In an initial public offering apparently blessed by the Flying Spaghetti Monster or some other deity inclined toward stringy foods, Noodles & Co. stock is soaring in its debut.
The fast-casual restaurant chain opened up 78% at $32 a share Friday after pricing a day earlier at $18 a share. By midday in New York, the stock price had more than doubled to $37.69 a share.
If the Broomfield, Colo., company can keep up the momentum, it may close the day as the best-performing debut to date this year.
The top first-day gainer so far is software firm Marketo Inc., which launched on the public market in May and saw its price boom 77.7% in its first day, according to Dealogic.
Noodles & Co. sold nearly 5.4 million shares, raising $96.4 million. It may still sell additional shares to underwriters.
This even after Noodles & Co. boosted its expected price range earlier this week to $15 to $17 a share after saying last week that it anticipated a range of $13 to $15 a share.
The company, which is trading under the NDLS ticker, has 343 restaurants in 26 states and Washington, D.C.
Its chief executive officer, Kevin Reddy, used to head up Chipotle's operations and restaurant support.
Noodles' promising run may push other companies such as the Container Store and Potbelly to consider IPOs, according to Jason Moser, a Motley Fool analyst. "Companies looking to IPO love it when the market is flying high; it means they can raise more money and take advantage of the enthusiasm that's already pervasive throughout the market, warranted or not," he said.
The chain's home state, Colorado, is the base for several other popular fast-casual chains, including Smashburger, Chipotle and Qdoba.