Broomfield-based Noodles & Company is hoping Wall Street will have a big appetite for its "fast-casual" restaurants that serve up pasta and noodle dishes.

Noodles & Company on Thursday filed registration documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a future initial public offering that's potentially worth $75 million.

"We believe we have significant growth potential because of our brand positioning, strong unit economics, financial results and broad guest appeal," Noodles officials wrote in their SEC filing. "We believe there are significant opportunities to expand our business, strengthen our competitive position and enhance our brand..."

Noodles' filing continues a flurry of recent IPO activity for companies in Boulder and Broomfield counties. As the market as a whole picked back up in the past 18 months, Clovis Oncology raised $130 million, WhiteWave Foods raised $391 million and Rally Software Development Corp. raised $84 million through IPOs.

Noodles will apply to list its common stock on either the Nasdaq Global Select Market or the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "NDLS."

The number of shares, pricing and the offering date have yet to be disclosed.

IPO analyst Francis Gaskins said he expects the price range to be set in about a month and the stock to go public the following week, meaning that NDLS could be trading by the end of June or early July.

Favorable market

Noodles' story as a profitable regional chain that has aspirations to become a national brand with 2,500 restaurants in 15 to 20 years could play out well on Wall Street, Gaskins said.

"Investors are very hungry for any company that has a good chance for internal growth," said Gaskins, president and editor of IPOdesktop.

Recent IPOs in the restaurant category have fared well in the after-market, he said.

The stock price for Outback Steakhouse operator Bloomin' Brands (Nasdaq: BLMN, $22.15) is up 90 percent since its August 2012 debut and the stock prices for regional operators Del Frisco's Restaurant Group Inc. (Nasdaq: DFRG, $18.50) and Chuy's Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: CHUY) are up 45 percent and 93 percent, respectively.

Noodles also is positioned within the fastest-growing segments within the restaurant industry, said Cherryh Butler, senior editor of FastCasual.com.

Citing data from Technomic Inc., Butler said that fast-casual concepts -- restaurants that are a hybrid of quick-service and full-service casual dining restaurants -- account for $31 billion, roughly 5 percent, of the $660 billion Americans spend annually on dining away from home.

Sales at fast-casual concepts, however, are growing at much higher rates than the industry as a whole. In 2012, fast-casual sales grew 13.2 percent as compared to an industry average of 5.1 percent, Butler said.

Noodles placed No. 26 on FastCasual.com's 2013 list of the "Top 100 Movers & Shakers" within the segment.

In Thursday's SEC filing, Noodles officials listed innovation and the company's value proposition among key factors critical to future growth.

"We believe we are the only national fast casual restaurant concept offering a menu with a wide variety of noodle and pasta dishes, soups, salads and sandwiches inspired by global flavors," Noodles officials wrote in the filing. "We believe our combination of attributes -- global flavors and variety and fast service -- allows us to compete against multiple segments throughout the restaurant industry."

Customers spend, on average, $8 per visit at Noodles, according to the filing.

Big expectations

Noodles opened its first restaurant in 1995 and was a Boulder-based firm before moving to Broomfield in 2006.

In 2010, an investment group led by Catterton Partners, a $2.5 billion private equity firm based in Greenwich, Conn., and Argentia Private Investments Inc., a subsidiary of the investment arm of the Canadian government, acquired a controlling interest in Noodles.

Catterton and Argentia own nearly 90 percent of Noodles' shares, according to the filing.

CEO Kevin Reddy and Chief Operating Officer Keith Kinsey own 2.81 percent and 1.66 percent, respectively.

Noodles credited Reddy and Kinsey -- veterans of Chipotle and McDonald's -- with developing and nurturing the company's strategic vision. Reddy and Kinsey had compensation packages totaling $1.1 million and $773,145, respectively, in 2012.

"At Chipotle, they were instrumental in growing the concept from a small number of restaurants to more than 400 across the country between 2000 and 2005 with the financial backing of McDonald's," Noodles wrote in the registration filing. "They delivered a similar growth trajectory when they joined Noodles eight years ago, increasing the restaurant base from 100 to 327 between 2005 and 2012, a (compound annual growth rate) of 16 percent."

The Denver-based Chipotle, which has since divested from McDonald's, operates more than 1,450 restaurants.

Noodles officials say they plan to use proceeds from the IPO to pay down debt and also for working capital and other corporate purposes.

The outstanding balance of Noodles' credit facility, which has a maturity date of August 2017, is $100.3 million, officials said in the filing. Affiliates of Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc., which is one of the offering's book-running managers, are expected to receive a portion of the net proceeds.

Incremental growth

As of April 30, Noodles had 339 restaurants -- including 51 franchise locations -- in 25 states. In addition to the 13 restaurants opened thus far this year, the company expects to have an additional 31 to 37 company-operated and franchise locations open by the end of the year.

Noodles' earnings have grown incrementally during the past three years.

After posting a net income of $2.4 million on revenue of $220.8 million in 2010, Noodles' net income and revenue grew to $3.8 million and $256.1 million for the fiscal year that covered much of 2011.

Last year, Noodles reeled in $5.2 million on revenue of $300.4 million.

Through the first quarter of this year, Noodles' net income is $924,000 and revenue is $81.3 million and the company has 7,000 employees -- 700 of whom are salaried -- across its nationwide workforce.

Lead joint book-running managers for the offering are Morgan Stanley and UBS Investment Bank. Jefferies LLC; Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc.; Piper Jaffray & Co.; and Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. are serving as book-running managers.