America’s largest premium QSR Italian chain sees sales soar, streamlines operations and launches aggressive franchise incentive program during pandemic
Even during a global pandemic, Fazoli’s – the renowned, Lexington-based brand known for serving up premium Italian dishes at a great value – continued to thrive in Q2, hitting its highest sales record for the month of May and its highest sales volume for any four-week period in brand history.
May and June have been especially momentous months for the brand. Fazoli’s sales were up 7.3% in May, and achieved one of the top five sales weeks on record. Just two weeks into June, the iconic Italian brand saw its 51 corporate locations hit record-breaking sales at over $1.5 million during the week of June 11-17, a first-time achievement for Fazoli’s. The brand is on a strong track for a record June with sales up 14.6% and guest counts up 11.3% for the first three weeks of the period.
“I am incredibly proud of what our team has accomplished this quarter,” said Fazoli’s CEO Carl Howard. “With dining rooms forced to close across the country during Q2, this was a very challenging time for the industry. But, at Fazoli’s, our pursuit of excellence is never ending. When many restaurants slowed down, we put our foot on the gas. ”
During Q2, Fazoli’s streamlined operational processes to ensure guests received their food quicker but with the same exceptional service they have come to expect from the acclaimed brand. Across the organization, Fazoli’s executive team worked with operations and different departments to adapt plans and capitalize on opportunities that meet guests’ needs. To maintain its exemplary service standards, Fazoli’s began providing its fresh, famous complimentary breadsticks to guests waiting in line in the drive-thru. The brand fast-tracked an oven temp test to increase speed of service in the drive-thru and added tablets so that more team members could take guests’ order to increase the speed of service. For the first time in its history, Fazoli’s average drive-thru window time dropped to under two minutes.
To give families an unmatched value during the COVID-19 crisis, the Italian chain offered the Super Family Meal for $19.99, which feeds a family of six Fazoli’s saw nearly 20,000 redemptions of the special over the course of five weeks during April and May.
“At Fazoli’s, we focus on an exceptional guest experience,” Howard said. “We know our guests are huge fans of our unlimited breadsticks when dining in, so we started giving them out to those visiting us in the drive-thru to maintain the same level of service. This was a difficult time for many across the nation, and our Super Family Meal was an effective way to offer our premium Italian dishes at an even more affordable cost. As we continue to keep our guests top of mind, I have no doubt we will see similar results in the next quarter.”
Looking into Q3, Fazoli’s is ramping up its franchise development as a way to give potential franchisees a low-risk, fast-track path to joining the Fazoli’s Franchise Family. In June, the company announced the launch of the industry trailblazing Fazoli’s 2020 Franchise Incentive Program. In an effort to revitalize the restaurant industry, the new program spotlights Fazoli’s aggressive conversion strategy. With the new conversion incentive, 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 renowned Italian brand has relaxed many of its conversion requirements so operators can get a 2,000- to 3,500-square-foot restaurant open for under $350,000.
Founded in 1988 in Lexington, Ky., Fazoli’s owns and operates nearly 220 restaurants in 28 states, making it the largest premium QSR Italian chain in America. Fazoli’s prides itself on serving premium quality Italian food, fast, fresh and friendly. Menu offerings include freshly prepared pasta entrees, Submarinos sandwiches, salads, pizza and desserts – along with its unlimited signature breadsticks. Fazoli’s is a winner of FastCasual and Steritech’s 2020 Excellence in Food Safety Award and was named one of the “Top 200 Franchises in 2020” by Franchise Business Review, a FastCasual “Brand of the Year,” and an Entrepreneur 2018 “Franchise 500.” CEO Carl Howard was named among the most influential restaurant CEOs in the country in 2020 by Nation’s Restaurant News, was recognized as one of the top 25 industry leaders on FastCasual’s 2020 Top 100 Movers and Shakers list, and he and his team were recipients of the 2020 American Business Awards Gold Stevie Awards in Food & Beverage for Company of the Year, Achievement in Management and Human Resources Team of the Year.