Carl Howard, president and CEO of premium Italian quick-service restaurant chain Fazoli's was recently recognized as Executive of the Year and received a Gold Stevie Award in the Eleventh Annual American Business Awards, presented in Chicago. It is the latest of several regional and national awards bestowed on Fazoli’s and its leadership team.


The American Business Awards is the nation’s premier business awards program. All organizations operating in the U.S. are eligible to submit nominations – public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small. Nicknamed the Stevies for the Greek word for “crowned,” the trophies were presented to honorees during a gala banquet on Monday, June 17, at the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park Hotel. Howard was awarded the Gold Stevie in the food and beverage category.


The recognition comes as Fazoli’s, which was struggling when Howard took over as CEO in 2008, continues to set company sales records and attract new franchisees. “Turning around a restaurant brand is a huge undertaking that requires a great team,” Howard says. “I am very honored to receive this award, but it really is a reflection of the great work done by the entire Fazoli’s management team.”


Last month, leading trade publication recognized Fazoli’s as “Brand of the Year,” and the chain has been a Franchise Times magazine “Top 20 Companies to Watch.” Fazoli’s was ranked #2 overall among large national fast-food chains in the most recent Zagat Survey. Earlier this year the University of Kentucky Institute for Workplace Innovation awarded Fazoli’s the Dr. Lee T. Todd, Jr. Bridging the Gap Between Workplace Research and Practice Award.


Chief marketing officer Cathy Hull was selected by ExecRank as a Top Private Company Marketing Executive for 2012. In last year’s American Business Awards, Fazoli's took home the 2012 Gold Stevie for Best Human Resources Department. The company also has been recognized by national hunger relief organization Feed the Children, which gave Fazoli’s its Community Excellence Award.


With a premium menu of freshly prepared Italian entrees, oven-baked sandwiches, and salads, a new service style featuring table service, and a contemporary new restaurant design, Fazoli’s is well positioned for growth. Fazoli’s owns or franchises approximately 220 restaurants nationwide. Sun Capital Partners acquired Fazoli’s in 2006.

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