusive of depreciation and amortization, shown separately below):
|Cost of sales||27.7 ||%||25.2 ||%|
|Labor||31.1 ||%||31.2 ||%|
|Occupancy||9.1 ||%||9.8 ||%|
|Other restaurant operating costs||18.3 ||%||17.9 ||%|
|General and administrative||9.8 ||%||10.0 ||%|
|Depreciation and amortization||4.6 ||%||4.7 ||%|
|Pre-opening||0.3 ||%||0.1 ||%|
|Restaurant impairments, closure costs and asset disposals||1.2 ||%||1.2 ||%|
|Total costs and expenses||100.2 ||%||98.8 ||%|
|(Loss) income from operations||(0.2)||%||1.2 ||%|
|Interest expense, net||0.5 ||%||0.4 ||%|
|(Loss) income before income taxes||(0.6)||%||0.8 ||%|
|Provision for income taxes||0.1 ||%||— ||%|
|Net (loss) income ||(0.7)||%||0.8 ||%|
Fiscal Year 2022 compared to Fiscal Year 2021
Fiscal year 2022 contained 53 operating weeks and fiscal year 2021 contained 52 operating weeks. The table below presents our operating results for 2022 and 2021, and the related year-over-year changes:
| ||Fiscal Year||Increase / (Decrease)|
| ||(in thousands)|
|Revenue:|| || || || |
|Restaurant revenue||$||498,359 ||$||467,336 ||$||31,023 ||6.6 ||%|
|Franchising royalties and fees, and other||11,121 ||7,816 ||3,305 ||42.3 ||%|
|Total revenue||509,480 ||475,152 ||34,328 ||7.2 ||%|
|Costs and Expenses:|| || || || |
Restaurant operating costs (exclusive of depreciation and amortization, shown separately below):
| || || || |
|Cost of sales||137,859 ||117,894 ||19,965 ||16.9 ||%|
|Labor||155,023 ||145,622 ||9,401 ||6.5 ||%|
|Occupancy||45,213 ||45,956 ||(743)||(1.6)||%|
|Other restaurant operating costs||91,220 ||83,603 ||7,617 ||9.1 ||%|
|General and administrative||49,903 ||47,535 ||2,368 ||5.0 ||%|
|Depreciation and amortization||23,268 ||22,333 ||935 ||4.2 ||%|
|Pre-opening||1,662 ||665 ||997 ||149.9 ||%|
|Restaurant impairments, closure costs and asset disposals||6,164 ||5,727 ||437 ||7.6 ||%|
|Total costs and expenses||510,312 ||469,335 ||40,977 ||8.7 ||%|
|(Loss) income from operations||(832)||5,817 ||(6,649)||*|
|Interest expense, net||2,445 ||2,082 ||363 ||17.4 ||%|
|(Loss) income before income taxes||(3,277)||3,735 ||(7,012)||*|
|Provision for income taxes||37 ||70 ||(33)||(47.1)||%|
|Net (loss) income||$||(3,314)||$||3,665 ||$||(6,979)||*|
|Average unit volumes||$||1,360 ||$||1,300 ||$||60 ||4.6 ||%|
|Comparable restaurant sales||6.0 ||%||21.3 ||%|
* Not meaningful.
Total revenue increased by $34.3 million, or 7.2%, in 2022 compared to 2021. This increase was primarily due to an increase in restaurant average unit volumes and new restaurant openings, partially offset by a decrease in revenue of $18.2 million from refranchising 15 restaurants in the Warner Sale in early 2022. The impact of an additional operating week in 2022 on total revenue was approximately $9.1 million.
Average unit volumes increased 4.6% to $1.4 million in 2022 compared to $1.3 million in 2021 due to increases in price. System-wide comparable restaurant sales increased 5.6% in 2022, comprised of a 6.0% increase at company-owned restaurants and a 3.4% increase at franchise-owned restaurants.
Cost of Sales
Cost of sales increased by $20.0 million, or 16.9%, in 2022 compared to 2021, due primarily to the increase in our cost of food, predominantly chicken. As a percentage of restaurant revenue, cost of sales increased to 27.7% in 2022 from 25.2% in 2021. The increase as a percentage of restaurant revenue was similarly due to higher commodity food costs mainly from chicken pricing, partially offset by menu price increases and optimizing efficiencies with our chicken vendor.
Labor costs increased by $9.4 million, or 6.5%, in 2022 compared to 2021, due primarily to the increase in wage inflation. This was partially offset by labor efficiency initiatives and lower benefits costs related to our health insurance plan. As a percentage of restaurant revenue, labor costs decreased to 31.1% in 2022 compared to 31.2% in 2021.
Occupancy costs decreased by $0.7 million, or 1.6%, in 2022 compared to 2021, due primarily to the favorable impact of refranchising 15 restaurants in early 2022. As a percentage of restaurant revenue, occupancy costs decreased to 9.1% in 2022 from 9.8% in 2021, due primarily to an increase in restaurant revenue.
Other Restaurant Operating Costs
Other restaurant operating costs increased by $7.6 million, or 9.1%, in 2022 compared to 2021, due primarily to higher third-party delivery fees and higher utility rates in 2022. As a percentage of restaurant revenue, other restaurant operating costs increased to 18.3% in 2022 from 17.9% in 2021.
General and Administrative Expense
General and administrative expense increased by $2.4 million, or 5.0%, in 2022 compared to 2021, due primarily to increases in wages, marketing expense, software related costs and travel costs, as well as increased expenses from the additional week in the fiscal year, partially offset by decreases in bonus expense. As a percentage of revenue, general and administrative expense decreased to 9.8% in 2022 compared to 10.0% in 2021, due primarily to decreases in bonus expense.
Depreciation and Amortization
Depreciation and amortization increased by $0.9 million, or 4.2%, in 2022 compared to 2021, due primarily to new restaurant openings and an additional week in the fiscal year, partially offset by restaurants impaired or closed. As a percentage of revenue, depreciation and amortization remained relatively flat.
Pre-opening costs increased $1.0 million in 2022 compared to 2021 due to the increased number of restaurant openings in 2022 compared to 2021.
Restaurant Impairments, Closure Costs and Asset Disposals
Restaurant impairments, closure costs and asset disposals increased by $0.4 million, or 7.6%, in 2022 compared to 2021. The increase was due to asset disposals which included expenses from the divestiture of company-owned restaurants pursuant to the Warner Sale in January of 2022 as well as other franchise lease related costs. The increase was partially offset by $1.4 million of impairment charges on four restaurants in 2022 compared to $3.4 million of impairment charges on six restaurants in 2021. Both years include ongoing equipment costs for restaurants previously impaired.
Interest expense increased by $0.4 million, or 17.4% in 2022 compared to 2021. The increase was mainly due to higher average borrowings and a higher average interest rate in 2022 compared to 2021 as well as an additional week in the fiscal year 2022. With the refinancing of our debt in mid-2020, interest expense for all amounts outstanding is variable.
Provision for Income Taxes
The effective tax rate was (1.1)% in 2022 compared to 1.9% in 2021. The effective tax rates in 2022 and 2021 are primarily related to changes in indefinite-lived intangibles, as a percentage of pre-tax book income or loss. We will continue to maintain a
valuation allowance against deferred tax assets until there is sufficient evidence to support a full or partial reversal. The reversal of a previously recorded valuation allowance will generally result in a benefit from income tax.
Liquidity and Capital Resources
As of January 3, 2023, our available cash and cash equivalents balance was $1.5 million, and $74.3 million was available for future borrowings under our Third Amended Credit Facility (defined below).
On May 9, 2018, we entered into the 2018 Credit Facility which consisted of a term loan facility in an aggregate principal amount of $25.0 million and a revolving line of credit of $65.0 million, which included a letter of credit subfacility in the amount of $15.0 million and a swingline subfacility in the amount of $10.0 million. The 2018 Credit Facility was subsequently amended on November 20, 2019 (as amended, the First Amended Credit Facility) and June 16, 2020 (as amended, the Second Amended Credit Facility).
On July 27, 2022, the Company amended and restated its Second Amended Credit Facility by entering into the Third Amendment to the Credit Agreement (the “Third Amendment” or the “Third Amended Credit Facility”) which matures on July 27, 2027. Among other things, the Third Amendment: (i) increased the credit facility from $100.0 million to $125.0 million; (ii) eliminated the term loan and principal amortization components of the credit facility; (iii) removed the Company’s capital expenditure covenant; (iv) enhanced flexibility for certain covenants and restrictions; and (v) lowered the spread within the Company’s cost of borrowing and transitioned from LIBOR to SOFR plus a margin of 1.50% to 2.50% per annum, based upon the consolidated total lease-adjusted leverage ratio. In connection with the Third Amendment, the Company wrote off a portion of the unamortized debt issuance costs related to the Second Amended Credit Facility in the amount of $0.3 million in the third quarter of 2022. The Third Amended Credit Facility is secured by a pledge of stock of substantially all of the Company’s subsidiaries and a lien on substantially all of the personal property assets of the Company and its subsidiaries.
As of January 3, 2023, we had $47.7 million of indebtedness (excluding $1.6 million of unamortized debt issuance costs) and $3.0 million of letters of credit outstanding under the Third Amended Credit Facility.
Availability of borrowings under the Third Amended Credit Facility is conditioned upon our compliance with the terms of the Amendment, including the financial covenants and other customary affirmative and negative covenants, such as limitations on additional borrowings, acquisitions, dividend payments and lease commitments, and customary representations and warranties. As of January 3, 2023, we were in compliance with all of our debt covenants.
We expect that we will meet all applicable financial covenants in our Third Amended Credit Facility through at least the next four fiscal quarters. However, there can be no assurance we will meet such financial covenants. If such covenants are not met, we would be required to seek a waiver or amendment from the banks participating in the credit facility. There can be no assurance that such waiver or amendment would be granted, which could have a material adverse impact on our liquidity.
Cash Flow Analysis
Cash flows from operating, investing and financing activities are shown in the following table:
| ||Fiscal Year Ended|
| ||January 3,|
| ||(in thousands)|
|Net cash provided by operating activities||$||9,557 ||$||36,165 |
|Net cash used in investing activities||(32,309)||(18,370)|
|Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities||22,020 ||(23,380)|
|Net decrease in cash and cash equivalents||$||(732)||$||(5,585)|
Net cash provided by operating activities in 2022 was $9.6 million compared to $36.2 million in 2021. The change in operating cash flows resulted from a decrease in net income, as adjusted for non-cash items including depreciation, as well as working capital changes. The working capital variance includes uses of cash related to payroll timing, decreases in liabilities held for sale related to the Warner Sale and normal changes in accounts payable and other accrued expenses.
Net cash used in investing activities was primarily related to new restaurant capital expenditures for the opening of sixteen and six company-owned restaurants in 2022 and 2021, respectively, as well as information technology expenses and investments in restaurant equipment and restaurant upgrades.
Net cash provided by financing activities was $22.0 million in 2022 largely related to draws on our revolving credit facility to fund new restaurant openings, partially offset by debt issuance costs and payments on finance leases.
Material Cash Requirements
Our short-term obligations consist primarily of certain lease and other contractual commitments related to our operations, normal recurring operating expenses, working capital needs, new store development, capital improvements and maintenance of our restaurants, regular interest payments on our debt obligations and certain non-recurring expenditures.
Our long-term obligations consist primarily of certain lease and other contractual commitments related to our operations and payment of our outstanding debt obligations. In addition, our growth target for new store development will require capital each year which is expected to be funded by currently available cash and cash equivalents, cash flows from operations and our revolving credit facility.
Our capital expenditure requirements are primarily dependent upon the pace of our real estate development program and resulting new restaurant openings, costs for maintenance and remodeling of our existing restaurants, as well as information technology expenses and other general corporate capital expenditures.
Our total capital expenditures for 2022 were $33.9 million, which includes amounts for restaurants that will be opening in 2023. We expect our 2023 capital expenditures to be in the range of $53.0 million to $58.0 million. Our capital expenditures in 2023 are expected to be primarily related to our construction of new restaurants, which excludes landlord reimbursements that we typically receive, in addition to reinvestment in existing restaurants and investments in digital menu boards.
Our contractual obligations consist of lease obligations, purchase obligations, long-term debt and other liabilities. See Note 4 Long-Term Debt and Note 12 Leases for further discussion. We are obligated under non-cancelable leases for our restaurants, administrative offices and equipment. In addition to those lease obligations, we have legally binding minimum lease payments for leases signed but not yet commenced amounting to $17.8 million as of January 3, 2023. We enter into various purchase obligations in the ordinary course of business. As of January 3, 2023, our short-term binding purchase obligations amounted to $40.1 million and our long-term binding purchase obligations amounted to $2.9 million. These amounts relate to volume commitments for beverage and food products, as well as binding commitments for the construction of new restaurants. Our other liabilities of $0.7 million as of January 3, 2023 includes our commitment under our non-qualified deferred compensation plan.
We believe that we have sufficient liquidity to meet our liquidity needs and capital resource requirements for at least the next twelve months primarily through currently available cash and cash equivalents, cash flows from operations, and borrowings under the Third Amended Credit Facility. Our working capital position benefits from the fact that we generally collect cash from sales to customers the same day, or in the case of credit or debit card transactions, within several days of the related sale, and we typically have up to 30 days to pay our vendors. In addition, we receive trade credit for the purchase of food, beverages and supplies, therefore reducing the need for incremental working capital to support growth.
Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates
Our consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes are prepared in accordance with GAAP. Preparing consolidated financial statements requires us to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenue and expenses. These estimates and assumptions are affected by the application of our accounting policies. Our significant accounting policies are described in Note 1, Business and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies, to our consolidated financial statements. Critical accounting estimates are those that require application of management’s most difficult, subjective or complex judgments, often as a result of matters that are inherently uncertain and may change in subsequent periods. While we apply our judgment based on assumptions believed to be reasonable under the circumstances, actual results could vary from these assumptions. It is possible that materially different amounts would be reported using different assumptions. We believe the critical accounting policies described below affect our more significant judgments and estimates used in the preparation of our consolidated financial statements.
Impairment of Long-Lived Assets
We review long-lived assets, such as property and equipment, right of use assets and intangibles, subject to amortization, for impairment when events or circumstances indicate the carrying value of the assets may not be recoverable. In determining the recoverability of the asset value, an analysis is performed at the individual restaurant level and primarily includes an assessment of historical cash flows and other relevant factors and circumstances. The other factors and circumstances include changes in the economic environment, changes in the manner in which assets are used, unfavorable changes in legal factors or business climate, incurring excess costs in construction of the asset, overall restaurant operating performance and projections for future performance. These estimates result in a wide range of variability on a year to year basis due to the nature of the criteria. Restaurant-level cash flow less than our internal threshold over the previous 12 periods is considered an indicator of potential impairment. In such situations, we evaluate future undiscounted cash flow projections in conjunction with qualitative factors and future operating plans. Our impairment assessment process requires the use of estimates and assumptions regarding the future undiscounted cash flows and operating outcomes, which are based upon a significant degree of management’s judgment.
In performing our impairment testing, we forecast our future undiscounted cash flows by looking at recent restaurant level performance, restaurant level operating plans, sales trends and cost trends for cost of sales, labor and operating expenses. We believe that this combination of information gives us a fair benchmark to estimate future undiscounted cash flows. We compare this cash flow forecast, excluding occupancy rent expense, to the asset’s carrying value, excluding lease liability, at the restaurant. Based on this analysis, if the carrying amount of the assets is greater than the estimated future undiscounted cash flows, an impairment charge is recognized, measured as the amount by which the carrying amount exceeds the fair value of the asset. If these projections are not achieved, we could realize future impairments.
We lease all restaurant facilities, office space and certain equipment. Pursuant to FASB Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) Topic 842, all operating and finance lease assets and liabilities are recognized on our Consolidated Balance Sheets.
Right of use (“ROU”) assets represent our right to use an underlying asset for the lease term and lease liabilities represent our obligation to make future lease payments arising from the lease. Operating lease ROU assets and liabilities are recorded at commencement date based on the present value of lease payments over the lease term, which includes options to extend lease terms that are reasonably certain of being exercised. To determine the present value of lease payments not yet paid, we estimate incremental borrowing rates corresponding to the reasonably certain lease term. As most of our leases do not provide an implicit rate, we use the incremental borrowing rate based on information available at commencement date in determining the present value of lease payments. Leases with an initial term of 12 months or less are not recorded on the Consolidated Balance Sheets. We recognize lease expense for these short-term leases on a straight-line basis over the lease term.
Our leases typically contain rent escalations over the lease term. We recognize expense for these leases on a straight-line basis over the lease term. Additionally, tenant incentives used to fund leasehold improvements are recognized when earned and reduce the right-of-use asset related to the lease. These are amortized through the right-of-use asset as reductions of expense over the lease term. Rent expense for the period prior to the restaurant opening is reported as pre-opening expense in the Consolidated Statements of Operations. If our estimates or underlying assumptions, including discount rate and sublease income change in the future, our operating results may be materially impacted.
ITEM 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosure about Market Risk
Interest Rate Risk
We are exposed to market risk from changes in interest rates on debt. Our exposure to interest rate fluctuations is limited to our outstanding borrowing under our Third Amended Credit Facility, which bears interest at variable rates equal to SOFR plus a margin of 1.50% to 2.50% per annum, based upon the consolidated total lease-adjusted leverage ratio. As of January 3, 2023, $47.7 million in borrowings were outstanding under our Third Amended Credit Facility. An increase or decrease of 1.0% in the effective interest rate applied to our borrowings would have resulted in a pre-tax interest expense fluctuation of approximately $0.5 million on an annualized basis.
Commodity Price Risk
We purchase certain products that are affected by commodity prices and are, therefore, subject to price volatility caused by weather, market conditions and other factors that are not considered predictable or within our control. Although these products are subject to changes in commodity prices, certain purchasing contracts or pricing arrangements contain risk management techniques designed to minimize price volatility. We use these types of purchasing techniques to control costs as an alternative to directly managing financial instruments to hedge commodity prices. In many cases, we believe we will be able to address material commodity cost increases by adjusting our menu pricing. In 2022, we optimized efficiencies with our chicken vendor to mitigate chicken price increases. However, increases in commodity prices, without adjustments to our menu prices, could increase restaurant operating costs as a percentage of restaurant revenue.
The primary inflationary factors affecting our operations are food costs, labor costs, energy costs and materials used in the construction of new restaurants and maintenance of existing restaurants. Increases in federal, state or local minimum wages directly affect our labor costs. Many of our leases require us to pay taxes, maintenance, repairs, insurance and utilities, all of which are generally subject to inflationary increases. Additionally, the cost of constructing our restaurants is subject to inflationary increases in the costs of labor and material. Inflation has more significantly impacted our operating results during 2022 than compared to prior years, particularly in our commodity and construction markets, in addition to increased wage inflation that has continued to affect our results from 2019 through 2022. We expect inflation may continue to affect our results in the near future.
ITEM 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data
Noodles & Company
INDEX TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
|Consolidated Financial Statements|| |
See accompanying notes to consolidated financial statements.
Noodles & Company
Consolidated Balance Sheets
(in thousands, except share data)
|Assets|| || |
|Current assets:|| || |
|Cash and cash equivalents||$||1,523 ||$||2,255 |
|Accounts receivable||6,443 ||3,958 |
|Inventories||10,044 ||9,404 |
|Prepaid expenses and other assets||3,450 ||6,837 |
|Income tax receivable||176 ||108 |
|Total current assets||21,636 ||22,562 |
|Property and equipment, net||129,386 ||119,276 |
|Operating lease assets, net||183,392 ||188,440 |
|Goodwill||7,154 ||7,154 |
|Intangibles, net||608 ||668 |
|Other assets, net||1,667 ||3,359 |
|Total long-term assets||322,207 ||318,897 |
|Total assets||$||343,843 ||$||341,459 |
|Liabilities and Stockholders’ Equity|| || |
|Current liabilities:|| || |
|Accounts payable||$||15,308 ||$||15,543 |
|Accrued payroll and benefits||9,219 ||18,600 |
|Accrued expenses and other current liabilities||11,005 ||13,791 |
|Current operating lease liabilities||28,581 ||26,617 |
|Current portion of long-term debt||— ||2,031 |
|Total current liabilities||64,113 ||76,582 |
|Long-term debt, net||46,051 ||18,931 |
|Long-term operating lease liabilities, net||187,320 ||200,243 |
|Deferred tax liabilities, net||229 ||269 |
|Other long-term liabilities||7,766 ||7,801 |
|Total liabilities||305,479 ||303,826 |
|Commitments and contingencies|
|Stockholders’ equity:|| |
Preferred stock—$0.01 par value, 1,000,000 shares authorized and undesignated as of January 3, 2023 and December 28, 2021; no shares issued or outstanding
|— ||— |
Common stock—$0.01 par value, 180,000,000 shares authorized as of January 3, 2023 and December 28, 2021; 48,464,298 issued and 46,040,427 outstanding as of January 3, 2023; 48,125,151 issued and 45,701,280 outstanding as of December 28, 2021
|485 ||481 |
Treasury stock, at cost, 2,423,871 shares as of January 3, 2023 and December 28, 2021, respectively
|Additional paid-in capital||211,267 ||207,226 |
|Total stockholders’ equity||38,364 ||37,633 |
|Total liabilities and stockholders’ equity||$||343,843 ||$||341,459 |
See accompanying notes to consolidated financial statements.
Noodles & Company
Consolidated Statements of Operations
(in thousands, except share and per share data)
| ||Fiscal Year Ended|
| ||January 3,|
|Revenue:|| || || |
|Restaurant revenue||$||498,359 ||$||467,336 ||$||388,480 |
|Franchising royalties and fees, and other||11,121 ||7,816 ||5,175 |
|Total revenue||509,480 ||475,152 ||393,655 |
|Costs and expenses:|| || || |
|Restaurant operating costs (exclusive of depreciation and amortization shown separately below):|| || || |
|Cost of sales||137,859 ||117,894 ||97,697 |
|Labor||155,023 ||145,622 ||126,424 |
|Occupancy||45,213 ||45,956 ||46,787 |
|Other restaurant operating costs||91,220 ||83,603 ||71,208 |
|General and administrative||49,903 ||47,535 ||42,876 |
|Depreciation and amortization||23,268 ||22,333 ||21,709 |
|Pre-opening||1,662 ||665 ||443 |
|Restaurant impairments, closure costs and asset disposals||6,164 ||5,727 ||6,540 |
|Total costs and expenses||510,312 ||469,335 ||413,684 |
|(Loss) income from operations||(832)||5,817 ||(20,029)|
|Interest expense, net||2,445 ||2,082 ||3,146 |
|(Loss) income before income taxes||(3,277)||3,735 ||(23,175)|
|Provision for income taxes||37 ||70 ||84 |
|Net (loss) income||$||(3,314)||$||3,665 ||$||(23,259)|
|(Loss) earnings per Class A and Class B common stock, combined|| || || |
|Weighted average Class A and Class B common stock outstanding, combined|| || || |
|Basic||45,913,787 ||45,483,029 ||44,272,474 |
|Diluted||45,913,787 ||46,125,386 ||44,272,474 |
See accompanying notes to consolidated financial statements.
Noodles & Company
Consolidated Statements of Stockholders’ Equity
(in thousands, except share data)
|Balance—December 31, 2019||46,557,934 ||$||466 ||2,423,871 ||$||(35,000)||$||200,585 ||$||(115,480)||$||50,571 |
|Stock plan transactions and other||249,653 ||2 ||— ||— ||(176)||— ||(174)|
|Stock-based compensation expense||— ||— ||— ||— ||2,561 ||— ||2,561 |
|Net loss||— ||— ||— ||— ||— ||(23,259)||(23,259)|
|Balance—December 29, 2020||46,807,587 ||468 ||2,423,871 ||(35,000)||202,970 ||(138,739)||29,699 |
L Catterton warrants exercised(2)
|975,458 ||10 ||— ||— ||(10)||— ||— |
|Stock plan transactions and other||342,106 ||3 ||— ||— ||98 ||— ||101 |
|Stock-based compensation expense||— ||— ||— ||— ||4,168 ||— ||4,168 |
|Net income||— ||— ||— ||— ||— ||3,665 ||3,665 |
|Balance—December 28, 2021||48,125,151 ||481 ||2,423,871 ||(35,000)||207,226 ||(135,074)||37,633 |
|Stock plan transactions and other||339,147 ||4 ||— ||— ||(360)||— ||(356)|
|Stock-based compensation expense||— ||— ||— ||— ||4,401 ||— ||4,401 |
|Net loss||— ||— ||— ||— ||— ||(3,314)||(3,314)|
|Balance—January 3, 2023||48,464,298 ||$||485 ||2,423,871 ||$||(35,000)||$||211,267 ||$||(138,388)||$||38,364 |
(1)Unless otherwise noted, activity relates to Class A common stock.
(2)Refer to Note 8 - Stockholders’ Equity.
See accompanying notes to consolidated financial statements.
Noodles & Company
Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows
| ||Fiscal Year Ended|
| ||January 3,|
|Operating activities|| || || |
|Net (loss) income||$||(3,314)||$||3,665 ||$||(23,259)|
|Adjustments to reconcile net (loss) income to net cash provided by operating activities:|| || || |
|Depreciation and amortization||23,268 ||22,333 ||21,709 |
|Deferred income taxes, net||(40)||29 ||40 |
|Restaurant impairments, closure costs and asset disposals||2,261 ||3,538 ||4,782 |
|Amortization of debt issuance costs||723 ||444 ||371 |
|Stock-based compensation||4,328 ||4,110 ||2,497 |
|Gain on insurance proceeds received for property damage||— ||(406)||(200)|
|Changes in operating assets and liabilities:|| || |
|Prepaid expenses and other assets||1,244 ||(492)||(14)|
|Accounts payable||(563)||4,689 ||(1,287)|
|Operating lease assets and liabilities||(5,417)||(1,759)||2,847 |
|Income taxes||(68)||(64)||59 |
|Accrued expenses and other liabilities||(9,546)||951 ||1,910 |
|Net cash provided by operating activities||9,557 ||36,165 ||9,124 |
|Investing activities|| || || |
|Purchases of property and equipment||(33,886)||(18,776)||(11,782)|
|Proceeds from restaurant refranchising||1,577 ||— ||— |
|Insurance proceeds received for property damage||— ||406 ||837 |
|Net cash used in investing activities||(32,309)||(18,370)||(10,945)|
|Financing activities|| || || |
|Net borrowings from swing line loan||4,781 ||— ||— |
|Proceeds from borrowings on long-term debt||53,512 ||— ||55,500 |
|Payments on long-term debt||(32,850)||(21,556)||(54,313)|
|Debt issuance costs||(1,077)||— ||(731)|
|Payment of finance leases||(1,990)||(1,925)||(1,080)|
|Stock plan transactions and tax withholding on share-based compensation awards||(356)||101 ||(174)|
|Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities||22,020 ||(23,380)||(798)|
|Net decrease in cash and cash equivalents||(732)||(5,585)||(2,619)|
|Cash and cash equivalents|| || |
|Beginning of year||2,255 ||7,840 |