Fazoli’s finished 2021 with 20 consecutive months of positive same-store sales growth for the system.
Systemwide same-store sales were up 21.7 percent YOY in December 2021, with a two-year sales lift of 26.3 percent. Traffic was positive 15.7 percent for the year and increased 13.8 percent over 2019. Throughout the past year, drive-thru sales dominated for the brand, accounting for 49 percent of Fazoli’s total revenue.
“Fazoli’s closed out 2021 with tremendous sales and traffic growth,” says Fazoli’s CEO Carl Howard. “We plan to do the same in 2022, focusing on our proven strategy for success – providing craveable Italian dishes with great service at a value and convenience that guests can’t find anywhere else.”
Fazoli’s prominent value proposition has been paramount to its success. Over the past year, Fazoli’s expanded its family meals to provide even more variety for its guests. The brand incorporated guests’ favorite menu items – signature bakes and samplers – to create the Baked Super Family Meal and Ultimate Sampler Family Meal, both of which feed up to eight people at an unbeatable value. Fazoli’s has doubled the menu mix of its family meal platform growing from 5 percent to 10 percent. Additionally, Fazoli’s 5 Under $5 menu continues to yield impressive numbers. The value-driven 5 Under $5 campaign marked the brand’s strongest performing promotion with an average incidence between 11-12 percent. The brand’s value message is resonating with guests and will continue to be a key driver of success in the year ahead.
Culinary innovation has also been part of Fazoli’s recipe for success, and the brand remains committed to delivering on food quality and menu variety. In summer 2021, Fazoli’s introduced a new snack and shareable item – Fried Mozzarella Skewers – and launched them in corporate locations. After the test proved prosperous, Fried Mozzarella Skewers earned a spot on Fazoli’s core menu. Looking ahead, the brand has several other culinary innovations in the pipeline, like indulgent limited-time offers such as the Cheesy Double-Stack Lasagna, Philly Cheesesteak Ravioli and Baked Shrimp & Lobster Alfredo.
Along with leveraging value and menu innovation, Fazoli’s has put elevating technology at the forefront of the brand. Fazoli’s has seen rapid growth in its rewards program and celebrated reaching 1 million App downloads to kick off 2022. Fazoli’s leading-edge digital capabilities have led to loyalty sales accounting for nearly 10 percent of its total revenue over the past year. Following the success of its AI carryout pilot, Fazoli’s continues to work on developing and perfecting its AI technology to support restaurant teams through its largest sales channel – the drive-thru.
With Fazoli’s record-breaking sales and traffic, franchise interest is at an all-time high. In 2021, the brand signed 22 new franchisees, adding 64 locations to its pipeline. Closing out the year, Fazoli’s opened 10 locations throughout Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio and Texas. The brand is kicking off the new year on an impressive growth trajectory. In 2022, Fazoli’s will open 20 new locations, and its sights are set on signing a record 40 new franchisees.
In 2021, half of Fazoli’s new openings were conversions resulting from its Franchise Incentive Program. With the aggressive incentive strategy, Fazoli’s allows franchisees to sign a short five-year term, versus the typical 15-year commitment, with zero deposit, zero franchise fees and zero royalty fees in the first year. Fazoli’s also reduced many of its conversion requirements to make it feasible for operators to open a 2,000 to 3,500 square-foot restaurant for under $350,000.
“It’s been an incredible year for Fazoli’s as we continued our historic sales streak,” Howard says. “Over the past two years, the world presented its share of challenges from supply chain to staffing and labor issues. Everything we’ve accomplished over the last 20 months is a true testament to the hard work and dedication of everyone in the Fazoli’s family. We have no plans of slowing down in 2022, with a laser focus on growing the brand and expanding our footprint.”