Financial Wellness & Inside Even

Case study: Noodles & Company

How Noodles & Company used Even’s employer-sponsored on-demand pay platform to improve employee financial health, loyalty, and retention.
Noodles and Co employees with Even logo and Noodles and Co logo

Noodles & Company has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to taking care of employees. The company has long been dedicated to offering progressive benefits that make a meaningful difference in the lives of its team members. The company’s benefits package, known as “Life@Noodles,” features several firsts for the restaurant industry, including parental benefits such as $10,000 for adoption assistance, and $1,000 in student loan assistance for general managers.

Despite its strong reputation as a leader in restaurant industry benefits, Noodles & Company wanted to do more. Its leaders were hearing more about financial stress among employees, and how it was affecting them at work as well as in their personal lives, and the company decided to take steps to improve the financial health of its workforce. Leaders heard about on-demand pay and thought it would be a good place to start, but soon realized it would be best to also help team members not just manage cash flow emergencies, but also give them other financial tools to make a lasting impact.

“We didn’t want a band-aid solution, so Even’s holistic approach really stood out to us.”

– Amy Cohen, Director Total Rewards, Noodles & Company

That’s what led them to Even. As Amy Cohen, Director Total Rewards put it: “As soon as I heard about on-demand pay, I thought it would become the future of payroll. But I wanted to find a partner that could do more. We didn’t want a band-aid solution, so Even’s holistic approach really stood out to us.” It’s been a full year since Noodles & Company rolled out Even’s employer-sponsored on-demand pay platform to its workforce, and we’re proud to share the initial results of our work together.

It all begins with adoption

A benefit is only beneficial if employees understand it and use it, so a tool for financial wellness can’t drive better outcomes without employee engagement. This is especially true when it comes to a financial service, since it not only deals with sensitive and perhaps stressful subject matter, but requires access to personal banking information. It’s critical that employees actually opt in. The good news: Noodles & Company team members have not only opted in to use Even en masse, but continue to use the platform.

Since launch, more than half of Noodles & Company’s workforce has signed up to use Even. This is more than 20% higher than the average adoption rate for voluntary benefits. To achieve this, Even’s world-class customer marketing team worked in lockstep with Noodles & Company’s benefits teams to build trust in the Even offering among employees, leverage Noodles & Company’s existing employer brand, and create not just a launch moment, but ongoing momentum.

Helping employees when they need it most

In the U.S., 74% of people live paycheck to paycheck — even those making a high salary. Noodles & Company understood that cash flow emergencies can happen to anyone, and when they do, they can be catastrophic. So, offering on-demand pay seemed like a good place to start when addressing employee financial stability.

To date, 52% of Noodles & Company’s team members have used Instapay, Even’s on-demand pay feature, to collectively access $2.6 million in wages. These team members were able to safely resolve cash flow emergencies using their own funds instead of resorting to more expensive and even predatory solutions, such as high-interest credit cards, overdraft fees that average $30 apiece, or payday loans, for which the average borrower could end up paying $793 for a $325 loan. By offering Even to its workforce, Noodles & Company has helped team members save hundreds of thousands of dollars that would have otherwise been lost to fees and interest.

Taking it far beyond on-demand pay

Instapay is an important tool when it comes to helping people avoid predatory and expensive financial products to cover expenses between paychecks. But as a sophisticated and forward-thinking employer, Noodles & Company has a more important goal in mind: helping employees build true financial resilience, including the short-term savings necessary to cover unexpected expenses without relying on on-demand pay. Even’s employer-sponsored earned wage access platform was designed to do just that.

Noodles & Company team members can use Even’s Automatic Savings feature to funnel a custom percentage of their paycheck straight into a separate account. In fact, less than a year after rollout, team members have collectively saved more than $550,000 with Even. And they’re saving consistently: Team members deposited over $20,000 per month into their Even accounts, and exceeded $65,000 in monthly deposits four times throughout the year. So far, approximately 25% of team members using Even are saving money in this way. These are all strong indicators that Noodles & Company’s workforce is building financial resilience with Even in ways that wouldn’t be possible with most on-demand pay platforms.

“We were impressed with how intuitive and easy Even’s budgeting tool is. It takes the guesswork out of budgeting and helps team members establish healthy financial habits.”

– Amy Cohen, Director Total Rewards, Noodles & Company

Team members are also staying on track with Even’s Automatic Budgeting feature, which accounts for projected income — based on Even’s integration with payroll — along with bank balance and incoming bills to automatically manage the employee’s budget. This gives team members an entirely new and better way to build a consistent savings strategy based on a budget that truly works. Noodles & Company had tried other budgeting tools for its workforce. However, these tools required so much work from the employee that they would become fatigued and give up.

70% of employees say that offering Even has a benefit has positively impacted their perception of Noodles & Company as an employer.

The fact that Even’s feature was designed in a way that did all the heavy lifting for the members and gave them a clearly defined “okay to spend” amount at a glance was a strong factor in Noodles & Company’s decision to go with Even. Amy Cohen said, “We were impressed with how intuitive and easy Even’s budgeting tool is. It takes the guesswork out of budgeting and helps team members establish healthy financial habits, which is really important to us — especially since our workforce skews younger.”

Building a stronger relationship with employees for years to come

Noodles & Company already had a reputation for being a forward-thinking employer that truly cares about the well-being of its people. Introducing Even’s employer-sponsored on‑demand pay platform as part of its already-impressive suite of benefits has only strengthened that reputation — and it’s also strengthened relationships with team members. In fact, 70% of employees say that offering Even as a benefit has positively impacted their perception of Noodles & Company as an employer. In that same survey, 70% of team members also said that Even has made a broad positive impact on their financial health.

As one of the most progressive employers in the restaurant industry, Noodles & Company is an ideal partner for Even. Our work together is further evidence of their commitment to investing in the well-being of their people — and early results indicate that the investment is paying off in the form of a more financially resilient workforce.

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