Fazoli’s, the nation’s largest fast-casual Italian chain, has signed a franchise agreement for its first restaurant in Montgomery, Alabama. Fazoli’s, No. 2 on Zagat’s list of fast-food restaurants, recently announced an aggressive, five-prong franchise growth strategy.
The Montgomery restaurant will be developed by Dr. Rakesh Patel. It is expected to open in early February at 7123 Eastchase Parkway. “There’s a need in the east Montgomery area for a good Italian restaurant, and Fazoli’s offers its franchisees very good support,” Patel says.
His company will convert an end-cap unit in a small strip center to a 75-seat Fazoli’s. The restaurant will include a drive-thru. Patel also operates two Schlotzsky’s and two Bruster’s Real Ice Cream franchises in Montgomery.
“It is always exciting to enter a new city, and Montgomery fits in very well with our strategy to expand in the Southeast,” says Carl Howard, Fazoli’s president and CEO. Earlier this year the brand inked a development deal for six units in southern Georgia.
Fazoli’s, which was acquired by Sentinel Capital partners earlier this year, has moved from turnaround to growth mode. Its latest Texas restaurant, owned by Sami Muhammad who operates a Fazoli’s in Whitehouse, opens this week in Tyler.
New locations were added earlier this year in Indiana and Kentucky, with two more scheduled to open next month in Iowa and Kentucky. In addition to the Montgomery restaurant, two units are scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2016.
Howard says record sales are driving interest in Fazoli’s. Following a strong October, same-store-sales at franchised units are up 5.6 percent this year. Between April and September, franchisees reported more than 50 weekly sales records.
Singled out by the New York Post as one of the top five restaurant chains to watch, Fazoli’s is ranked among the top 20 companies worldwide for franchise relationships. Its new franchise incentive program includes a number of discounts on fees and royalties. Target markets include, but are not limited to, Charlotte, North Carolina; Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, and Toledo, Ohio; Dallas; Detroit, Michigan; Knoxville, Tennessee; Phoenix, Arizona; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.