Noodles & Company and WOWorks Join the Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance Pathways to Black Franchise Ownership Program


MFHA sets goal of 100 black-owned franchises by end of 2023

Noodles & Company and WOWorks Join the Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance Pathways to Black Franchise Ownership Program( The Multicultural alliance of restaurants and hotels (MFHA) announced that Noodles & Company and WOWorks are the first restaurant franchise companies to adopt the Paths to Black Franchise Ownership program. Launched in 2020 by MFHA with a $2.5 million commitment from PepsiCo, Journey is dedicated to helping Black entrepreneurs of all backgrounds develop and operate high-performing franchise businesses.

The MFHA has set a goal for Pathways to create 100 new black-owned franchise restaurants by the end of 2023. Noodles & Company and WOWorks will be key Pathways partners and have officially added the program to their strategies. respective franchise development and unit growth. Businesses will provide qualified participants with specialized training, coaching, mentoring and other support to open single and multi-unit franchise businesses.

Named one of America’s Best Diversity Employers by Forbes, Noodles & Company represents more than 450 restaurants across the country.

WOWorks offers franchise opportunities across a broad portfolio of popular brands, including Saladworks, Frutta Bowls, Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh and The Simple Greek.

MFHA developed Pathways with 4thMVMT, a social equity organization that vets, trains, facilitates financing, and partners with people from underserved communities to own and operate competitive businesses. Pathways is the centerpiece of the MFHA’s efforts to set even higher standards for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the industry, especially within the owner ranks.

The MFHA looks forward to more companies joining Pathways and is working closely with the National Restaurant Association and the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation (NRAEF) to expand the program. Restaurant franchisors can learn more about Pathways here.

“Although our industry is one of the most diverse in the United States, the underrepresentation of ownership is clear with only eight percent of restaurants owned by black people,” said Gerry Fernandez, president and founder of MFHA. “Training and access to capital remain significant barriers for black entrepreneurs wanting to own their own business. Through Pathways and this exciting collaboration with WOWorks and Noodles & Company, we can make restaurant ownership more accessible than ever. We hope other franchisors will also join us in making this a reality for more people.

“Earlier this year, Noodles & Company advanced our own inclusion and diversity initiatives with the CEO Action Pledge and we plan to become one of the first restaurant brands to partner with MFHA. on Pathways as a natural next step on this journey,” said John Ramsay. , Noodles & Company Vice President of Franchise Sales. “It was an easy choice. Not only do our values ​​align when it comes to increasing diversity in our organization, but the platform has the potential to expand beyond black franchises, enabling all voices to operate high performing businesses.

“It is an honor to partner with the MFHA to advocate for greater diversity and inclusion in the restaurant space,” said Kelly Roddy, CEO of WOWorks. “We want to give more Black entrepreneurs the opportunity to be part of our family of healthy, laid-back brands, which can also energize their communities. Growing the number of African American business owners in the country starts with franchisors like us, and we are committed to encouraging and supporting franchisees every step of the way.

About the MFHA

Founded in Minneapolis in 1996, the Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance (MFHA) has been a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion in the industry for nearly 25 years. Since its founding, the MFHA’s mission has evolved from advocating for career opportunities for people of color to developing cultural intelligence and promoting the business case for diversity and inclusion. The MFHA is now affiliated with the National Restaurant Association. The Association’s mission includes strengthening operations and developing talent and workforce for the restaurant and foodservice industry.

About Noodles & Company

Since 1995, Noodles & Company has been serving Uncommon Goodness guests and noodles your way, with noodles and flavors you know and love and new ones you’re about to discover. From indulgent Wisconsin mac and cheese to better-for-you zoodles and other noodles, the company serves up a world of flavor in every bowl. Comprised of more than 450 restaurants and thousands of passionate team members and named one of America’s favorite restaurants by Newsweek, Noodles is well known for its delicious noodles and team member benefits at the forefront of the industry. Noodles has been recognized by Forbes as one of America’s Best Diversity Employers for 2021 and 2022 and one of America’s Best Employers for Women in 2021. Additionally, the Denver Business Journal named Noodles one of best places to work for its unique culture of Uncommon Kindness and built on the value of “Loving Life” that begins with nurturing and inspiring its communities and every team member and guest who walks through the door. The company has also earned Women in the Lead certification for its investment in female empowerment initiatives for its female team members and has proudly partnered with the Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance to build cultural intelligence at the within its teams. To learn more and to find the location nearest you, visit

About WOWorks

WOWorks was established in 2020 with a mission to help guests pursue their passions and live their best lives by serving healthy, nutritious, great-tasting fuel and world-class hospitality. Wholly owned by Center Lane Partners, LLC, WOWorks’ portfolio includes: Saladworks, the nation’s leading fast casual salad brand; Frutta Bowls, a unique restaurant franchise serving a variety of superfood bowls, fresh fruit smoothies, oatmeal bowls and more; Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh, a popular Mediterranean restaurant concept; and more recently, The Simple Greek, which offers a fresh and healthy take on ancient Greek recipes in a fast and casual setting. WOWorks seeks to drive explosive growth across all of its brands through a variety of channels, traditional and non-traditional, including ghost kitchens, food trucks, grocery stores and more.

Media Contact:
Emma Tiernon
Connect Agency
[email protected]


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