(July 26) SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Here’s a case of using your noodle to improve fast-casual dining.

Wild Noodles, a new concept that is expanding its franchise nationally, is using fresh produce to help attract customers.

Produce is helping drive the noodle dish sales, said Jeff Levy, director of operations

“We use a lot of fresh produce,” he said. “It’s a critical part of and an important piece in our entire positioning.”

The restaurant features what its creator, chef Eddie Matney, who opened the first restaurant four years ago in the Phoenix area, calls untamed flavors from around the world.

“We have probably 27 different types of fresh produce we bring in four to five times a week,” Levy said.

Levy said the fresh offerings provide diners a reason to return to the restaurant.

“Because of the fresh produce and the fresh-made sauces, it gives them that whole-mouth feel. When your mouth is telling you ‘Wow,’ it’s telling you that for a reason.”

Produce, which accounts for 27% of its food supplies, is sourced primarily from the larger local produce wholesalers, Levy said, for fresher and more frequent deliveries.

“It’s important to have a good produce vendor so you can ensure the quality to the end-user, the customer,” Levy said.

With five units in operation, Wild Noodles recently opened outlets in Minneapolis; Franklin, Tenn., a suburb of Nashville; and the New York suburbs of Ridgewood, N.J., and Westfield, N.J. A Jacksonville, Fla., unit opened July 22.

Stores in Atlanta and Tempe, Ariz., and three other cities are expected to open in August, with an additional 10 scheduled to open by year’s end, Levy said.

Keeping an eye on the low-carbohydrate diet movement, the restaurant offers a menu appealing to the health-conscious, Levy said.