Restaurants Hit the Open Road

Brands eye roadside travel centers for growth opportunity.

With at least two mid-size restaurant chains planning to expand through highway travel centers in the coming year, other quick serves looking to grow may want to hit the open road.

Both Huddle House and Fazoli’s, which, respectively, have 430 locations and 230 locations nationwide, are in the process of opening new stores at roadside travel centers, according to the companies.

Huddle House is a diner concept based in Decatur, Georgia, and is planning to add six truck-stop locations to the 25 it already has through an agreement with travel-center operator Pilot Flying J.

After Record-Setting End to '11, Fazoli's Has High Hopes for '12

Fazoli’s is enjoying big same-store sales gains at the end of 2011, and CEO and president Carl Howard plans to carry that success into 2012 with a number of hospitality enhancements and new expansion strategies.

The Italian quick-serve concept experienced a 6.6 percent increase in same-store sales in November, the best November since 1998. And Howard says the company is on pace to have double-digit same-store sales growth in December, potentially topping its all-time December high of 12.4 percent.

Former Dunkin’ Exec Moves to Fazoli’s

Al Hodges, a 30-year foodservice executive, has been appointed vice president of operations at Fazoli’s.

Hodges joins the company from Dunkin’ Brands, where he was regional vice president, responsible for more than 4,000 restaurants.

In his new position, Hodges will oversee all company and franchise operations. Fazoli’s, which operates or franchises more than 220 restaurants, is expanding, with several company and franchised units scheduled to open in 2011.

In Wisconsin, Fazoli's Toes the Line with Table Service

Fazoli’s, the Italian restaurant popular with local families, is introducing an all-new service style and design that, when combined with its recently revamped menu, represents the future of quick-service restaurants in Wisconsin and across the country.

“Fazoli’s is now giving guests a $10 sit-down restaurant experience for half that price,” says Carl Howard, president and CEO.

Former Red Mango Exec Jumps Ship to Fazoli's

With a new menu, new prototype, and a new service style driving a sales turnaround, Fazoli’s CEO and President Carl Howard announced the addition of James Franks as vice president of franchising.

Franks is a 22-year veteran of franchising with a strong reputation for launching and relaunching brands and their franchise development programs. Most recently, he served as Red Mango’s vice president of franchising.

Fazoli’s Sets Up Shop in a Walmart

Fazoli’s announced that as part of its growth strategy and push into nontraditional locations, it will open its first Walmart location on February 15.  

The newest Fazoli’s will be christened with grand-opening and ribbon-cutting ceremonies at the Walmart Supercenter at 3270 Telegraph Road in St. Louis.

Carl Howard, CEO of Fazoli’s, says the brand is through its “fix and repair” stages and that the Walmart unit marks the beginning of its “growth mode.”

A Super-Sized Dilemma

In 2004, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock released a documentary, Super Size Me, that made waves across the foodservice sector and among American consumers. By eating nothing but McDonald’s food for 30 days and ordering the Super Sized version of a meal each time it was offered, Spurlock documented the negative physical toll an experiment like his could have on the human body.