Fazoli's Heats Up Growth as Leading Franchise 
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Fazoli's Heats Up Growth as Leading Franchise 

Fazoli's Heats Up Growth as Leading Franchise 

Fazoli’s – industry leader and innovator – is thriving as the nation’s largest and only premium quick-service Italian chain.

Emboldened by historic, record-breaking summer sales and traffic, the renowned brand has kept its foot on the gas and sights set on new growth-focused opportunities.

"We never stop innovating, and we have over a year of ideas in the pipeline waiting to get into test markets," says Fazoli's CEO Carl Howard. "From new building prototypes and menu innovation to AI technology and ghost kitchen concepts, we are not out of dry powder."

With nearly 220 restaurants in 28 states, Lexington, KY-based Fazoli's has always had a reputation as an industry trailblazer. The beloved brand showed its resiliency in the early days of the pandemic, armed to battle the perils of COVID-19 from the beginning. Fazoli's leadership "went all in" on sanitization and safety protocols, further solidifying their status as the 2020 Steritech Excellence in Food Safety Restaurant Chain of the Year—an accomplishment the brand does not take likely, especially during these unprecedented times, notes Howard. 

"We were one of the first brands to reopen the dining rooms and see business return to normal, with comps up 7.7% in May," Howard says. "We wanted our team members, their families, and our guests to not only feel safe but to see our commitment to safety."

Fazoli's deft navigation through the early months of COVID-19 resulted in a flurry of game-changing moves that are still paying off. Among them: 

  • An off-premise strategy perfected for the times. Fast-tracking their off-premise technology plan, and shifting operational focus to their off-premise channels set the brand up for success. They created an unrivaled, premium off-premise guest experience. Team members took to the drive-thru with ordering tablets to speed up service, while restaurant ambassadors handed out the chain's famous breadsticks to waiting guests in the drive-thru. Fueled by guests' desire for speed and convenience, Fazoli's launched curbside service in less than seven days, delivering meals directly to guests' vehicles. The strategic moves bolstered business to new heights throughout the summer. In July, sales and traffic increased by 16% and 17%, respectively – setting four historic all-time weekly sales records. Building on this success, drive-thru sales increased 65%, delivery orders soared 200%, and the chain experienced a jaw-dropping 410% increase in online ordering. 
  • A strong value proposition. Fazoli's launch of a "5 Under $5" offer, featuring five delicious, craveable items under $5, and a $19.99 Super Family Meal for eight was fully embraced by fans of the brand, leading to a surge in restaurant traffic. Regular, lapsed, and new guests keep coming back for Fazoli's food quality and unbeatable value. 
  • The launch of wings. The introduction of delivery-only wings in late spring boosted sales in select restaurants by nearly 11%. Fazoli's capitalized on this success, recently rolling out Wingville to all company locations, with plans to launch system-wide in Spring 2021. The new concept, available for dine-in, drive-thru, online ordering, and delivery, is projected to garner an additional $2,500 a week per location. 
  • An aggressive franchise focus. Fazoli's 2020 Franchise Incentive Program includes a first-ever conversion strategy. Franchisees can sign a short five-year term, versus the typical 15-year commitment, with zero down payment, zero franchise fees, and zero royalty fees in the first year. The fast-track conversion incentive opens the doors for operators to get a 2,000- to-3,500-square-foot restaurant open for under $350,000. No other franchise can offer what Fazoli's delivers, and entrepreneurs are taking note.  Just five months after launching the incentive, the brand has inked six deals for 12 new locations—with more on the horizon.

"Our franchise conversion incentive is huge, not only for Fazoli's, but for the restaurant industry as a whole," Howard adds. "This is the first time in our brand's history that we have ever launched a program this aggressive. With this program, we provide a low-cost, fast-track path to become part of the Fazoli's Franchise Family. Our menu is unmatched, our value is unrivaled, and our sales are stronger than ever - there is truly no better time to join us."

With strong unit economics, innovative menu options that provide value that can’t be beat, and personalized franchise support, Fazoli's franchise blueprint and sustained success remain unrivaled.  

Ready to discover your opportunity to own one of the hottest brands in franchising? Learn more at ownafazolis.com.


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Published: November 19th, 2020

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