Industry News | June 15, 2012 | QSR Exclusive Brief

Fazoli's Kicks Off Summer Breadstick Tour

With engines revved and breadsticks prepped, Fazoli’s is hitting the road this summer to feed hungry fans everywhere—and to raise money for children while it’s at it.

The eight-week Summer Breadstick Tour launches June 21 in the Italian quick serve’s hometown of Lexington, Kentucky. The brand will travel the country spreading the word about Fazoli’s new hospitality and service program. It’s using breadsticks—and a bright, eye-catching food truck—to really drive the point home.

“It just makes people feel good, and they have fun when they think about our breadsticks,” says Cathy Hull, chief marketing officer for the brand.

The breadstick tour is part of the “A Whole New Fazoli’s” marketing campaign, which aims to educate consumers about the quick serve’s efforts to revamp its customer service.

Throughout 2012, Fazoli’s has implemented changes in its 128 company-owned locations, including upgrading décor and training cashiers to become menu experts, easing the ordering process. In addition, managers are now required to spend much of their shifts in the dining room, engaging with customers and handing out the company’s popular breadsticks.

President and CEO Carl Howard says the new service initiative will be offered to franchisees later this year.

Fazoli’s breadstick truck is scheduled to hit 15 company markets this summer—from Indianapolis and Denver to St. Louis and Madison, Wisconsin—popping up at local events, handing out free breadsticks to fans, and raising money for the Feed the Children organization.

“Part of our personality is all about fun and family,” Hull says. “We were looking for something unique to get the word out about the brand and the new changes.”

Accompanying the tour is an aggressive social media campaign run by two “breadstick ambassadors” who will use platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr to post pictures of their journey, let fans know where to find them, and share in-depth stories about the people they’ve met and the places they’ve seen along the way.

In addition, on the company’s Facebook page, fans can keep track of the tour’s progress with tickers telling how many breadsticks have been given out and how much money has been raised for Feed the Children.

Stacy Hettich, brand director and project manager for the tour, says it has been in the works since last fall, with heavy planning involved since January.

“There is a lot to coordinate,” she says, from putting together the schedule, planning appearances along the way, and obtaining supplies like water and, of course, breadsticks.

Hull says all the time and effort that’s gone into the tour will definitely pay off. “We really have an opportunity to stay top of mind with consumers out there when they’re making their food choice,” she says.

She reports that the company’s key goals for the tour are increasing sales and traffic in surrounding restaurants on each leg of the tour, as well as raising awareness and impressions along the way.

But overall, the brand’s main goal is to connect with consumers and help a great cause. “We’re big believers in being part of the community,” Hull notes, “and we really like this effort.”  

By Mary Avant