Winter may be just a few days away, but Fazoli’s, America’s largest premium Italian quick-service restaurant, is continuing to experience red hot sales.
Last month’s comp store sales were up 6.6 percent over last year, making it the chain’s best November performance since 1998.
With last November’s 1.5 percent improvement factored in, Fazoli’s has experienced a two-year increase of 8.1 percent. It has now posted 17 straight months of same store sales increases for both company and franchised restaurants.
Fazoli’s performance comes as several restaurant brands, including Italian competitor Olive Garden, are struggling with soft sales.
“Our strategy is to deliver casual dining quality food at quick-service prices,” says Carl Howard president and CEO.
“It is proving to be the right approach for this brand as Fazoli’s is clearly right for the times.”
When Howard joined Fazoli’s in 2008, the chain was rapidly losing customers, with food quality and variety often cited as the main reasons.
In addition to overhauling its menu, Fazoli’s now delivers meals to the dining room, with real plates and silverware having replaced Styrofoam plates and plastic utensils. The chain also has remodeled the majority of its restaurants, featuring a contemporary, bright design.
“Guests are returning to find that Fazoli’s now delivers a caliber of food and overall experience that really stands out from our competitors,” Howard says.
“Often, guests are deciding between eating at Olive Garden, ordering pizza or visiting Fazoli’s,” he adds.
“Increasingly, they are picking Fazoli’s and telling us it’s because we deliver the best value.”
With economic uncertainty continuing into 2012, Howard is optimistic that Fazoli’s, which reported November sales 2.6 percent above NPD’s fast casual report, will continue to do well.
“Even if the economy improves in 2012, consumers will continue to be very value-oriented,” Howard says.
“But price is just part of ‘value’ – you need to have great tasting food, outstanding service and an environment that guests enjoy, which is why Fazoli’s is experiencing such strong sales.”
An American family favorite for more than 20 years, Fazoli’s has more than 220 restaurants. Founded in Lexington, Ky. In 1988, Fazoli’s was acquired by Sun Capital Partners in 2006.