Why Your Next Noodles & Co. Meal Might Be More Expensive

Noodles & Company is a company whose name somehow manages to tell you almost everything and almost nothing about its menu. Obviously, there will be noodles. But according to the Noodles & Company website, the fast-casual chain serves up a wide variety of dishes: Thai, Italian, Japanese – you name it. But a hands-down fan favorite has been its Wisconsin Mac & Cheese. Per a 2021 press release (via PR Newswire), the cheesy mac has sat atop the list of the company's best-sellers for over 20 years, with 10 million bowls being whipped up for customers annually. But before you place that next order, you may be in for sticker shock.

The Nation's Restaurant News revealed Noodles & Company fans are going to have to pay a $1 surcharge for dishes like BBQ Chicken Mac, Zucchini Grilled Orange Chicken, and Asian Apple Citrus Salad with Chicken. Why? Because inflation has been hitting the food industry hard. USA Today shares that inflation climbed faster in March than it has in the last 40 years, and prices increased by a whopping 8.5%. What does this have to do with Noodles & Company? The noodle-centric chain is starting to feel those effects with the rising price of chicken breasts

Noodles & Company isn't not the only place to raise prices

Per Restaurant Business, Noodles and Company announced that the company has seen a 70% increase in what it pays for chicken, and now that cost is being passed along to its customer. But, if it's any consolation, this increase is expected to be temporary. Noodles & Company CFO Carl Lukach said, "We view this temporary surcharge as one-time and fairly short-lived as the market is expected to normalize reasonably soon."

However, depending on what "short-lived" and "reasonably soon" mean, that might be wishful thinking. Gro Intelligence reports wholesale chicken breast prices are at their highest since 2000 when the data company first began tracking prices. In fact, Gro Intelligence explains relief may not be coming any time before we pack away our swimsuits. The outlet suggests these higher prices for our favorite foul could last through prime grilling season, citing several factors that might contribute to your pocketbook feeling a little thinner, including a new bird flu outbreak in the U.S. and the cost of feed for your must-have poultry.

Noodles & Company is not the only chain that has raised prices in response to inflation. According to The Street, Chipotle increased prices for its Steak and Barbacoa by 6.2%. Additionally, the chain's Steak and Carnitas went up 5.6%. Its chicken and veggie menu items increased by 6.2%.