LEXINGTON, Ky. --(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Fazoli's, the 243-unit premium Italian quick service chain, is finding bigger is not always better, at least when it comes to building design. Fazoli's recently opened its first-ever in-line restaurant – and it's first new design in more than 15 years – in a suburban St. Louis shopping center.
According to president and CEO Carl Howard, the new restaurant is producing very strong sales, despite being smaller than the chain's stand-alone units. A second in-line unit is scheduled to open in Dayton, Ohio, in early March. It will feature the same new design.
"One of our goals with the redesign was to test whether a smaller, less expensive restaurant could still deliver high sales volumes," Howard said. The new restaurant opened January 26 in an Edwardsville, Ill., shopping center. It is 2,300 square feet with 70 seats, considerably smaller than the chain's older locations which are between 2,900 and 3,400 square feet with 96 to 140 seats. The new Fazoli's offers curbside carryout rather than a drive-through.
The look of the new restaurant also is a significant departure from past Fazoli's – inside and out. The traditional Italian design was replaced with a vibrant contemporary look that is much brighter and open. "It provides our guests with a more inviting and fun atmosphere," said Brand Director Stacy Hettich. "It is much more relevant to today's guests, especially families."
All-new graphics, including black and white photos of people enjoying Italian food, are set against a backdrop of vivid colors, while words such as "saucy" and "fast, fresh Italian" communicate Fazoli's brand messages.
The opening of the new prototype follows last year's extensive overhaul and upgrade of Fazoli's food. Eighty percent of the menu is either new or improved.
"As the economy improves, multi-unit restaurant operators will again be looking for new franchise opportunities," Howard said. "This new prototype, combined with the other improvements we have made to the brand, are putting Fazoli's in an excellent position to grow."
In addition to the Dayton restaurant, Fazoli's expects to open up to seven new company-owned and at least two franchised restaurants within the next 14 months. A new franchised restaurant is scheduled to open in March in Jonesboro, Ark.