Fazoli’s, America’s largest quick-service Italian restaurant chain, has been awarded the COEX Innovation Award for Marketing/Service in recognition of its ongoing fundraising and food donations to Feed the Children. Since 2012, Fazoli’s has donated more than 12 tons of food to the childhood hunger relief charity and has raised nearly $200,000 in cash.
Fazoli’s raises money through the sale of a specialty Italian ice beverage called “Giving Grape,” the sale of coupon books, and guest donations. The award specifically cited Fazoli’s Breadsticks For Hunger Tours: summertime street marketing campaigns in 22 cities. Each year, Breadstick Ambassadors distributed more than 150,000 Fazoli’s signature breadsticks hot from a food truck oven to increase awareness for childhood hunger and to generate contribution. Feed the Children’s resources have converted the money raised by Fazoli’s into $1 million in goods, which Fazoli’s associates have helped distribute. To date, the cooperative effort has assisted more than 6,000 needy families in four states.
“Fazoli’s partners with Feed the Children because it allows us to make a difference in the lives of people in communities served by our restaurants,” says president and CEO Carl Howard. “Associates see the money in action. They touch the distribution boxes, and they feel the emotional response from recipients.”
COEX Innovation Awards acknowledge the inventive ideas being implemented by chain restaurants in the areas of culinary, operations, marketing, and service. Fazoli’s was nominated by Rich Foods. A vote among International Foodservice Manufacturers Association members determined the winners. The awards were presented in March, during the Chain Operators Exchange (COEX) in Las Vegas.