Sales at Fazoli’s, America’s largest premium Italian quick-service restaurant chain, are taking a cue from this summer’s record-breaking weather.
Franchised restaurants reported positive July sales over last year, making it the 25th consecutive period of same-store sales increases—a new Fazoli’s franchise record. Company units reported their 24th consecutive month of comp-store sales growth, tying the previous record set back in 1998.
Sales at Fazoli’s-owned locations were up 4.2 percent. This comes off a record first quarter in which company location sales were up 8.1 percent.
“Fazoli’s success is directly related to the investments we are making to improve the guest experience. We have made changes to every aspect of the business with major upgrades to the quality of our food, service, and facilities,” says Carl Howard, president and CEO. “We are very grateful that our guests have embraced the many improvements, and it is very rewarding to see both the company locations and franchise operators benefiting from these changes.”
This year is proving to be critical in the 24-year-old brand’s turnaround. In addition to record sales growth, the chain recently launched a new service and hospitality program in April and is continuing to introduce innovative new menu items, including Chicken Bruschetta, Chicken Bacon Florentine, Bacon Penne Bake, and Sausage Pomodoro, which are featured in the limited-time “Flavors of the Mediterranean” promotion (at select locations).
Fazoli’s summer “Breadstick Express” food truck is drawing huge crowds across the country. It is visiting 15 cities, giving away breadsticks, promoting the brand, and raising money for Feed the Children. So far, donations total more than $27,000 and more than 100,000 breadsticks have been given away.
Fazoli’s also recently opened its first travel center location, owned by a new franchisee. “This year’s progress sets the stage for growth,” Howard says. “We will soon introduce a franchising incentive program that both current and prospective franchisees will find very attractive.”
Howards says the incentive program will include a combination of fee and royalty discounts.